A fact-checker’s role is to help readers distinguish fact from fiction by analyzing and rating claims. Sometimes, however, fact-checkers seem to create and check claims that no one is making, or, perhaps inadvertently, blame outlets or individuals for false claims that they didn’t make.
In a fact-check published Jan. 5, Snopes contributor Madison Dapcevich analyzed the claim “Legislation proposed in the New York State Senate in 2021 called for the establishment of COVID-19 ‘detention camps,’” rating this a “Mixture” of truth and falsehood.
A “fact check” by USA Today is defaming a Ph.D.-vetted study by Just Facts that found non-citizens may have cast enough illegal votes for Joe Biden to overturn the lawful election results in some key battleground states. The article, written by USA Today’s Chelsey Cox, contains 10 misrepresentations, unsupported claims, half-truths, and outright falsehoods.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s spokesperson stated that a viral post alleging that a 118-year-old man voted was true, but was probably due to a mistyped entry. Fact-checkers said that they discovered another individual with the same name in the area.
The post featured a screen recording: an individual typed in “William Bradley” into the state’s voter information page, followed by a birth date and zip code. Immediately, the search returned with Bradley’s city clerk information as well as a confirmation that an absentee ballot had been received.
We live in an age in which information is far more accessible than ever before in human history. However, so is misinformation. How can we sort out one from other?
Well, some people who call themselves “fact checkers” claim to have the answer. They say, “Trust us.” But all-too-often, they fail to get even basic facts correct. Let’s look at three prime examples. See if you notice a common thread between them.