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Check!

By Jesse Taylor
Thursday, June 12, 2008 12:57 EDT
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Via Instaputz (read more Instaputz!), Chuck Todd:

I think the media will start their candidate fact-checking in the weeks ahead… i think there just hasn’t been a focus on this right now as we’ve had to cover the Clinton end game and the general election launch. I suspect these candidate fact checking stories to pop up a lot in July.

This brings up one of my consistent pet peeves about political coverage – why are fact checking stories always so “special”, and why do they require such a ramp up of previously unconsidered proportions?

Every major American media source I’ve seen goes fucking gonzo over their own ability to look up information like a congressional voting record or an old New York Times story from all the way back in 2006. You get special sections of the paper/site/show to fact check, with new graphics, “dedicated” reporters (who appear to work on this about once every ten days or so) and, the best part, straight reporting that never, ever touches on what the fact checks say unless it becomes conventional wisdom. That straight reporting also never, ever tries to do fact checking itself, instead leaving it to the campaigns to charge and countercharge.

The Washington Post has its own sporadic fact checker, Michael Dobbs, who runs a blog called “The Fact Checker”. It is, of course, not important enough to make it into the actual pages of the paper as actual stories, but it’s most certainly going to be promoted to the moon once you need someplace to run to get “the straight talk” (or whatever asinine catchphrase they come up with) days after a candidate lies on the stump.

When you have to make a special production about your willingness to fulfill a basic part of your job description, that’s when you really need reconsider your profession.

Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor is an attorney and blogger from the great state of Ohio. He founded Pandagon in July, 2002, and has also served on the campaign and in the administration of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He focuses on politics, race, law and pop culture, as well as the odd personal digression when the mood strikes.
 
 
 
 
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