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”:
- Make sure you’ve done enough reporting before operating your Truth-O-Meter.
- Always call or e-mail the person or campaign that made the claim and ask them for the facts to back it up.
- Seek independent sources to verify or debunk the claim.
- Write clearly.
- Don’t take politics too seriously.
- 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.