The Dispatch Fact Check

Organization: The Dispatch
Applicant: Rachael Larimore
Assessor: Julie Homchick Crowe

Background

The Dispatch Fact Check is a distinct project from its related media outlet, The Dispatch, as its work focuses exclusively on fact checking claims. The project is young, only having started in 2019, so is newer to the landscape of fact checking. The Dispatch’s readership is largely conservative, so the connection between the project and the news outlet brings a different readership than many other fact checking projects (in spite of the nonpartisanship of any project meeting IFCN standards).

Assessment Conclusion

The Dispatch Fact Check offers fact checks that are grounded in evidence and they broadly do not unduly concentrate on one side of the political spectrum. Their connection to The Dispatch outlet is important, as the applicant notes, given their conservative readership and ability to reach members of the public who may not read other outlets that appear to them to be too centrist or left-leaning.

That said, it should be considered that The Dispatch Fact Check reveals their political biases in some cases (as noted in the criteria evaluation), it is important to note that these instances are the exception and not the rule in the randomized sample.

Overall, the fact checking done at the Dispatch Fact Check is guided by the framework of the Code of Principles at IFCN.

on 17-Mar-2022 (3 months ago)

Julie Homchick Crowe assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

The Dispatch Fact Check generally published fact checks in line with the Code of Principles that are largely directed to a conservative readership. While the assessment shows some aberration, the majority of work aligns with the IFCN's principles.

Section 1: Eligibility to be a signatory

To be eligible to be a signatory, applicants must meet these six criteria

  • 1.1 The applicant is a legally registered organization, or a distinct team or unit within a legally registered organization, and details of this are easily found on its website.
  • 1.2 The team, unit or organization is set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking.
  • 1.3 The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the six months prior to the date of application. For applicants from countries with at least 5 or more verified signatories need to have at least a fact check a week over the twelve months of publishing track. Consult to factchecknet@poynter.org for confirmation.
  • 1.4 On average, at least 75% of the applicant’s fact checks focus on claims related to issues that, in the view of the IFCN, relate to or could have an impact on the welfare or well-being of individuals, the general public or society.
  • 1.5 The applicant’s editorial output is not, in the view of the IFCN, controlled by the state, a political party or politician.
  • 1.6 If the organization receives funding from local or foreign state or political sources, it provides a statement on its site setting out to the satisfaction of the IFCN, how it ensures its funders do not influence the findings of its reports.

Criteria 1.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please explain where on your website you set out information about your organization’s legal status and how this complies with criteria. Attach a link to the relevant page of your website.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago)

The Dispatch Fact Check is a distinct project of The Dispatch. Fact checks are published at their own unique sub domain: https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/

The content published via https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/ is promoted at https://thedispatch.com/ and in social media and email promotions for The Dispatch.

Dispatch Media, Inc. was founded as TSHGSH and submitted paperwork to the state of Delaware on October 2, 2019. I'm attaching three documents: The certificate of corporation for TSHGH from the state of Delaware from July 2019, the documentation approving the name change, and the IRS letter confirming that TSGSGH was assigned an Employer Identification number.

Files Attached
picture_as_pdf TSHGSH, INC EIN Conf... (16 KB) picture_as_pdf Dispatch Media Inc.-... (88 KB) picture_as_pdf Cert of Inc - DE SOS... (751 KB)
Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The homepage of The Dispatch Fact Check that's provided by the applicant does not directly explain the relationship between The Dispatch and The Dispatch Fact Check; however, in discussing the staff, they mention that some work for The Dispatch so the relationship is at least implied.

There is also some confusion here regarding its former name as well - in the text provided, it is listed as three different acronyms: TSHGSH, TSHGH, and TSGSGH, which is presumably a mistake.


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 1.2
Proof you meet criteria
Please answer the following questions – (see notes in Guidelines for Application on how to answer)

 1. When and why was your fact-checking operation started?
 2. How many people work or volunteer in the organization and what are their roles?
 3. What different activities does your organization carry out?
 4. What are the goals of your fact-checking operation over the coming year?

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

1. When and why was your fact-checking operation started?

We launched our the Dispatch Fact Check operation on Nov. 22, 2019. The Dispatch itself launched in October 2019 and we launched factcheck.thedispatch.com as soon as we were able to devote resources to the project. We have several reasons for launching. First is that the stated mission of The Dispatch is to provide "fact-based reporting and commentary on politics, policy and culture." Our larger site does provide opinion and analysis, but we strive to publish such pieces by experts on a given topic or by writers who have researched and reported the topics they are analyzing.

