PolitiFact teams with ABC's This Week to fact check guests
Well, Jake Tapper, the interim host of ABC's Sunday politics show This Week, has taken a step in that direction, enlisting the good folks at the St. Petersburg Times' PolitiFact site to fact check guests and topics on the show.
As PolitiFact editor Bill Adair tells it, no one from the site will appear on camera -- at least, not yet. But Tapper, who jumped on an idea first suggested by New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen, will alert viewers to PolitiFact's work, which will appear both on its Web site and This Week's online area. The site expects to post a couple of items on Sunday and perhaps a couple more in the following days.
"A lot of people think this is overdue -- that the Sunday shows need some accountability," said Adair, who expects to work with another staffer on the items each Sunday, beginning with the next broadcast. "We joked that what we really need is the talk show equivalent of pop up video."
Actually, that's a great idea. Cool as this partnership is, I would love to see the factchecking actually appear on the television show -- either in a segment where Tapper talks about the previous week or in graphic elements which might pop up as the show progresses.
It's an interesting media moment that ABC has essentially outsourced a function like this, enlisting a site which specializes in vetting politicians and political issues rather than doing the work in house. Given that the network news division is in the process of painful downsizing expected to eliminate 25 percent of its staff, such teamups may be the new now at the Alphabet Network.
I also hope this idea survives into the tenure of newly-announced host Christiane Amanpour. The result might cut down on the clips Jon Stewart can use, but it will definitely upgrade the discourse.