In this case, the Post succeeded in its goal of “laying out the claims and facts clearly,” but the addition of that “ready-made term” arguably confused what was an otherwise solid analysis by the Post. We’ve written before at The Swing States Project about the challenges of “the standard lingo of the factchecking industry, which generally tries to sort out true and false claims, and labels the most outrageous assertions as lies, if only idiomatically” and “the difficulty [factcheckers] face in pushing back at political rhetoric that’s irresponsible or unfounded, but not demonstrably false.” Swing States Project’s Nevada correspondent, Jay Jones, wrote those words while praising the Las Vegas Sun’s use of a “fairness” meter (rather than a “truth” meter) in its factchecking feature. Perhaps more outlets should adopt the approach.

While KUSA, here, calls its work a “TRUTH TEST,” what it actually tells its audience—clearly, helpfully—is where and how Coffman’s ad is unfair.

Related stories:

”How ‘half-true’ happens”

”Another factchecking fiasco”

“What the factcheckers get wrong”


 

Mary Winter has worked for seven newspapers, most recently the Denver Post, and was assistant managing editor at PoliticsDaily.com. She spent the bulk of her career at the Rocky Mountain News, first in features and later managing the legislative and state government teams. In 2008, she oversaw delegate coverage at the Democratic National Convention for the paper. She wrote a weekly column for the News for 10 years.