The Washington Post Fact Checker

Organization: The Washington Post Fact Checker
Applicant: Glenn Kessler
Assessor: Michael Wagner

Background

I conducted a review of The Fact Checker's application from July 6-15, 2020. I read the fact checks and other links offered in the application and my own review of a randomly chosen set of fact checks conducted over the past year. After my initial assessment conclusion, The Fact Checker revised its application and I reviewed the revisions.


Assessment Conclusion


I believe The Fact Checker's revised application should be accepted.


on 28-Jul-2020 (1 year ago)

Michael Wagner assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

The Fact Checker is the fact-checking unit at The Washington Post newspaper. It is an independent arm of the paper and produces high-quality fact checks that follow a routinzed process and are: rigorously and transparently sourced, clearly written, and open to complaints. The Fact Checker typically conducts more fact checks of those in power in the U.S., such as the president and the party that controls the House and the Senate. There is an imbalance of fact checks about the current president as compared to the president's 2020 opponents and partisan counterparts, most notably in the House of Representatives, but this imbalance is more than sensible given the staggering amount of false claims the current president has made. The Fact Checker brings a clear and transparent process to bear on every fact check and treats each claim with equal rigor.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

This is the landing page of The Fact Checker within The Washington Post website: www.washingtonpost.com/factchecker There is also an extensive "About The Fact Checker" page: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/about-the-fact-checker/ Key section: "Since 2013, The Washington Post has been owned by Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, as a personal investment via Nash Holdings LLC. The Fact Checker is part of the national-news section of The Post, which is managed separately from the editorial and opinion section of The Post.”

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago)

The Fact Checker is a distinct unit within a legally registered organization. IT is easy to find details about this on the Wasnington Post's website.


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

1. The Fact Checker was started in September 2007 to provide fact checks during the 2008 presidential election. It was revived in January 2011, under the direction of Glenn Kessler, as a permanent feature of The Washington Post.

2. The Fact Checker is primarily four people -- two writers, including Kessler, and two video producers, who also write stories. Two additional video editors also contribute to The Fact Checker, though they may also work with other sections of the newspaper. 

3. We aim to have a fact check at least five times a week, if not more. Fact checks are both in written form and in videos. (The Fact Checker videos get more views than the written fact checks.) We also produce a weekly newsletter and this year published a book (June 2, Scribner) on President Trump's falsehoods. We also maintain a database of every false or misleading statement made by the president.

4. To cover the presidential election, the new (or returning) president, lawmakers and advocacy groups and continued misinformation about the coronavirus. We also will maintain a focus on highlighting examples of manipulated video. 

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker is set up for the exclusive purpose of fact-checking. Fact checks are done via the written word and through video.


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The landing page of The Fact Checker includes an archival function so you can view fact checks by month: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2019/05/?utm_term=.3b201c8a35a2 We aim for at least five fact checks a week. We wrote somewhat fewer fact checks than normal in the months of January and February because we were writing our book. 

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker produces several fact checks each week and has done so for years.


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The topics that The Fact Checker chooses to fact check regularly focus on matters related to the well-being of individuals, groups and society more generally. In the main (Over the past few months), they relate to claims made by the president, the administration, national lawmakers/parties and the president's main opponent in the 2020 election campaign. 


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We receive no such funding. The Washington Post is an independent newspaper. 

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Both the Washington Post's editorial view, and the editorial view of The Fact Chceker, do not appear to be influenced by the state, politicians, or any political party. The paper reports receiving no such funding from foreign, local, state or other political actors.


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

n/a

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

See 1.5.


