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Forget the Pulitzer: PolitiFact goes big time with appearance on Colbert Report



Stephen-colbert-report-pundit-religion He hardly got a word in around host Stephen Colbert's artful ribbing about a Sunday politics show daring to check its guests' facts.

But PolitiFact editor Bill Adair still lodged an amazing milestone, joining ABC This Week interim host Jake Tapper on the Colbert Report Wednesday to take a few good natured shots on the partnership which has seen the St. Petersburg Times' factchecking Web site take on the Sunday TV political establishment.

"I don't care about facts; I gut check my show," said Colbert, working his shtick as a playfully warped version of a right wing TV pundit.

"(The Sunday politics shows) are about's two gladiators in one ring," Colbert said moments later. "One can choose the sword of truth but the other can choose the AK-47 of b---sh-t. I'm going with the AK."

PolitiFact's partnership with This Week, in which the site posts items vetting claims made by guests, has drawn its share of attention -- with posts on lots of high profile blogs and a story in the New York Times.

But the Colbert stop marked a new level of cool for the Pulitzer-winning site -- even if Adair only got to note that the first's week's bit of checking unearthed a bit of exaggeration from Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, who incorrectly said no one suggested Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotamayor was out of the mainstream during her confirmation battle. PolitiFact also factchecked Colbert, though the host ran out of time before he could mention it -- see the site's rulings on Colbert's guests here.

Truth-o-meter I prefer the false ruling they gave GOP Sen. John Kyl, who told Tapper "I don't think I said" Republicans would filibuster immigration reform, when he predicted at a town hall April 7 "We will prevent it from coming up through the fillibuster."

Colbert had fun with the idea of a host "ceding" control to somebody else, supporting Meet the Press host David Gregory's stand that viewers can fact check his show. "It is not a Sunday host's job to make sure his guests aren't lying," Colbert cracked. "Any more than it is a party host's job to make sure the food isn't poisoned."

My favorite moment came when Colbert noted that political bigwigs go on all the network shows so they can repeat talking points until they sound true. '(They) drive home ideas through repetition. The more something is repeated -- you repeat it, it's true. If you repeat it, it is true and through repetition, it becomes true...Or do I need to repeat that for you?"

Let's hope PolitiFact's time in the spotlight gets repeated a little more. That's the kind of repetition which might actually illuminate issues instead of confusing them.

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[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:07pm]


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