The Dispatch Fact Check is a natural extension of that. We recognize that there is a significant amount of biased reporting, misinformation, and outright disinformation that is published. Politicians make false statements, and those statements are amplified by their supporters. Thanks to social media, entire "fake news" operations have sprung up and can promote their work to unassuming consumers of news. At The Dispatch, we are upfront and forthright about our work being "informed by conservative principles." Our hope is that because our audience is aware of our ideology, and our commitment to reporting, that we can influence those on the right to believe it when we point out that their favored politicians or news sources commit factual errors, and also vice versa: that the politicians and news sources with whom they tend to disagree are telling the truth if we say so. We will accomplish that goal by being non-ideological in our fact checking, seeking a balance in fact checking claims by figures of all backgrounds.

2. Here are the names and roles of the people who work on the Dispatch Fact Check

* Alec Dent is a fact checker for The Dispatch. He is a graduate of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC Chapel Hill, and previously worked for the UNC Program for Public Discourse.

* Khaya Himmelman is a fact checker for the Dispatch. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Barnard College.

* Rachael Larimore is the managing editor of The Dispatch and supervising editor of Dispatch Fact Check. She edits Dispatch Fact Check stories.

* Steve Hayes is the co-founder, CEO, and editor of The Dispatch. Previously he was the editor-in-chief of The Weekly Standard. He edits Dispatch Fact Check stories.

3. What different activities does your organization carry out?

The Dispatch Fact Check will publish nothing but fact checks, which are archived here: https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/. In terms of the larger organization: Dispatch Media publishes articles, newsletters, and podcasts. We also have conducted virtual gatherings (essentially live podcasts, but where viewers can submit questions for our hosts and panelists). We will be doing live events and weekend retreats as the lifting of COVD regulations lifts.

4. What are the goals of your fact-checking operation over the coming year?

We hope to continue as a third-party partner in Facebook’s fact checking program. Our two big focuses the last year, by necessity, were misinformation around the 2020 election and the COVID pandemic. We hope that the amount of misinformation we are seeing on those fronts recedes and will allow to us to broaden our range of topics. We will continue to fact check questionable statements by politicians and elected officials, and we will cover a range of topics that circulate on social media, depending on the stories of the moment. We will aim to do 5-10 fact checks a week, looking at claims that have national, international, and even local relevance. We will continue to do deeply reported pieces when the questions are difficult or multifaceted.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The Dispatch Fact Check provides clear information about its origins, staff, activities and goals.

Based in the United States, The Dispatch Fact Check functions as the fact checking arm of the right-leaning news and opinion outlet, The Dispatch. The project was formalized in 2019.

The Dispatch Fact Check operates within a highly polarized political climate in the US that was further segmented during the 2020 presidental election and the COVID-19 pandemic. The US has two primary political parties - Democrats and Republicans - that are highly oppositional to each other in terms of policies and values. The Dispatch Fact Check is an important project in this climate given its direct recognition that The Dispatch is "informed by conservative principles," meaning they are aware of their right-leaning audience and the importance of providing this audience with well-done and accurate fact checks and reporting, particularly on issues susceptible to misinformation within the last year, such as the pandemic and the election.

The Dispatch Fact Check appears to have committed a set of journalists exclusively to the task of fact checking.


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 1.3
Proof you meet criteria
- The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the six months prior to the date of application.
- For applicants from countries with at least 5 or more verified signatories need to have at least a fact check a week over the twelve months of publishing track.
- Consult to factchecknet@poynter.org for confirmation.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

You can see our complete archives here. We have been publishing multiple fact checks a week for the last 12 months 
https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/ 

I’ve also created a sheet with s sampling of our fact checks the last 12 months

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Kg7OXxks8wTEtVjYuVJK45posC8zqfiOzZ0WlJhq-mQ/edit#gid=0

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The Dispatch Fact Check has published fact checks more than once/week over the last 12 months.


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 1.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous three months. No additional information required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Overall, fact checks focus on issues related to individual or societal well-being. Common topics include: public health and politics. As notes by the applicant, 2020 required particular attention to the presidental election and the COVID-19 pandemic, both of which directly relate to and impact public welfare.