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Our goals and standards are described in the "About The Fact Checker" page: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/about-the-fact-checker/?utm_term=.c83168ea8aad We strive to apply The Pinocchio Test consistently and fairly, frequently referring back to previous fact checks to make sure we rate similar types of claims in the same manner. We seek items to fact check based on whether the claim is newsworthy and would help to advance better understanding of complex policy issues. Over time, we aim to fact check a similar number of claims from each party, though we do not engage in a "counting" exercise that would result in a lowering of the standard of what we fact check. I have attached ten full-fledged fact checks plus a recent article on our database of Trump's false and misleading claims and a link to a YouTube video fact check that earned more than 2 million views. Many of our fact checks come in both text and video formats, and we also have a weekly series of video fact checks produced for distribution on YouTube.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/08/20/kamala-harris-uses-fuzzy-math-suggest-her-tax-cut-is-paid/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/08/15/trumps-claim-his-deregulatory-moves-are-saving-american-households-year/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/18/sanderss-apples-and-oranges-comparison-medicare-for-all-costs/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/11/fact-checking-trumps-claims-about-chinas-economy/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/09/bidens-claim-that-he-opposed-iraq-war-moment-it-started/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/10/23/trump-mulvaneys-claim-that-corruption-concerns-held-up-ukraine-aid/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/10/09/trumps-very-inaccurate-claim-whistleblower-is-very-inaccurate/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/02/25/bidens-ridiculous-claim-he-was-arrested-trying-see-mandela/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/03/30/11-100000-what-went-wrong-with-coronavirus-testing-us/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/03/04/no-trump-didnt-shut-down-37-47-global-anti-pandemic-programs/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/06/01/president-trump-made-19127-false-or-misleading-claims-1226-days/

https://youtu.be/r3SoJOloQO0


Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Regardless of who The Fact Checker is checking, a comparable rigor of sources, evidence and assessment are used in fact checks. Relying upon official documents, prior public statements, relevant interviews and the like, a case is built for the ultimate decision rendered at the end of each fact check.This was true for the 10 fact checks the Post provided and another random 10 I examined.


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

This is described in the "About the Fact Checker" page, under the section "A Few Basic Principles": https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/about-the-fact-checker/?utm_term=.c83168ea8aad

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker currently does more fact checks about the president than all others. Given the central importance of the American president and the administration and given the number of claims of questionable veracity that the president clearly makes, this imbalance is defensible. Claims of fact made by political opponents of the president that fit the guidelines of what The Fact Checker seeks to check. As such, I do not think the imbalance is "undue." The Fact Checker clearly describes the kinds of claims they seek to check and takes care to consider the policy importance and reach of the claims it checks.The Fact Checker currently does more fact checks.


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

I believe The Fact Checker is compliant here. Notably, The Fact Checker has published clarifications related to the Washington Post's ownership, noting that the paper is not part of Amazon depsite the president occasionally referring to the paper as Amazon's Washington Post.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker and The Washington Post 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 in its reporting. The Post's editoral page does some of this, but the Fact Checker does not, and it has a separate editorial team from the editorial/opinion page of the Post.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

This is described in the "About the Fact Checker" page, under the section "A Few Basic Principles": https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/about-the-fact-checker/?utm_term=.c83168ea8aad There is also a link to a detailed discussion of Washington Post policies on non-partisanship: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/guidelines/corrections.html?tid=a_inl

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker is compliant here. The Post has a clear policy on this score and is transparent about the policy.


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker cites their sources. Fact checks identify the sources, provide links when available and use direct quotes from sources that were interviewed when appropriate. Replicating fact checks that rely on documents would not be difficult given the level of detail offered in fact checks. Replicating fact checks that rely upon interviews would be more difficult for individuals to do but is still possible as the reporting is as transparent as possible in the fact checks reviewed for this application.


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker is compliant here, usually relying on primary sources for its fact checks.


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker uses multiple sources as a regular course of behavior in its reporting.


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Using a randomized sample of fact checks, it was concluded that the Fact Checker regularly notes the interests (i.e. ideological, economic) of sources it uses when conducting fact checks.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker is a fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization.

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker is a fact-checking sction of a media house/other parent organization. It describes its ownership structure and funding in this way on its website: "Since 2013, The Washington Post has been owned by Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, as a personal investment via Nash Holdings LLC. The Fact Checker is part of the national-news section of The Post, which is managed separately from the editorial and opinion section of The Post. In 2019, The Fact Checker received a $250,000 grant from Google News Initiative/YouTube to expand production of video fact checks." It provides relevant links to Nash Holdings and the Google News Initative/YouTube.


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

On the "About The Fact Checker" page, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/01/07/about-fact-checker/ "Since 2013, The Washington Post has been owned by Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, as a personal investment via Nash Holdings LLC. The Fact Checker is part of the national-news section of The Post, which is managed separately from the editorial and opinion section of The Post.”

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker shares this information on its About Fact Checker page.


done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
The Washington Post Fact Checker
21-Jul-2020 (1 year ago)

On the "About The Fact Checker" page, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/01/07/about-fact-checker/  Kessler is the editor of The Fact Checker, responsible for all editorial decisions regarding content. The Fact Checker team has independence to decide what to fact check and what ratings to make. Within The Washington Post, The Fact Checker is part of the national-news section of The Post. The "About The Fact Checker" page has been updated to highlight that Kessler is the editor -- both in his bio and in the discussion of the staff -- and to include the names of the national editor and politics editor of The Post. 

