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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Help Politifact police the pundits: suggest facts to check from the O'Reillys and Olbermanns of the world

17

June

Oreilly-desk This may come as a bit of a surprise, but there are times when pundits don't tell the whole truth on these cable TV news shows.

For example, Fox News blowhard Bill O'Reilly is telling a falsehood when saying he never called murdered abortion doctor George Tiller a baby killer, but simply reported what others called him. (Fact: he used the term 24 times in the past four years.)

And Joe Scarborough's claim that President Barack Obama has never received a paycheck from a profitmaking business in his life ignores the president's income from his two books, along with his work for a Chicago law firm and in construction, among other gigs. Rachel Maddow got it wrong when she suggested Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin led the call for the state's Democratic senator to resign.

Pantsonfirepolitifact Fortunately, the St. Petersburg Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking Web site, PolitiFact, is ready to help. Along with analyzing progress on more than 500 promises made by President Obama during the campaign, PolitiFact is now taking a closer look at the arguments made by pundits on political TV and radio talk shows.

But they would like your help.

So send them claims you would like to see vetted. E-mail to truthometer@politifact.com. You can see some of the claims they've vetted already by clicking here, from confirming George Will's assertion that $325-billion spent in the toxic assets program hasn't been used to acquire toxic assets, to debunking Rush Limbaugh's claim that every speech George Washington gave references God.

It's hard to know how well this may be received by fans, who seem mostly to watch pundits telling them what they want to hear. But I admire PolitiFact for trying to bring a little sense and accountability to an increasingly hysterical arena.

 Time to start holding some of our broadcasters to the same standard we hold our politicians.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:59pm]

    

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