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 1.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please explain any commercial, financial and/or institutional relationship your organization has to the state, politicians or political parties in the country or countries you cover. Also explain funding or support received from foreign as well as local state or political actors over the previous financial year.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago)

The Dispatch has no relationship with with any state, politician, or political party. We receive no funding or support from any local, state, or political actors.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

There is no evidence that the editorial content is controlled by any political party or actor.


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 1.6
Proof you meet criteria
If you confirmed the organization receives funding from local or foreign state or political sources, provide a link to where on your website you set out how you ensure the editorial independence of your work.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Dispatch has no relationship with with any state, politician, or political party. We receive no funding or support from any local, state, or political actors.

Section 2: A commitment to Non-partisanship and Fairness

To be compliant on nonpartisanship and fairness, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 2.1 The applicant fact-checks using the same high standards of evidence and judgement for equivalent claims regardless of who made the claim.
  • 2.2 The applicant does not unduly concentrate its fact-checking on any one side, considers the reach and importance of claims it selects to check and publishes a short statement on its website to set out how it selects claims to check.
  • 2.3 The applicant discloses in its fact checks relevant interests of the sources it quotes where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided. It also discloses in its fact checks any commercial or other such relationships it has that a member of the public might reasonably conclude could influence the findings of the fact check.
  • 2.4 The applicant is not as an organization affiliated with nor declares or shows support for any party, any politician or political candidate, nor does it advocate for or against any policy positions on any issues save for transparency and accuracy in public debate.
  • 2.5 The applicant sets out its policy on non-partisanship for staff on its site. Save for the issues of accuracy and transparency, the applicant’s staff do not get involved in advocacy or publicise their views on policy issues the organization might fact check in such a way as might lead a reasonable member of the public to see the organization’s work as biased.

Criteria 2.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please share links to 10 fact checks published over the past year that you believe demonstrate your non-partisanship.
Please briefly explain how the fact checks selected show that (I) you use the same high standards of evidence for equivalent claims, (II) follow the same essential process for every fact check and (III) let the evidence dictate your conclusions.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Q8f9lq1-ykAZqrpBwwTIAHgXNjoGSO0xBA6HC1KEUmQ/edit#gid=0

One thing we have learned in the last year is that, at least depending on the news of the day, misinformation is not always a “50-50” situation where each side is making an equivalent number of false claims. Because of the nature of the 2020 election, we fact checked far more claims from the right about the election results than from the left. What we do is try to be “proportional” in terms of assigning fact checks. We have had the opportunity to fact check claims by Joe Biden since he’s been elected. Some claims are true, some claims are false. 

Some claims are easier to dismiss than others, and don’t require much reporting. I’ve included two examples of this that parallel nicely. During the height of the election fraud disinformation campaign, we debunked claims that both Bill Barr and the Biden family had ties to Dominion Voting Systems. We fact check Donald Trump’s Saving America speech, and Joe Biden’s address to the joint session of Congress. 

Our process is the same for all of our fact checks: Address each claim, individually, on the merits. We find reporting that has been done and cite that in cases of claims that can be easily debunked, and we call relevant public officials or experts when veracity has not been established. If a politician is joking about something, we’ll clarify that he or she is joking, but not use that as a “get out of jail free” card. (The claim about Joe Biden saying that he would answer a question only if a reporter stepped in front of the truck he was about to drive. Was he joking? Yes. But did he say it? Yes ... yes he did.) When people make the same false claims repeatedly, we won’t hesitate to keep calling them out on it (We’ve done multiple fact checks of false claims by Mike Lindell and Sidney Powell, for example.)

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

In most cases, The Dispatch demonstrates non-partisanship in their evaluation of claims and it appears that the evidence dictates their conclusions. That said, the assessor noticed a contrast between the standards of evidence used to evaluate one speech by Donald Trump and one by Joe Biden.

In the analysis of Trump's Speech at the "Save America March (https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/fact-checking-donald-trumps-speech), it is noteable how much shorter this analysis is compared to the analysis of Biden's address to Congress (https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/fact-checking-joe-bidens-address). Specifically, there were 10 paragraphs in totally devoted to only one remark about free speech ("can't yell 'fire' in a crowded theater") that included quotations from interviews with two law professors in addition to other sourcing. In contrast, each claim within Trump's speech are given 1-2 paragraphs with fewer sources. 

In their application, The Dispatch is right to note that "Some claims are easier to dismiss than others, and don't require much reporting." While this is true, the rather lengthy attention to Biden's misused metaphor seems to suggest something else since it did in fact get much more detailed reporting than any of the claims in the Trump speech and the claims significance does not merit extra scrutiny.


