When you really need a 4-Letter Word in Politics

by Michael Benidt on October 8, 2008

When current political campaigns make you want to curse, it’s good to remember a choice 4-letter word – at least when it comes to keeping tabs on the issues and candidates. What 4-letter word, you ask?

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In our previous blog article we wrote about the best political fact checking sites on the Internet (Just the Fact Checker, Ma’am).

These nonpartisan (and mostly fair) web sites are great, but who has time to wade through them to find the specific information you need? Instead of wasting your time wandering around the site, use Google (or Yahoo, Live or Ask) to get what you’re looking for in a snap.

Site is a 4-letter Word

Here’s how you do it. Type the following into the search box – using the 4-letter word site:

“bridge to nowhere” site:www.factchecker.org

Hey, you! Don’t just sit there – go to Google and type it in! You’ll see that you get 20 results where the exact phrase “bridge to nowhere” is mentioned on the FactCheck.org site:

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Now, you might say, why not just use the search box provided on the web site itself? Give it a try.

When you use the same search phrase, “bridge to nowhere,” you only get 8 results from the FactCheck.org site. And, the recent highlighted article in the Google search above, “The Whoppers of 2008” does not appear.

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Homework

Go ahead and give this a try by using different phrases you are interested in and trying them out on the sites we profiled in Just the Fact Checker, Ma’am.

One more example for the road:

ayers site:www.politifact.com

This search shows that the topic of William Ayers has been out there for a long time, but you’ll also notice that unlike FactCheck.org, Politifact is using Google as it’s internal search tool.

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We were reminded of our own search tip when we couldn’t find Saturday Night Live’s spoof of the Katie Couric/Sarah Palin interview. So, instead of wandering around the SNL web site trying to find the video – we took our own advice and did a Google search like this:

couric video site:www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/

The video was the very first result – Tina Fey playing the role of Sarah Palin.

The bottom line? When it comes to the campaigns, there really are some very nice 4-letter words. Try using one. Your mother will be proud of you.

Editor’s Note: For more background on this topic, we’ve also written about how to use search engines to search just one site at a time by using the word site: in “The Search Power of a 4-Letter Word.”)

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