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.
Good for Tapper.
With that having been said, I think it is important to reflect on how screwed up things are that we now need to team independent fact checkers up with our news media. Our news media. The folks whose sole job is to inform us with… facts.
We live in a media environment in which a several decade assault on facts and the truth has taken us to the point that our news coverage is rarely if ever factual but is instead, fact-based. Colbert called it “truthiness.” Our media is so terrified of being called biased, that what we get now is not a clear presentation of facts, but of a he-said she-said mess, and where facts have a “liberal bias.”
So while I think this is great, we need to realize what is going to happen next, should this catch on- a full on assault on the independent fact checkers. Just like they went after the media, just like they went after the academy, just like they went after the sciences, and just like they have gone after anyone else who has dared to stand in the way of their lies, if the notion of independent fact-checking gains popularity, and the truth starts to seep back into our discourse, expect the Brent Bozell’s and the Newsbusters and the Hannity’s and the rest of the well oiled wurlitzer to try to tear down the independent fact-checkers and the folks like Jake Tapper who work with them. You can bet on it.