by CCJ Staff
"Comment is free, but facts are sacred."
C.P. Scott, editor, Manchester Guardian, 1921
With those words, the Washington Post launched The Fact Checker this political season to ferret out statements and claims that are "at variance with the facts."
The Fact Checker differs from similar sites like the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, www.factcheck.org, and the St. Petersburg Times, www.politifact.com, in that it relies on readers to nominate statements by political candidates, interest groups, and the media for fact-checking.
The Post applies "The Pinocchio Test" to its results:
One Pinocchio: Some shading of the facts. Selective telling of the truth. Some omissions and exaggerations, but no outright falsehoods.
Two Pinocchios: Significant omissions and/or exaggerations. Some factual error may be involved but not necessarily. A politician can create a false, misleading impression by playing with words and using legalistic language that means little to ordinary people.
Three Pinocchios: Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.
Four Pinocchios: Whoppers.
The Geppetto Checkmark: Statements and claims that contain "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" will be recognized with our prized Geppetto checkmark.