Are fact checking tools objective or equally misleading?

7 Mar

Poligraft and Politifact are just two of many fact checking tools out there for journalist and otherwise news-savvy individuals to maintain a healthy sense of curiosity and skepticism. Pundits and politicians galore have always been the objects of suspicion, but the fostering of the voice of the citizenry in the blogosphere as well has made it all the more difficult to weed out the fact from fiction. Politigraft is a particularly great tool for journalists looking to aggregate other articles. Knowing what aspects of the article are legitimate, as well as having a solid background of their sources, gives legitimacy to your article. Being confident in your aggregated content is an equally important aspect of writing as is your original reporting. The system of using these tools is, however, flawed. Although many are quick to call foul on potential biases, in the fact checking, it is likely more so attributed to one-sided research. Just because researching one side of a case yields AN answer, it doesn’t necessarily mean those facts are THE answer.

The story I submitted to Poligraft was a piece by Ruth Bettelheim, Ph.D outlining the conception controversy raging in legislation. She looks at Rush Limbaugh’s claims that were made with less volatile language, such as suggesting that politicians are “peeping toms” and that women should be married off and stay at home to bear children. Bettelheim also sees him as contradictory for believing a woman should be wholesome, but he likewise desires to peep on them committing sexual acts. Her overarching point was to demonstrate that the contraception debate was not necessarily an attack on women alone, but on sexuality in itself based on fear and deep-rooted anxieties. Poligraft cited references to Department of Health (for some reason as University of California), Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh.


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