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 2.2
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to a place on your website where you explain how you select claims to check, explaining how you ensure you do not unduly concentrate your fact-checking on any one side, and how you consider the reach and importance of the claims you select to check.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Clear explanation in provided link. The sample of fact checks revealed more focus on claims made by Republicans or right-leaning figures/institutions, but this tendency matches the political climate. As the GOP lost the election in 2020, there were likely more claims from this party to analyze. And it also appears that The Dispatch was fair in seeking claims by the newly elected president and his left-leaning constituents. 


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 2.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous year. No additional information required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

The assessor did not see any cases where the relevant interests of its sources were disclosed, but that may have been because there were no interests to disclose at all. Only one case seemed suspect in terms of what was not disclosed and how a reader might interpret the accuracy of the evidence provided. This was from the analysis of Biden's speech to Congress where Douglas Holtz-Eakin is used as a source to explain why Biden's claim about 55 corporations not paying taxes might be misleading (https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/fact-checking-joe-bidens-address). Holtz-Eakin has held numerous political positions and his American Action Forum is a conservative think tank, which is not noted in the fact check. 


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 2.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous year. No additional information required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The applicant is direct in noting that The Dispatch is "informed by conservative principles," but it does not claim allegiance to any political party or figure.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 2.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to a place on your website where you publish a statement setting out your policy on non-partisanship for staff and how it ensures the organization meets this criteria.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
The Dispatch
27-Jan-2022 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/the-dispatch-faq

I have updated the page by adding the following sentence: All employees of The Dispatch are prohibited from performing work for elected officials, candidates for office or political parties. Employees must agree to this policy as a condition of employment. I’m not sure how to elaborate otherwise; we have not had cause to investigate any violations of this policy.

If I may address the other comments: Jonah Goldberg (who is not part of the Dispatch Fact Check operation) and Steve Hayes very publicly resigned from Fox News, specifically citing the disinformation spread on a Fox Nation streaming production by Tucker Carlson. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/21/business/jonah-goldberg-steve-hayes-quit-fox-tucker-carlson.html

As for Alec’s article, it’s for a different publication, it’s not about partisan politics, and it predates his hiring at The Dispatch. Any Dispatch reader can access Alec’s complete archive here: https://thedispatch.com/people/7365934-alec-dent

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The following is from the provided link: "All employees of The Dispatch are prohibited from performing work for elected officials, candidates for office or political parties."

The page, though, does not explain "how it ensures the organization meets this criteria" so it is recommended that the page is developed with an explanation to be compliant.

The staff appear largely apolitical on social media, but a skeptic of fact checks from The Dispatch Fact Check might find cause for suspicion in some of the appearances on Fox News or in somewhat recent pieces that reveal a political perspective, like the following: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/09/natural-evolution-language-not-cultural-appropriation/ 


cancel 2.5 marked as Request change by Julie Homchick Crowe.
Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
16-Feb-2022 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The applicant has updated content on their page to reflect their policy on disallowing political work among employees.


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Section 3: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Sources

To be compliant on sources, applicants must meet these four criteria

  • 3.1 The applicant identifies the source of all significant evidence used in their fact checks, providing relevant links where the source is available online, in such a way that users can replicate their work if they wish. In cases where identifying the source would compromise the source’s personal security, the applicant provides as much detail as compatible with the source’s safety.
  • 3.2 The applicant uses the best available primary, not secondary, sources of evidence wherever suitable primary sources are available. Where suitable primary sources are not available, the applicant explains the use of a secondary source.
  • 3.3 The applicant checks all key elements of claims against more than one named source of evidence save where the one source is the only source relevant on the topic.
  • 3.4 The applicant identifies in its fact checks the relevant interests of the sources it uses where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided.

Criteria 3.1
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The applicant uses multiple sources and provides several links in each fact check so that the reader may replicate their work.

In some cases, though, links to social media posts that have originated or spread checkable claims are not accessible to readers, as with this post (https://www.facebook.com/liberalprivilegeusa/videos/vb.2080749298620471/2071305399666507/?type=2&theater) that was linked to in this fact check: https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/fact-check-debunking-the-hammer-and. This is expected for social media posts, particularly when they are posted to private groups.


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 3.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 7 months ago

In many cases, the fact checks do not appear to request interviews with primary sources but rather rely on secondary sources. This seems to often be because their task as fact checkers relies much more on public record of remarks or events so contacting a primary source to verify a claim isn't necessary.

