about  /   archives  /   contact  /   subscribe  /   twitter    
Share this entry
Make this entry better

What are we missing? Is there a key link we skipped, or a part of the story we got wrong?

Let us know — we’re counting on you to help Encyclo get better.

Put Encyclo on your site
Embed this Encyclo entry in your blog or webpage by copying this code into your HTML:

Key links:
Primary website:
Primary Twitter:

Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

PolitiFact is a fact-checking website that examines the statements made by American political figures and pundits. It is run by the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times).

PolitiFact was launched in 2007, a project of longtime political reporter Bill Adair (who left the site in 2013) and web developer Matt Waite. According to Waite, it is an attempt to break down fact-checking to an elemental, data-based level, inspired by suggestions by EveryBlock founder Adrian Holovaty.

While it offers deeply researched narrative assessments of political claims’ veracity, PolitiFact is most well-known for its six-level ranking system, which classifies claims as “true,” “mostly true,” “half true,” “barely true,” “false,” and — most famously — “pants on fire.” The site also analyzes changes in politicians’ policy stances via its flip-flop assessor: “no flip,” “half flip,” “full flop.”

PolitiFact received the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for its work on the 2008 election. It has done live fact-checking on a presidential debate via Twitter, and it is tracking the status of 510 campaign promises made by President Barack Obama.

In early 2010, PolitiFact began partnering with other news organizations to create new versions of its project. It launched PolitiFact Texas with the Austin American-Statesman in January 2010 and PolitiFact Florida with the Miami Herald in March 2010. As of February 2014, PolitiFact had partnerships with 10 states, including Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Its first international partner, PolitiFact Australia, launched in May 2013. Partner news organizations pay $1,000 per month to PolitiFact for the service. It has also announced the launch of a PolitiFact News Service that allows newspapers to subscribe to its national content. As of mid-2012, it had four full-time fact-checkers at its national office, plus 36 journalists working at its state sites.

In April 2010, PolitiFact began working with ABC News’ “This Week” to evaluate statements of its guests each week. The site has also worked with NPR to fact-check the 2010 midterm campaigns and plans to work with Politico to fact-check 2012 campaign speeches.

In October 2013, PolitiFact announced plans to launch PunditFact, a site dedicated to fact-checking the claims of pundits, columnist, bloggers, and talk show guests. The site was initially funded by $625,000 in grants from the Ford Foundation and the Democracy Fund.

In light of its success, some journalism observers have pointed to PolitiFact as a modern successor to the form of traditional accountability journalism. However, it has also been criticized as giving a false veneer of authority to its occasionally questionable rulings, particularly in light of its controversial 2011 “Lie of the Year.”

PolitiFact has launched two mobile apps, one for $1.99 that had sold 24,000 copies as of August 2012 and the other for free.

A guided tour of PolitiFact:

Peers, allies, & competitors:
Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
Dec. 14, 2023 / Bill Adair
Fact-checking needs a reboot — Fact-checking is failing. The old way of publishing fact-checks — putting them on websites and promoting them through social media — isn’t getting them to the people who need them. It’s time to reimagine how fact...
Nov. 27, 2018 / Bill Adair
The red couch experiments: Early lessons in pop-up fact-checking — One by one, people plopped onto the red couch and told us what they thought of live fact-checking. They watched video clips from two State of the Union addresses that we had specially modified. When the presidents made f...
May 11, 2018 / Laura Hazard Owen
You see it, you buy it: Just being exposed to fake news makes you more likely to believe it — 3,500 Facebook ads. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a trove of 3,500 Facebook ads purchased by Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Tony Romm in The Washington Post: In many cases, th...
April 18, 2018 / Christine Schmidt
Truth Goggles are back! And ready for the next era of fact-checking — The Truth Goggles are back — though now they’re more like prescription contact lenses. It’s not the name of a funky band of journalists, at least not one with musical instruments. Dan Schultz, Ted Han, and ...
Aug. 4, 2017 / Laura Hazard Owen
Facebook is paying its fact-checking partners now (and giving them a lot more work to do) — Facebook is paying its factcheckers now (and giving them more work). Facebook rolled out an update this week that will surround popular articles in the News Feed with related articles — “part of Facebook’s stra...

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Megan Garber. Main text last updated: February 27, 2014.
Make this entry better
How could this entry improve? What's missing, unclear, or wrong?
Name (optional)
Email (optional)
Explore: Examiner.com
Examiner.com logo

Examiner.com is a Denver-based network of aggregated local websites with posts written by thousands of freelancers. Examiner.com, which was founded in 2006 and reinvented in 2008, produces search engine-friendly articles, often locally based, that are typically made up of aggregated parts from other websites, often building on widely searched-for topics. Its unedited articles are written…

Put Encyclo on your site
Embed this Encyclo entry in your blog or webpage by copying this code into your HTML:

Encyclo is made possible by a grant from the Knight Foundation.
The Nieman Journalism Lab is a collaborative attempt to figure out how quality journalism can survive and thrive in the Internet age.
Some rights reserved. Copyright information »