Saturday, April 10, 2010

Check That

Via Steve Benen, ABC News announces a new feature for their Sunday show:

As you may know, we’re trying out some new things on THIS WEEK. Two weeks ago we started live-tweeting of the show (which will next happen at 10 am ET this Sunday).

This week we’ve invited Pulitzer Prize winning website PolitiFact to fact-check the newsmaker interviews featured on the program.

The idea was first proposed by NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen and I thought it worth a try. PolitiFact editor Bill Adair, the St Petersburg Times’ Washington bureau chief, and I know each other from fact-checking forums and such (I was at the Fact Check desk during the 2004 elections) so I asked him if he’d be willing to give it a try. He was.

Obviously I aspire to fact-check newsmakers during the show itself, but in addition to that, starting this Sunday April 12, after the show, you can read Politifact’s fact checks on ABCNews.com/This Week and at Politifact.com.

That’s all well and good, but begs a rather obvious question: why would a news organization need to have an outside fact-checker? Isn’t that what a news organization is supposed to do all by itself?