In many cases, like in the following example, the fact checker reaches out to a spokespoerson or direct source: "Rayhan Daudani, a media representative of Dominion Energy, told The Dispatch Fact Check: “Dominion Energy is not connected to Dominion Voting Systems. They are two distinct companies.”" - from https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/does-bill-barr-have-connections-to

In some cases, though, the source of the original claim isn't clear. Take, for example, this fact check where reference to an original viral Instagram post begins the story, but the screen shot doesn't have any text that reflects anything about the discussed claim of a court case against Trump. The link only goes to the social media profile, which may be because the post was removed, but both the screen shot and the lack of a direct quotation from the post seem to indicate that the fact check needs further support from the primary source. https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/is-donald-trump-facing-a-court-case. While fact checks can not be expected to have social media posts remain stable or up, the fact check should have nonetheless included a quotation or further description of what the post contained as a backstop. 


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 3.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

In the sample of fact checks, multiple sources were used in each article to offer support for the evaluation of the claim.


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 3.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

As noted in 2.3, the use of Douglas Douglas Holtz-Eakin stood out as an instance where relevant interests of the sources were not disclosed to readers. In general, though, this did not seem to be an issue.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Section 4: A commitment to Transparency of Funding & Organization

To be compliant on funding and organization, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 4.1 Applicants that are independent organizations have a page on their website detailing each source of funding accounting for 5% or more of total revenue for its previous financial year. This page also sets out the legal form in which the organization is registered (e.g. as a non-profit, as a company etc).
  • 4.2 Applicants that are the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization make a statement on ownership.
  • 4.3 A statement on the applicant’s website sets out the applicant’s organizational structure and makes clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised.
  • 4.4 A page on the applicant’s website details the professional biography of all those who, according to the organizational structure and play a significant part in its editorial output.
  • 4.5 The applicant provides easy means on its website and/or via social media for users to communicate with the editorial team.

Criteria 4.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please confirm whether you are an ‘independent organization’
or ‘the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization’ and share proof of this organizational status.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Dispatch Fact Check is a distinct project of The Dispatch. Fact checks are published at their own unique sub domain: https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/

The content published via https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/ is promoted at https://thedispatch.com/ and in social media and email promotions for The Dispatch. 

The Dispatch
27-Jan-2022 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The Dispatch Fact Check is a distinct project of The Dispatch. Fact checks are published at their own unique sub domain: https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/

The content published via https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/ is promoted at https://thedispatch.com/ and in social media and email promotions for The Dispatch. 

https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/about

********

Unfortunately, we don’t have manual control over the staff page to indicate heirarchy or any kind of org chart. As such, we have updated the following pages to clarify structure and editorial control

https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/the-dispatch-faq

https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/about


Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The Dispatch Fact Check operates as a distinct project of The Dispatch. While the Dispatch regularly promotes content from the fact checking project, it is not explained on the provided "About" page what the relationship is to The Dispatch. It would be useful to readers to see articulated the distinction between the news and opinion writing of The Dispatch and the fact-checking project, particularly since the FAQ page of The Dispatch notes a political leaning as it is "informed by conservative principles." As such, I recommend a simple note regarding the distinction of these projects on the About page.


cancel 4.1 marked as Request change by Julie Homchick Crowe.
Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
16-Feb-2022 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The applicant added content on their site to reflect the relationship between the Dispatch and the Dispatch Fact Check.


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 4.2
Proof you meet criteria
If your organization is an “independent organization”, please share a link to the page on your website where you detail your funding and indicate the legal form in which the organization is registered (e.g. as a non-profit, as a company etc).
If your organization is “the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization”, please share a link to the statement on your website about your ownership.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The Dispatch Fact Check provides the following information on the FAQ page: "Dispatch Media is a majority employee-owned company. Excluding founders and employees, no single individual or entity owns more than 5.61 percent of the company."


done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 4.3
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you set out your organizational structure, making clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
The Dispatch
27-Jan-2022 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

https://thedispatch.com/about?sort=people

Unfortunately, we don’t have manual control over the staff page to indicate heirarchy or any kind of org chart. As such, we have updated the following pages to clarify structure and editorial control

https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/the-dispatch-faq

https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/about


Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The provided page links to a list of staff for The Dispatch and The Dispatch Fact Check. It is not clear on this page, though, what the organizational structure is or how editorial control is excersized, so some further details here or on the About or FAQ page are requested for compliance.


cancel 4.3 marked as Request change by Julie Homchick Crowe.
Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
16-Feb-2022 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The applicant updated their content to reflect the organizational structure and roles of employees.


