PolitiFact on Vice

PolitiFact was recently featured on Vice News. The report looked at how we fact-check on debate nights.

C-SPAN’s ‘Washington Journal’ and fact-checking the 2016 presidential debates

I went on C-SPAN to discuss PolitiFact’s fact-checking of the 2016 presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

A fact-checker’s advice for debate moderators

I wrote this column for PolitiFact reflecting on what I’ve seen fact-checking debates since 2007.

Do you yell at the TV when you see an interviewer letting a politician get away with spinning the truth? I know I do. But let’s admit the reality: Questioning candidates on live TV is harder than it looks. And moderating a presidential debate is probably the hardest.

Just look at the typical criticism of debate moderators. They ask dumb questions. They ask inside-baseball questions. The questions are too tough. The questions are too soft. They don’t follow up. They flog a pointless line of questioning.

This will be my third time fact-checking presidential debates, and while criticizing the moderators is common, I’ve seen a few things that make a difference between good moderating and lousy moderating. MORE ...

Q and A with Lucas Graves, author of ‘Deciding What’s True’

Here’s a link to my interview with Lucas Graves, a professor at the University of Wisconsin and author of the book, Deciding What’s True: The Rise of Political Fact-Checking in American Journalism. We talked about how fact-checking works, fact-checking presidential debates and reform movements in journalism.

Holan: Let’s talk about the big question first. Why does fact-checking matter?

Graves: Fact-checking matters in a few different ways. The most important one for me is that it represents a new kind of commitment from journalists to try to pierce political rhetoric and hold politicians accountable. It’s a cultural shift in journalism. MORE …

C-SPAN’s ‘Washington Journal’ and Fact-checking

I appeared recently on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal to discuss the 2016 election and how PolitiFact does its work.

Fact-checking TV ads in a post-truth election

The Internet Archive combined forces with fact-checkers like PolitiFact this year to collect, archive and fact-check television ads of the 2016 election cycle. Nancy Watzman of the Internet Archive and I joined together to write this column for USA Today about our insights on the project.

As sure as night follows day, we are in for a torrent of political ads in the next 14 weeks. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump already are running general-election spots, and Senate and House campaigns will generate their own deluge as the two parties battle for control of Congress. These ads are often the main point of communication between candidates and voters. Most of them are designed to catch people’s attention with simple and striking messages. And most of them have a tortured relationship with the truth — bending, stretching, or all-out contradicting the facts. MORE …

What do fact-checkers around the world have in common?

I wrote a column about the recent third annual Global Summit on Fact-checking in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Much of the discussion there focused on best practices for fact-checking.  My column explored five fundamental principles we all could share.

From Canada to Colombia, from Spain to South Africa, fact-checking is now spreading around the globe. In June, international fact-checkers gathered in Buenos Aires to compare notes on how we investigate claims, weigh evidence and publish our findings.

Those of us who gathered at the Global Summit on Fact-checking are a diverse lot. Some of us are journalists, as we are at PolitiFact. Others are researchers and writers who work for nonprofits. Still others consider themselves civic activists, agitating under repressive regimes to get truthful facts to the public.

While our identities are sometimes different, our work is usually the same: Credible, accurate information backed up with sources and evidence. MORE …

PolitiFact in Buenos Aires 


The PolitiFact team recently visited Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the third annual Global Summit on Fact-checking. I’ll be posting more on this soon, but in the meantime here is a photo of some of us with street art in the city. 

New Orleans-style carrot cake

My Louisiana grandmother would make a delicious carrot cake for our birthdays that I’ve come to think of as the quintessential New Orleans-style carrot cake. Its distinguishing features: 

  • No raisins;
  • Square cake;
  • Chopped pecans mixed into the cream cheese frosting.

The ingredients of the frosting are cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar and pecans. That’s it!

Here’s a photo of this cake, which is very dear to my heart. 

Mason jar salad

I’ve been on a mason jar salad kick and this is my best-looking one yet. Tomatoes, shallots, mushrooms, ginger dressing, pasta, salmon and salad.