What Good Is Fact-Checking?

Andrew Sullivan —  Dec 13 2011 @ 2:19pm

Mark Hemingway dismisses organizations like Politifact as "the liberal media’s latest attempt to control the discourse." John McQuaid finds the liberal bias accusation silly but thinks Hemingway points to a real concern:

The common problem with fact-checking is a misplaced reverence for "expertise" as a substitute for hard-nosed reporting and independent evaluation. So here are a few friendly suggestions for better fact-checking: Reporters do not represent the establishment, they should be suspicious of it; politicians who seem reasonable may not be; politicians who depart from the Washington consensus may be saying something important. If you think you can even get to the truth of a complex, contentious issue with a couple of phone calls, you are kidding yourself and your readers. And don’t invent a "truth" where the truth is genuinely in dispute.

PolitiFact's own guide to fact-checking here. Paul Waldman believes the site's "Lie Of The Year" competition has been thoroughly politicized. Recent Dish on improving fact-checking here.