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PolitiFact takes lesson from fast-food industry as it franchises fact checking

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

When PolitiFact Editor Bill Adair went to Austin to train the people who would run PolitiFact Texas, the first state-level PolitiFact operation, he handed out the “Texas Truth-O-Meter Owner’s Manual.”

Inside were these “safety instructions”:

  1. Make sure you’ve done enough reporting before operating your Truth-O-Meter.
  2. Always call or e-mail the person or campaign that made the claim and ask them for the facts to back it up.
  3. Seek independent sources to verify or debunk the claim.
  4. Write clearly.
  5. Don’t take politics too seriously.
  6. Don’t take your Truth-O-Meter near water, and always unplug it during electrical storms.

That’s a pretty good summary of how the PolitiFact team approaches its work. And as the Pulitzer-winning fact-checking operation seeks partners across the country, it shows the challenges of franchising a unique editorial approach. Continue reading here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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