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Where Have All The Fact Checkers Gone?

First, these sad tidings from the (laughably self-styled) Fact Checker at the Washington Post also called it quits:

Farewell Edition

November 3, 2008

The Fact Checker is shutting up shop on Nov. 4. Over the last 15 months, I have checked some 200 claims and statements relating to the presidential campaign, and received 18,000 comments, many of them vehemently disputing my verdicts. Pinocchios have entered the campaign lexicon, and are sometimes used as a verb, e.g. “You were Pinocchio’ed for that statement.” I will leave it up to readers to decide whether the whole experiment has been worthwhile. For this farewell edition, here are a few of my personal favorites from the long, winding campaign trail.

Sure, it could be argued that the Washington Post’s Fact Checker was just an election thing. The rest of the time the Washington Post is unconcerned about facts.

But what is the Annenberg Foundation’s FactCheck.org also closing down:

Good-bye For Now

See you in 2009!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

We end our weekly series with one, last look at the 2008 election circus. “Just the Facts!” will be back in 2009 with occasional episodes and updates.

Oddly enough, the Annenberg folks never said they were only doing this for the campaign in their about page:

About FactCheck.org – Our Mission

We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.

The Annenberg Political Fact Check is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC was established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg in 1994 to create a community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would address public policy issues at the local, state and federal levels.

The APPC accepts NO funding from business corporations, labor unions, political parties, lobbying organizations or individuals. It is funded primarily by the Annenberg Foundation.

Obviously this is no longer going to be necessary, since there will be no more deception in politics with the Obama ascendency and the Democrats taking complete control of the federal government.

Still, for their sheer hypocrisy, we award the Annenberg Foundation and the Washington Post five (out of five) Pinocchios.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, December 11th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

20 Responses to “Where Have All The Fact Checkers Gone?”

  1. proreason says:

    No surprise here in retrospect.

    With facts being so malleable in Obamy’s hands, fact-checking organizations would inevitably be contorted into pretzels while trying mightily to keep up with the idiot.

    Better to just close shop.

    We should see more of this sort of thing from the left. Expect no more Deficit Tracking web-sites, no more Dooms-day clocks, no more counts of uninsured citizens (once that the illegals, deadbeats and dummies have been forced into health insurance we pay for), etc. Such things will continue from conservatives of course…..for a few months or so.

  2. U NO HOO says:

    We’ll never know if Obama is a natural born citizen.

  3. take_no_prisoners says:

    I suspect he is a natural born citizen, otherwise Hillrod would have outed him during the primaries. There was also a recent news article about the various lawsuits over this issue that said someone (don’t remember who) had seen the actual birth certificate with the raised embossed seal from Hawaii and also mentioned a contemporaneous announcement of his birth in a Hawaiian newspaper giving a local Hawaiian address in the announcement. There is no way the Clintoons would have allowed him to stay in the primary if there was any proof that he wasn’t a natural born citizen.

  4. Right2thepoint says:

    TNP

    What you are thinking of is the very carefully parsed press release from the keepers of the Birth Certificate in Hawaii about a week before the election.

    Boil it all down and it say , yes he has a birth certificate on record. It doesn’t even say the COLB information matches.

    The whole forgery stuff was a stupid distraction, since there were never enough pixels to make any reasonable decisions from them.

    The COLB can be valid as gold , but there are nearly a dozen legal ways in Hawaii to modify the information on them from what the Vault Birth Certificate says.

    It is much more likely there is simply information on it he does not want revealed.

    Much speculation is that Sr is not his father and he only found out about it after her death when he went through here documents.

    By then he was already in his first race for office and it would have caused too many issues to change his life history at that point.

  5. sheehanjihad says:

    There will be no need to check facts anymore…the new administration will tell everyone what facts need to be known, and which need to be ignored. Fact checkers will be working on that new road surfacing project in North Dakota.

  6. retire05 says:

    Let’s be clear about a few thing; first, the State of Hawaii made the statement that it was in possession of Obama’s birth records. End of comment. It did not say that he was born in Hawaii and if you read the State of Hawaii’s web site it explains how people born outside the state can obtain a birth certificate and under what conditions. Second, even if Hillary was aware of problems with Obama’s “natural” born status, it would have killed her political career permanently to bring it out. There are a lot of black voters in New York. Better to lose and wind up with a cabinet job than a destroyed political career for someone as power hungry as Hillary.

    Factcheck.org should have ended with “Obama has been elected and now our job is completed so we are shutting down.”

  7. Steve says:

    The birth certificate nonsense makes my hair hurt. There has been absolutely no evidence to suggest that Mr. Obama was born anywhere but where he says he was — in Hawaii.

    This canard was started by Larry “Crackpot” Johnson and his (imaginary friend) Texas Darlin’.

    It has spawned an industry. The “Birthers” are the new “Truthers.”

  8. specialed says:

    “The birth certificate nonsense makes my hair hurt. There has been absolutely no evidence to suggest that Mr. Obama was born anywhere but where he says he was — in Hawaii.”

    They have some lady in Africa saying on tape that BHO was born there. She could be crazy, I don’t know.

    There was something about his mom being refused passage on a Kenyan flight because she was too pregnant.

    When he moved to Indonesia with his father, his citizenship apparently was listed as Indonesian. But there is no record of him naturalizing to the US again.

    Smoke? Maybe. I certainly think there is enough to at least start basic fact checking.

  9. BillK says:

    SG, I don’t think there’s anything to the birth certificate nonsense either.

    Other than the central question of why Obama doesn’t simply tell the state of Hawaii to release his birth records.

    One phone call, five minutes, and the “Birthers” look like the idiots they are.