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

It is not 100% clear where the editorial buck stops on The Fact Checker. The About The Fact Checker page descrbies Kessler and the other fact-checking staff and video editors but it does not note who The Fact Checker's editor is and whether that person(s) has any discretion over what gets published. It would be better if readers knew who the editor(s) over The Fact Checker is.


cancel 4.3 marked as Request change by Michael Wagner.
Michael Wagner Assessor
28-Jul-2020 (1 year ago)

It is not 100% clear where the editorial buck stops on The Fact Checker. The About The Fact Checker page descrbies Kessler and the other fact-checking staff and video editors but it does not note who The Fact Checker's editor is and whether that person(s) has any discretion over what gets published. It would be better if readers knew who the editor(s) over The Fact Checker is.


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

A bio of the author appears at the bottom of each fact check. The "About The Fact Checker" page provides extensive detail on Glenn Kessler, who has run The Fact Checker since 2011: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/about-the-fact-checker/?utm_term=.c83168ea8aad Shorter bios of other members of the team are also listed, along with links to more extensive biographies. 

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker makes this element easy to find.


done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

The Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

There is a contact form at the bottom of each fact check. The bio of the authors also provides email and twitter contacts, as does the "About The Fact Checker" page. About half of our fact checks are the result of reader queries. 

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker makes this element easy to find.


done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

This is outlined on the "About The Fact Checker" page: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/about-the-fact-checker/?utm_term=.a81654a2820e We have also produced a video for that page which takes viewers inside our process and how we conduct fact checks. That appears at the top of the "About The Fact Checker" page but can also be viewed via this link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/politics/about-the-fact-checker/2019/05/09/919c0fa2-4301-4ab2-9ce0-3176c500fb8a_video.html

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker lays this out clearly on the About The Fact Checker page. It also hosts a video that provides an alternative, but consistent with the written effort, way for audience members to learn about The Fact Checker's process. Both are clearly written.


done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker clearly meets this criteria in the fact checks it produces. The format of the fact checks should make it clear to readers why a claim is being analyzed, why that claim matters and when the explication of facts begins.


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker regularly reviews evidence supplied by or implied by the claimant to begin the fact check. A fair hearing was given to all of the claims of fact I reviewed for this process.


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The standard of evidence does not clearly or obviously vary from fact check to fact check, regardless of the claimant. This is especiallyl remarkable given the fact that the person checked the most by the Fact Checker, the current president, regularly makes comments about important policy matters that are not true.


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

It is not clear if The Fact Checker always contacts the claimant being checked, especially when that claimant is the president. If the president, or his staff, are contacted, it would be better if the fact check noted that. In the main, however, it appears that claimants are given the opportunity to share how they sourced their original claim. The About The Fact Checker page notes that they want to give the claimant ample opportunity to respond to the fact check, but it is not crystal clear that claimants are always afforded the chance to respond while the fact check is being produced.


done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

At the bottom of each fact check, there is a link to this form: https://hosted-washpost.submissionplatform.com/sub/hosted/5c911f64439aa20034c4f0b7  We also provide an email contact on the About The Fact Checker page. 

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

This is clearly described to readers at the bottom of each fact check and on the About the Fact Checker page.


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The About the Fact Checker page links to The Washington Post's policies on corrections: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/guidelines/corrections.html?tid=a_inl

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker is in compliance. It is easy to find the corrections policy. It is easy to contact The Fact Checker to seek a correction.


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker appears compliant on this criteria.


done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker provided two corrections it made in the past year, both corrections were clearly labeled and addressed in the fact check that currently exists online.


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

This is at the end of the "About The Fact Checker" page, where the IFCN badge is displayed: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/01/07/about-fact-checker/

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker is compliant with this criteria.


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.

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 Washington Post Fact Checker
06-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/ask-the-post/wp/2016/01/01/policies-and-standards/


The Washington Post publishes corrections every day and makes it easy for readers to submit a correction request:  https://helpcenter.washingtonpost.com/hc/en-us/articles/115003675928-Submit-a-correction

Michael Wagner Assessor
20-Jul-2020 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The Fact Checker is compliant with this criteria.


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Michael Wagner.