Just the Fact-Checkers

Monday, September 10, 2012

Brooke Gladstone, managing editor and co-host of On the Media, discusses the role of fact checkers and facts — particularly in political coverage.



Brooke Gladstone

Comments [21]


Amazing. The context of "you didn't build that" is MUCH WORSE taken in its entirety. Yet Brooke "fact check" Gladstone is so biased she can not see it.

Opinion offered as fact. Good when done by Democrats, bad when done by Republicans.

Stop public funding of NPR/PBS.

Sep. 11 2012 10:45 AM

Is there a resource that shows if there's a systematic difference in how the Democrats vs. Republicans use facts? For example, in judging a politician's record on economic issues, do Democrats tend to cite one economic indicator whereas Republicans tend to cite another type of economic indicator/argument? I suspect not, meaning I suspect that the parties selectively use whichever type of facts support their agenda. However, if there's a systematic difference in the type of evidence employed for their argument, that might reflect bona fide philosophical or intellectual differences.

Sep. 10 2012 11:54 AM

The most mis stated fact with which the media is totally complicit is the so called "budget cuts". There are no federal budget cuts. There are some proposed cuts in the rate of increase in government spending and politicians and the press continually call these cuts. It would be more informative if we finally called them what they are, and stoppped calling them cuts.

Sep. 10 2012 11:45 AM
Amy from Manhattan

And (1) over half of state governors--(2) *including Mitt Romney--requested waivers of the work requirement, but (3) only for training or other activities that could lead to work.

Sep. 10 2012 11:44 AM
Karen from NYC

Love Colbert's comment, and the division -- head and heart, Enlightenment and "romantic", science and evangelicalism, progressive and conservative -- goes back 250 years, to colonial America. The Enlightenment won, witness our Constitution, but the right wing "feelies" have never stopped fighting back.

Sep. 10 2012 11:43 AM
Ed from Chicago, IL

Fact check: In Chinatown, it was my sister, my daughter.

Sep. 10 2012 11:43 AM

Even in science, some assertions are closer to facts than other- that is, some facts are nearly immutable while others are hypothesis in transition as new experiments are analyzed. Its a continuum, and in this polarized world, people are uncomfortable with the concept that change is the only thing which is constant.


In politics, facts play second fiddle to ideology. They exist only in context, to support or deny a fictitious world view. We need to get facts right, but in the end, even a perfect grasp of political truths would move only a small number of independents off the fence. For everyone else, facts are filtered out faster than they are validated

Sep. 10 2012 11:42 AM

Can we please avoid the phrase "fair and balanced"? That's not journalism, which should be researched and accurate, but those two words aren't quite as catchy. Not to say anything of the origin of "fair and balanced".

Sep. 10 2012 11:42 AM
Joe from New York

Who knew 'FACTING' would be controversial?
It's almost as bad as FRACKING.

Sep. 10 2012 11:42 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I applaud fact-checking as an attempt to get politicians to tell the truth - something which we'd given up on for a while. I would hope that politicians will start telling the truth more so that we citizens can get correct information. That will be refreshing. On the other hand, it seems that most politicians are immune to public humiliation and that most people's entrenched beliefs are not going to be changed by facts. Where does that leave us?

Sep. 10 2012 11:40 AM

I can't even listen to Brooke Gladstone anymore. She is completely hypocritical. She did a totally abysmal job on your show Brian when she showed horrible bias against stopping the formula industry using the hospitals to push their promotional samples of formula. The number of mistruths and misleading information she perpetuated on your show was appalling.

Sep. 10 2012 11:38 AM
Karen from NYC

When I took the Law School Admission exam, one section, entitled "Facts and Issues," required the test-taker to read a paragraph describing a legal conflict, then distinguish the "facts" in the paragraph from the "issues" to be decided. Do you think that people are, in general, able to distinguish facts from disputed issues (or opinions)? Based on my experience as a volunteer for Barack Obama, canvassing voters in PA, I think not -- and that is a problem!

Sep. 10 2012 11:38 AM
rob from NYC

isn't it that fact is an absolute term. this is what happened. it can be corroborated with sources', whiteness.
there is an opinion sometime presented as fact. exaggerated, taken out of context etc.
and there is the truth which lies somewhere between fact and opinion, depends on who presents it and to whom.

Sep. 10 2012 11:38 AM
Joe from New York

Love ya, Brooke!

I even wake up at 7 a.m. on Saturday (when I don't have to) to listen to On The Media so I don't have to wait until the Sunday at 10 a.m. broadcast.

It's a fact: you are wonderful!

Sep. 10 2012 11:37 AM

I was shocked at the way John Sununu spewed his venom at Brooke on OTM last week. He did much the same thing to Brian a few days earlier.
It was good that both of you gave him plenty of rope with which to hang himself, and didn't let his statements go unchallenged.

Sep. 10 2012 11:35 AM
mck from NYC

While I applaud fact checking in general, I am seeing the kind of false equivalencies being drawn between minor errors or obvious misstatements of otherwise accurate statements and outright lies For example, Obama's "You didn't build that" where he paused at the wrong place and so made it possible to misconstrue what he was referring to...Roads and infrastructure in this case. I have heard this spoken of as if it were the same as the obvious lie that Obama is "the most radical socialist president in history", or a "Kenyan anti-colonialist who hates America."

Sep. 10 2012 11:34 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Does this really need to be discussed? A fact-checker who fact checks fact-checkers? (say it five times fast)

Sep. 10 2012 11:34 AM
Rita Tobin from NYC/Chappaqua

You can sing the facts, too. Can I post this wonderful video? Check it out -- I'll even use my real name!

Sep. 10 2012 11:05 AM

Live fact checking. I love it! Can do it like football or tennis - have the candidate throw a red flag in front of the moderator when he wants to have a play reviewed. Give them each 3 challenges, and if the fact checker agrees, then the candidate does not lose a challenge. Lose 3 challenges and you don't get any more opportunities to have a fact checked.

Sep. 10 2012 10:54 AM
John A

Hard to think that there Won't soon be a war between Politician owned fact checkers in this era of parties' having their own facts.

Sep. 10 2012 10:42 AM
ilya from New York

I have communicated this to the Commission on Presidential Debates (with no feedback from them, as expected) as well as and PolitiFact. Maybe you can raise the issue when speaking to Brooke.

Upcoming Presidential debates need to be fact-checked LIVE. The candidates must be held accountable in prime-time, while they are at the podiums. I understand that detailed, accurate fact-checking takes time, but most of the statements and figures that will be bandied about during the debates will have been checked time and again over the last few months. We need to know if the candidates are being honest with us. The audience of (100K, 200K, 1 million, whatever it is) is NOTHING compared to the 50-60 million that view the televised debates. However limited the fact-checking can be (ideally also assisted by the moderator who demands context for various statements by candidates), some form of it needs to be televised at the same time as the debates.


P.S. I started this petition some time ago. If you feel like signing, please do.

Sep. 10 2012 10:42 AM

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