    That’s the part of the whole thing that makes no sense to me.

  10. JohnMG says:

    BillK; …..”SG, I don’t think there’s anything to the birth certificate nonsense either…..”

    I know that Steve has read Obama’s books and I presume you have also, Bill. Given all of the holes in Obama’s background and the obvious omissions of pertinent fact, as well as outright fabrications and lies relating to matters ranging from grave to petty, why should anyone, including yourselves, accept at face value anything he says?

    He (Obama) boasted that he was purposely vague about himself and his intentions during the campaign (and remains so to the present) so that individuals would see in him not what was or was not there, but would see that for which each was looking. Your words….”Other than the central question of why Obama doesn’t simply tell the state of Hawaii to release his birth records….” should be example enough to arouse legitimate suspicions. Further, Steve’s statement that….”(t)here has been absolutely no evidence to suggest that Mr. Obama was born anywhere but where he says he was….” is due more to a lack of effort or interest on the part of the media to dig for this information as vigorously as they did on the bogus “Bush military records” affair. Maybe the fact there is no evidence is that nobody is bothering to look for any. Or is the ‘truth’ what he says it is?

    The fact that Obama could clear this all up in a matter of minutes but won’t, is another instance of him ‘flipping us off’ yet again.

    As for me, I choose to remain skeptical. Or put another way, “I’m from Missouri, you’ve got to SHOW me.” If that makes me a ‘birther’ then I’ll wear the label with pride, but the question of his eligibility IS legitimate and shouldn’t be relegated to a game of cat-and-mouse.

    What is he hiding? And why?!! To me, his actions are the same as the Rosenbergs citing “the 5th Amendment” during their testimony.

  11. Morning in America says:

    Facts? From now on the facts are what we say they are! All par for the course from the Office of the President-Derelict

  12. Steve says:

    I really don’t want to waste much time or space here discussing Obama’s birth certificate nonsense. But Mr. Obama did in fact release a copy of his birth certificate that he got from Hawaii.

    Crackpots (many of the same experts who said that our photo of Obama in Muslim garb was faked) pronounced the certificate as fake. The Annenberg Fact Check group got the original and pronounced it authentic.

    Subsequently, officials in Hawaii have also said that his birth certificate is on record there and in order. There are also the announcements that appeared in two local Hawaiian newspapers contemporaneous to his birth.

    And again, there is absolutely no evidence to the contrary.

    The supposed statement from Obama’s “grandmother,” even if an accurate quote, is absurd. She is not his grandmother and she knows next to nothing about him. (She also called our photo of Obama in Muslim garb “a dirty trick.”)

    The other “evidence,” like Bill Richardson calling Mr. Obama an “immigrant,” is similarly idiotic.

  13. Steve says:

    No, we are not going to chase our tails about the birth certificate nonsense here — especially based on articles from the World Net Daily — which have already been debunked.

    Sorry.

  14. Gil says:

    Please reference where they have been debunked so I can look at them.

    Gil.

  15. Steve says:

    Gil, just for one example, the WND claimed that the BC was given special treatment (put under lock and key) to protect Obama.

    That simply was not true, as the HA officials announced.

    Here endeth the birth certificate discussion.

  16. Gil says:

    Is this MSM press account worthy of note?
    It says that there is a certificate.. but not released to the public because of privacy laws.
    Where is the copy of Obama’s birth certificate that she saw.. not in the public domain, I believe this says.
    Is that conspiracy road.. to wonder what she saw which we cannot and what information it contains?

    Health Dept Confirms Obama Born in Hawaii
    Written by KGMB9 News – news@kgmb9.com
    October 31, 2008 07:00 PM

    Hawaii’s top health official is trying to stop a rumor about Barack Obama that says he was born in Kenya and therefore isn’t allowed to run for President.

    That claim has been spreading online but Hawaii officials say it’s not true.

    Obama was born in Honolulu and the proof is at the state Health Department.

    To end the controversy, director Dr. Chiyome Fukino says she’s seen the birth certificate herself. She just can’t release it publicly.

    After getting numerous requests for it, she explained again Friday, “state law prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record.”

    No state official, including Gov. Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the state.

    http://kgmb9.com/main/content/view/10981/40/

    Where does this official say “he was born in Hawaii” in the narrative?

    Obama was born in Honolulu and the proof is at the state Health Department.

    Where does this official actually SAY that in this narrative?
    In order to debunk something.. there has to be fact.

    She says she saw it.. that is all. Read her words carefully.

    Can you point me to a news article showing that this document does say he was born in Hawaii?
    Not just.. “trust me, I saw the official document”.. but that he was born in Hawaii?
    (Sorry, I am a skeptic, most of your readers are.)

    Gil.

  17. Gil says:

    You are right, SG..

    The article I just quoted confirms that it is held the same as other records:

    No state official, including Gov. Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the state.

    However, also..

    director Dr. Chiyome Fukino says she’s seen the birth certificate herself. She just can’t release it publicly.

    After getting numerous requests for it, she explained again Friday, “state law prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record.”

    This is proof of no public disclosure of the certificate.. in other words we HAVE NOT seen the certificate..

    Right?

    Gil.

  18. Steve says:

    “This is proof of no public disclosure of the certificate.. in other words we HAVE NOT seen the certificate.”

    No, that is not right. The law prevents disclosing the BC to anyone but Obama or his close relatives.

    Obama released the BC he got from Hawaii. The state says it is legit.

    Case closed.

  19. Barbie says:

    I’m just glad I am not the only one with suspicions about the ‘factuality’ of the fact checkers..

  20. DEZ says:

    Fact checkers in this case Barbie is an oxymoron, But I think you knew that. ;)


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