PolitiFact is a project run by the Tampa Bay Times in which journalists from that newspaper and affiliated media fact-check claims and statements made by politicians. It is generally viewed as independent, although it has its detractors on both the left and right. The right, of course, is more critical because PolitiFact often finds the claims of right-wing media to be misleading or false. What else is new? Those in right-wing media have long believed they are entitled to their own set of “facts.” PolitiFact won the Pulitzer Prize, the highest award in journalism, in 2009 for its coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign. I’ll trust its judgment.
So it’s notable if PolitiFact delves into a story and tries to ascertain whether it is, by its scale of judgment, “misleading,” “false” or “pants on fire” inaccurate.
PolitiFact has looked into a story perpetuated by right-wing media in North Dakota — and by that we mean TV host Chris Berg, radio host Scott Hennen and blogger/radio host Rob Port (employed by Forum Communications) — and found it to be false. Whether or not it matters at this point is debatable, because the talking point is showing up regularly now on social media and in letters to the editor, and that is often all that matters in today’s fractured media landscape. It’s hard to pull back a lie that has spread on the Internet.