Applicant: Katie Sanders
Assessor: Michael Wagner
Conclusion and recommendations
Michael Wagner wrote:
Politifact is a world-class fact-checking organization that complies with IFCN principles. I recommend renewal. Given that IFCN and PolitiFact share an owner (Poynter), more care should be taken by PolitiFact to be transparent about its funding. IFCN should also note information about ownership when listing PolitiFact as an IFCN approved source.
In addition to a bit more transparency on funding, my assessment offered some ‘food for thought’ for PolitiFact in terms of its ratings system, processes for dealing with complaints and with respect to sharing the transcripts of on-the-record interviews for fact-checks. It might also better serve PolitiFact’s readers, and help PolitiFact’s own overall transparency, to develop a protocol for dealing with complaints about ratings. Some complaints will surely be ideological screeds. However, others will debate the rating on the merits. This second category of complaints deserve some kind of response, whether individually, publicly, or via some other mechanism.
None of these suggestions should be interpreted as requirements for renewal. PolitiFact is, in my view, adhering to IFCN’s principles already. These suggestions are to encourage an industry leader to continue innovating with respect to their methods, transparency and accountability to their audience.