Just the Fact Checker, Ma’am

by Michael Benidt on October 7, 2008

Web sites that rate political candidate claims, debate performances and television ads are all the rage these days. And, many of them are pretty gosh darn good.


Perhaps the best known political fact monitor comes from the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. You’ve probably heard of it as FactCheck.org. It’s a nonprofit and nonpartisan site that monitors the accuracy of the folks who are running for major offices like, oh, president and vice-president.


We like FactCheck.org because they don’t take money from corporations, political parties, labor unions or lobbyists. Seems to keep them objective.

Another place you can keep tabs on the truthfulness of your favorite candidate (or your least favorite) is the Washington Post’s Fact Checker. They actually even fact-checked the recent Sarah Palin – Joe Biden VP debate while it was going on.


And, since we just returned from two trips to Florida, we can’t leave out the St. Petersburg Times nicely put together “keep ‘em honest” site called Politifact.com. It’s a joint venture with Congressional Quarterly, but that doesn’t keep them from having a sense of humor. For instance, they rate the candidates’ assertions as either “true, mostly true, half true, barely true, false, and pants-on-fire.”


All of these fact-checking sites, though, got us to thinking. When a candidate wants to pull the wool over your eyes they don’t always do it with factual errors, misstatements and deceptions.

No, by golly, they can do just as good job of wool pulling with their personality, delivery and charm. And, heck, those other fact checking sites don’t do much to check for personality quirks at all.

Which is why Saturday Night Live may be the best fact-checker of them all.

Now, I know you can watch SNL on some sort of older technology called television. But, I also know it comes on way past my bedtime – and maybe yours, too.

Instead, you can check the Saturday Night Live web site at SaturdayNightLive.com any old time. Go ahead, try it and get a personality fact check on the candidates:


You might even say that unearthing the inauthentic in our candidates’ personalities might just be more important than all the facts in the world.

Nice job, Tina Fey, Jason Sudeikis, Queen Latifa and the rest of the crew at SNL. Your satirical sketches do a great job of checking on the most important facts.

Gosh darn it. Doncha’ kinda’ wish these kinds of sites had been out there checking on those banking and real estate bozos before the economic meltdown?

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