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 4.4
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you set out the professional biographies of those who play a significant part in your organization’s editorial output.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Roles of writers and editors are clearly noted on the About page.


done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 4.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you encourage users to communicate with your editorial team.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Clear path for communication for users to engage with the editorial team.


done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Section 5: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Methodology

To be compliant on methodology, applicants must meet these six criteria

  • 5.1 The applicant publishes on its website a statement about the methodology it uses to select, research, write and publish its fact checks.
  • 5.2 The applicant selects claims to check based primarily on the reach and importance of the claims, and where possible explains the reason for choosing the claim to check.
  • 5.3 The applicant sets out in its fact checks relevant evidence that appears to support the claim as well as relevant evidence that appears to undermine it.
  • 5.4 The applicant in its fact checks assesses the merits of the evidence found using the same high standards applied to evidence on equivalent claims, regardless of who made the claim.
  • 5.5 The applicant seeks where possible to contact those who made the claim to seek supporting evidence, noting that (I) this is often not possible with online claims, (II) if the person who makes the claim fails to reply in a timely way this should not impede the fact check, (III) if a speaker adds caveats to the claim, the fact-checker should be free to continue with checking the original claim, (IV) fact-checkers may not wish to contact the person who made the claim for safety or other legitimate reasons.
  • 5.6 The applicant encourages users to send in claims to check, while making it clear what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked and what isn’t fact-checkable.

Criteria 5.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a link to the statement on your website that explains the methodology you use to select, research, write and publish your fact checks.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Methodology is clearly explained in section called "What is Out Fact Checking Methodology?"


done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 5.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The applicant focuses their fact checking efforts on claims that have important political implications and broad reach for a national audience.


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 5.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Each fact check begins with a description of what the claim is, where it originated or how it spread, and a discussion of reasons that are claimed to support it. The writer then goes on to offer any counter evidence to support the evaluation.


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 5.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

In most cases, the applicant assesses the merits of the evidence found using the same high standards applied to evidence on equivalent claims, regardless of who made the claim. As noted in earlier criteria, there are some cases where they seem to apply more critical scrutiny to evidence related to claims by Biden than they did to claims by Trump (see critieria 2.1). That seemed to be the exception rather than the rule in the randomized sample, however.


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 5.5
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The applicant seeks where possible to contact those who made the claim to seek supporting evidence, noting that (I) this is often not possible with online claims, (II) if the person who makes the claim fails to reply in a timely way this should not impede the fact check, (III) if a speaker adds caveats to the claim, the fact-checker should be free to continue with checking the original claim, (IV) fact-checkers may not wish to contact the person who made the claim for safety or other legitimate reasons.

In most cases, the fact checks require a review of public record to verify if a statement was made or not or how a statement should be understood within a particular context. The applicant offers a review of those records for the reader and contextual information where needed. In some cases, the applicant reaches out to spokespersons but there were no instances where the applicant directly verified something with the person who made the claim (e.g., President Trump or a social media account holder), but the set of fact checks did not seem to merit this kind of contact given the public nature of most claims.


done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 5.6
Proof you meet criteria
Please describe how you encourage users to send in claims to check, while making it clear what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked and what isn’t fact-checkable. Include links where appropriate. If you do not allow this, explain why.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We put a note at the bottom of every fact check inviting readers to email us with suggestions, and we have the following text on our "about" page:

If you have a claim you would like to see us fact check, please send us an email at factcheck@thedispatch.com. If you would like to suggest a correction to this piece or any other Dispatch article, please email corrections@thedispatch.com

https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/about


I can say we get a LOT of feedback into our factcheck@thedispatch.com email address. Readers have emailed in over the last year thanking us for our work, and expressing concern that a friend, relative, or loved one has fallen prey to covid disinformation, QAnon claims, or election fraud, and wondering if we had done or were planning to do a fact check on a given claim. We strive to respond to all such requests, even if we are unable to fact check that particular claim for any reason

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Very clearly indicated on each fact check and on the About page.


