Fact Check Review Quick Guide

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Getting Started

Each week we review Factcheck.org, the New York Times, Politifact, Snopes, the Weekly Standard, and the Washington Post’s fact checking pages and compile a list of all new fact checks published the preceding week. Fact checks not relating to civic and public concern (such as routine urban myths) are discarded, and the remaining fact checks are broken into the individual claims they assess. Each claim is reviewed and the following fields (all navigable through the Advanced Search tool):

  • Keywords: You can search the summarized description of each claim for specific keywords or phrases.
  • Date Range: The date the fact check was published.
  • Outlet Verdict: The verdict assigned by the fact checking organization. Verdicts are provided as-is in their original language except for “Verdict Basis: Misleading” and “Verdict Basis: Lack Evidence,” which are special labels we apply to fact checks where the original fact checker assigned a verdict of false and indicated that this label was due to either the claim being misleading or lacking evidence to assign an evidence-based verdict, respectively.
  • Evidence for Verdict: For each claim, we record the list of sources used by the fact checker to verify or refute it and classify them into several categories. (See our full methodology for a list of these.) For example, a fact check that relies on a White House press release and interviews a university professor would have Government and University as labels in this field. A search for “Government” will return all claims that relied on at least one governmental source for verification, but you may also seem may also have relied on many other non-governmental sources as well.
  • Fact Checker: Which of the six fact checking sites the fact check is from.
  • Fact or Opinion: For each fact check we assess whether the claim is a statement of fact that can be definitively proven or disproven using evidence-based evaluation or whether it is an opinion that does not have an irrefutable answer.
  • Source of Claim: The source from which the claim was identified. Claims may cite multiple sources where they were identified from.
  • Source for Verdict: The specific source used to prove or refute the claim. A claim may rely on multiple sources of verification.

The following visualizations are displayed that summarize the data:

  • This table at the top of the page summarizes key statistics for the six fact checking sites.
  • Percent Matching Claims. This is only displayed if you have run an advanced search that filters the data, in which case it reports the percent of all claims from each fact checking organization that matched your search. For example, if Snopes reviewed 25 relevant claims in the last 30 days, of which 5 contain the keyword “trump” in their claim summary, and you search for “trump” using the keyword search, this graph would display “5 / 25” for Snopes, indicating that 5 out of the 25 total relevant claims available from Snopes matched your search. This graph is hidden if you have not run a search yet. This graph allows you to answer questions like, “What percent of fact checks mentioned ‘daca’?” or, “Which fact checkers rely most heavily on media sources for verification?”
  • Claim of Fact. This displays the percent of all claims matching your search that were labeled by our reviewers as Fact rather than Opinion. In theory, fact checks should only be conducted on statements that can be definitively proven or disproven, but in practice fact checkers also examine statements that are questions of opinion and point of view.
  • Media Sourcing Itself. This displays the percent of all claims matching your search that used at least one media source as verification for its claim. The claim may have relied on many non-media verification sources as well, but this graph captures how many claims by fact checker relied at least in part on media reporting as “truth” for its verification task. When fact checkers rely on media for verification, this creates a cycle in which media cite fact checkers which in turn cite media. Ideally, fact checking should involve primary source verification, rather than relying on secondary news reporting as verification.
  • Fact Checking Marketplace. This displays the number of unique fact checkers listed for the claims matching your search. All individuals credited by a fact checking organization for a given fact check are associated with its claims, including editors, researchers, assistants, etc. This gives an instant look at how many individuals are arbitrating what is considered “truth” for a given topic.
  • Fact Checker Claims. This table lists a set of example claims matching your search and you can click the Load More button at the bottom to load additional examples.

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