PolitiFact announced yesterday afternoon that it will soon launch PunditFact, a new site aimed at fact-checking pundits and media figures.

PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website of the Tampa Bay Times, will soon launch PunditFact, a site dedicated to checking claims by pundits, columnists, bloggers and the hosts and guests of talk shows.

PunditFact is being funded by $625,000 in grants over two years from the Ford Foundation and the Democracy Fund. Seed money for the project was provided by craigconnects, the Web-based initiative to support philanthropy and public service run by Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist.

PunditFact is a partnership of PolitiFact and the Poynter Institute, the journalism school that owns the Tampa Bay Times. Poynter will be analyzing the reach and impact of PunditFact and will hold a conference to discuss the results.


“Pundits on TV and radio, as well as bloggers and columnists, are prominent voices in our political discourse, yet sometimes they blur the lines between opinion and fact,” said Neil Brown, editor and vice president of the Times. “Now we will hold them accountable, much as we’ve done with politicians.”

Well, at least Politifact recognizes (sort of) that bloggers can be prominent voices, rather than just those pesky “just a blogger” ilk.

It should be interesting to see what PunditFact produces, given that Politifact’s claims haven’t been without criticism, as Professor Jacobson has written in several previous posts.  (Setting aside that donors like the Ford Foundation have been friendly to left-wing causes).

But then again, Politifact sometimes gets it right.  And like Prof said, “hey, when it works for us, why not use it.”  I have to say, when they do get it right in instances like the aforementioned, it’s delicious entertainment to watch some of the ensuing freakouts.


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