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Section 6: A commitment to an Open & Honest Corrections Policy

To be compliant on corrections policy, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 6.1 The applicant has a corrections or complaints policy that is easily visible and accessible on the organization’s website or frequently referenced in broadcasts.
  • 6.2 The policy sets out clear definitions of what it does and does not cover, how major mistakes, especially those requiring revised conclusions of a fact check, are handled, and the fact that some complaints may justify no response. This policy is adhered to scrupulously.
  • 6.3 Where credible evidence is provided that the applicant has made a mistake worthy of correction, the applicant makes a correction openly and transparently, seeking as far as possible to ensure that users of the original see the correction and the corrected version.
  • 6.4 The applicant, if an existing signatory, should either on its corrections/complaints page or on the page where it declares itself an IFCN signatory inform users that if they believe the signatory is violating the IFCN Code, they may inform the IFCN, with a link to the IFCN site.
  • 6.5 If the applicant is the fact-checking unit of a media company, it is a requirement of signatory status that the parent media company has and adheres to an open and honest corrections policy.

Criteria 6.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a link to where you publish on your website your corrections or complaints policy. If you are primarily a broadcaster, please provide evidence you frequently reference your corrections policy in broadcasts.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Accessible corrections policy.


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 6.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the corrections policy to verify it meets critera. No additional information needed.

Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Corrections and revisions policy is clear.


done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 6.3
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a short statement about how the policy was adhered to over the previous year (or six months if this is the first application) including evidence of two examples of the responses provided by the applicant to a correction request over the previous year. Where no correction request has been made in the previous year, you must state this in your application, which will be publicly available in the assessment if your application is successful.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

This fact check was based off a viral photo. We incorrectly suggested that an individual on Twitter who shared the (misleading) photo was the individual who altered it in a misleading way. Our correction is posted on the article page itself. 
https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/did-evangelical-leaders-pray-over


In reporting this fact check, we reached out to Regneron, the company behind the experimental treatment that President Trump received when he had COVID, to ask about claims of whether the treatment was developed with stem cells. While the answer they gave us was technically accurate, it came down to a very technical distinction in the kind of cells that were used. The treatment had indeed been developed using a cell line from a fetus aborted in the 1970s, but it wasn’t stem cells. We put an update on the piece to clarify. 

https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/was-trumps-antibody-cocktail-created


Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Example demonstrations corrections policy adherence.


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 6.4
Proof you meet criteria
If you are an existing signatory, please provide a link to show where on your site you inform users that if they believe you are violating the IFCN Code, they may inform the IFCN of this, with a link to the complaints page on the IFCN site.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The Dispatch Fact Check provides the following statement on the About page:

"The Dispatch Fact Check is a signatory to the IFCN Code of Principles. The Dispatch Fact Check became a signatory in 2020 and resubmits an application every year to stay a signatory in good standing. If you believe we have committed a violation of the IFCN code and would like to submit a complaint, you may review the policy and submit a complaint here."


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.

Criteria 6.5
Proof you meet criteria
If you are the fact-checking unit of a media company, please provide a link to the parent media company’s honest and open corrections policy and provide evidence that it adheres to this.

The Dispatch
01-Jun-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Dispatch and The Dispatch Fact Check follow the same corrections policy

https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/the-dispatch-corrections-policy

The Dispatch
27-Jan-2022 (5 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The Dispatch and The Dispatch Fact Check follow the same corrections policy

https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/the-dispatch-corrections-policy


There are two pieces with corrections noted in Section 6.3, but here is a more recent example:

https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/fact-checking-claims-about-rand-pauls


Here are the examples from 6.3

This fact check was based off a viral photo. We incorrectly suggested that an individual on Twitter who shared the (misleading) photo was the individual who altered it in a misleading way. Our correction is posted on the article page itself.

https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/did-evangelical-leaders-pray-over

In reporting this fact check, we reached out to Regneron, the company behind the experimental treatment that President Trump received when he had COVID, to ask about claims of whether the treatment was developed with stem cells. While the answer they gave us was technically accurate, it came down to a very technical distinction in the kind of cells that were used. The treatment had indeed been developed using a cell line from a fetus aborted in the 1970s, but it wasn’t stem cells. We put an update on the piece to clarify.

https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/was-trumps-antibody-cocktail-created


Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
12-Jul-2021 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Clear policy, but this criteria requests evidence of adherence - therefore, the assessor requests an example of a correction.


cancel 6.5 marked as Request change by Julie Homchick Crowe.
Julie Homchick Crowe Assessor
16-Feb-2022 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The applicant provided evidence of adherence to this policy.


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Julie Homchick Crowe.