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Separating Political Truth from Spin (or Worse)

The St. Petersburg Times and its corporate cousin Congressional Quarterly are going to test politicians’ statements for, um, truth.

So in a move rare for a news organization, we’re dedicating a team of reporters and researchers to meticulously examine the rhetoric of candidates and their partisans, and then make a call: Is the claim true or not? You might think such work would be standard journalistic fare. But many news organizations can spend less money and get less grief if their political reporting sticks to stenography and puffery.

This project could use some help — from the audience. But the publications are going it alone, preferring to do it the old-fashioned way. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but imagine what they could do with thousands of eyes, not a few, on the subject.

UPDATE: It turns out that there’s interest from the publications in getting audience participation, based on the comment discussion on Matt Waite’s blog (he’s a developer of this project). Let’s see what happens.

1 Comment on “Separating Political Truth from Spin (or Worse)”

  1. #1 James Morris
    on Sep 7th, 2007 at 9:17 am

    What a concept!

    One thing that could be done is to use some computer and human intelligence to trace the provenance of stories and ideas. How many things we see on blogs are original, or at least derived, ideas, and how many are planned echos?

    I put this idea on