Tampa Bay Times PunditFact website begins checking columnists, bloggers on Monday

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Soon political pundits, talk-show hosts and bloggers will face the same strict fact checking as politicians.

On Monday, the Tampa Bay Times, along with the Poynter Institute, launches PunditFact, a companion to the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, which ranks the truth behind statements by elected officials.

The Times defines pundits as individuals offering analysis or opinions on news, especially when it comes to politics and public policy, either by writing, blogging or by appearing on radio or TV. They are not elected officials, candidates, members of a government agency, political party or campaign.

Although PolitiFact has fact-checked pundits and talk-show hosts in the past, but now there will be a dedicated staff of journalists for PunditFact.com.

“The premise of PunditFact is this: Even in the entertaining and boisterous world of punditry, words matter and people should be held accountable for what they assert,” Aaron Sharockman, editor of PunditFact, told the Times.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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.