How Fact-Checking Took Center Stage in US Elections

Here’s an article i found today in the Huffington Post on fact-checking and how it steered and became vital in this 08 US elections.

Bill Adair is the Washington bureau chief of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times — and godfather of PolitiFact, a joint venture with Congressional Quarterly. It grew out of an idea that is so basic, yet not widely employed. “We felt that we had done a disservice to voters [in 2000 and 2004] where we were passing along claims about candidates that were not true, and feeling that it was up to the voters to decide,” he says. “So, about a year ago, my editors came up with the idea of a Web site that would be a sort of daily journal and archive where voters could look things up and see if these claims were true.”

Initially, Politifact’s only tool was the Truth-o-Meter, with varying degrees: There’s true, mostly true, half true, barely true, false, and pants-on-fire. The same rating system applies to The Attack File, which looks at mudslinging, chain e-mails, and more. But the feature that has driven Politifact to the forefront in this election season is the site’s Flip-o-Meter, which tracks accusations of flip-flopping leveled at the two candidates.

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