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April 21, 2009

Political Fact Checking

From time to time I receive an email that somehow just doesn't ring true. This was the case about a week ago when I received a missive which originated at the Illinois Review that had been making the rounds on the internet. Although I added "If this is true it is pretty unbelievable.", I forwarded it without doing any research of my own.

Someone who received the email from me began the task of checking it out and emailed me back. I then began to research it on my own, and discovered that at least a portion of the email was not even close to the truth.

When I began to delve deeper into the erroneous message, I came across a website called FactCheck.org that will help anyone with a political question. I have added a link to their site in my reference desk.

From their own website they describe themselves as follows:

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.

I have learned my lesson and will not forward items that I cannot verify personally or through a valuable tool like FactCheck.org. I hope anyone else who is tempted to forward email without some verification will take a few minutes and do a little research. The internet will be a better place for it.

Posted by Rick | April 21, 2009 10:09 PM | Political Science

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