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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Follow PolitiFact Florida

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If you hear something from a politician that you're curious about or has you wondering, send us an e-mail at Florida@PolitiFact.com. Who knows --- your suggestion might just become our next Truth-O-Meter item.

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And because we get lots of questions about how the Truth-O-Meter works, here's a little explainer. This is also available at http://www.politifact.com/florida/about/

How the Truth-O-Meter works

The heart of PolitiFact Florida is the Truth-O-Meter, which we use to rate the candidates’ claims and attacks.

The Truth-O-Meter is based on the concept that – especially in politics – truth is not black and white. Depending on how much information a candidate provides, a statement can be half true or barely true without being false.

PolitiFact Florida writers and editors spend considerable time deliberating on our rulings. We always try to get the original statement in its full context rather than an edited form that appeared in news stories. When possible, we go to original sources to verify the claims. We look for original government reports rather than news stories. We interview impartial experts.

We then decide which of our six rulings should apply:

TRUE – The statement is accurate and there’s nothing significant missing.

MOSTLY TRUE – The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information.

HALF TRUE – The statement is accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.

BARELY TRUE – The statement contains some element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.

FALSE – The statement is not accurate.

PANTS ON FIRE – The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:24pm]

    

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