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Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact Executive Director

Aaron Sharockman

Aaron Sharockman is the executive director of PolitiFact. Aaron oversees PolitiFact's operations, development and revenue, assists in our journalistic mission, manages our state partnerships and lead efforts to develop new products for PolitiFact users. He also helps coordinate some of our special products, including our debate coverage and our media appearances. Aaron has been with PolitiFact since 2010 and served most recently as the editor of PunditFact, a website dedicated to checking claims by pundits, columnists, bloggers and the hosts and guests of talk shows.

Phone: (727) 892-2273

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @ASharock

Blog: PunditFact

  1. Testing the truth from the back of a scooter in Morocco


    MARRAKECH, Morocco

    The driver holds a sign that says "Riad Lamzai."

    But I thought I was staying at the Riad Lamzia? It's about 1 a.m. outside the airport on a summer night in Morocco — which means it's more pleasant than a summer night in St. Petersburg.

    Without asking for my name, the driver assures me that I am in the right place. And so I hop in the front seat of his SUV....

    Market stalls in Marrakech sell herbs and spices, scarves and towels, straw hats and other goods.
  2. PolitiFact: The power of fact-checking in a post-truth world


    Here's a quick test: Think about how Donald Trump announced he was running for president. Now, do the same for Hillary Clinton.

    I think most of you probably got one but not the other. We remember Trump and his wife Melania gliding down the Trump Tower escalator in June 2015. And we remember some of the things Trump said that day.

    "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you," Trump said. "They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."...

    Developer Donald Trump displays a copy of his net worth during his announcement that he will seek the Republican nomination for president, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
  3. The post-truth election? Comparing 2016 to past elections on PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter


    We've seen the stories that 2016 will go down as the post-truth or post-fact election. But is that true?

    PolitiFact has been fact-checking the presidential candidates since 2007, and through July 2016, we have amassed a library of more than 950 fact-checks of the major party presidential nominees....

  4. PolitiFact: The truth (so far) behind the 2016 campaign


    On March 23, 2015, in a college auditorium in Virginia, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz became the first major candidate to announce his campaign for president.

    From then until now — a span of 465 days — PolitiFact has been watching the candidates and fact-checking their claims. Through June 29, we have published 650 fact-checks of the presidential candidates on our Truth-O-Meter....

  5. Tampa Bay Times wins Pulitzer Prizes in local and investigative reporting


    The Tampa Bay Times won two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday for investigations that exposed rampant indifference and inequity in five predominantly African-American Pinellas County schools and neglect in Florida's state-run mental health system.

    Reporters Cara Fitzpatrick, 35, Lisa Gartner, 28, and Michael LaForgia, 32, won the Pulitzer award for local reporting. Combining data and powerful narrative accounts, the reporters detailed how the Pinellas County School Board's 2007 decision to abandon integration followed by years of neglect turned five once-average St. Petersburg schools into some of the worst in the state of Florida....

    Lisa Gartner hugs Leonora LaPeter Anton in the Tampa Bay Times newsroom in St. Petersburg on Monday after it was announced that their work had won Pulitzer Prizes.
  6. PolitiFact Florida: Trump attack inaccurately implies Rubio traded auto insurance vote for house sale

    State Roundup

    Billionaire Donald Trump likes to talk about his money-making prowess, but lately, he's taken to the airwaves to imply GOP presidential primary rival Marco Rubio has cut deals of his own as a Florida lawmaker.

    In an ad we first saw March 7, Trump's campaign said Rubio had a history of shady shenanigans as Florida's House speaker. The commercial included a dig about Rubio suspiciously changing his stance on an issue after money changed hands....

    In an ad we first saw on March 7, Donald Trump's campaign said Marco Rubio had a history of shady shenanigans as Florida's House speaker. [Getty Images]
  7. Fact-checking the Republican presidential debate

    State Roundup

    Trailing in the polls, Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz took turns Thursday hammering at billionaire Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump at the CNN debate in Houston.

    Rubio repeatedly brought up the downsides of Trump's business record: starting a "fake university," declaring bankruptcy four times and employing undocumented immigrants to work on Trump projects.

    "He hired workers from Poland, and he had to pay a million dollars or so in a judgment," Rubio said. "That's a fact. People can look it up. I'm sure people are Googling it right now, 'Trump Polish workers.' You'll see $1 million for hiring illegal workers on one of his projects. He did."...

    Republican presidential candidates, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz during the Republican presidential debate at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston on February 25, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Michael Ciaglo-Pool/Getty Images)
  8. PolitiFact: Fact-checking claims about rising Obamacare premiums


    New polls that show Ben Carson leading Donald Trump in Iowa have put Trump on the defensive in recent days, subtly questioning Carson's Seventh-day Adventist religion and Carson's energy to lead the country.

    On ABC This Week Sunday, Trump described comments over the weekend that he doesn't "know about" Seventh-day Adventists as a statement of unfamiliarity and not criticism.

    "I know nothing about it, really. I'm a Presbyterian and I had mentioned that, and I did say I don't know about it. And in fact, those are my exact words," Trump said. "So I just really don't know about the Seventh-day Adventists."...

    Donald Trump called Obamacare a disaster of a law that needs to be repealed. [AP photo]
  9. PolitiFact and Scripps launch partnerships in Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Ohio


    PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter is coming to Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Ohio.

    PolitiFact and the E.W. Scripps Co. are partnering to provide local fact-checking in four key 2016 battleground states.

    Scripps television affiliates in Ohio (WEWS in Cleveland and WCPO in Cincinnati), Colorado (KMGH in Denver), Arizona (KNXV in Phoenix and KGUN in Tucson) and Nevada (KTNV in Las Vegas) will create PolitiFact websites to hold state and local politicians accountable....

  10. PolitiFact: Fact-checking the Sunday shows, claims about the race for House speaker


    Some of the most conservative members of the U.S. House are being criticized for hijacking the election of John Boehner's replacement as House speaker.

    But are some congressional Republicans going as far as to call for members of the Freedom Caucus to be kicked out of the party?

    That's a claim one member of the Freedom Caucus, Rep. Dave Brat of Virginia, made Sunday on Meet the Press. Brat was debating who the next speaker should be with Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania. ...

    Seventh district Congressional candidate, Republican Dave talks during a tour of Farmer Machine Corp. in Ashland, Va., Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. Brat received the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
  11. PolitiFact: Fact-checking the GOP debate


    Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina seized her moment on stage at the second Republican debate, launching a passionate attack against Democratic policies on abortion and Planned Parenthood.

    Fiorina said defunding Planned Parenthood should be a priority since videos about fetal tissue procurement have been publicized.

    "I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes," she said at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Wednesday night. "Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, 'We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.' This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us."...

    Donald Trump and Jeb Bush interact during the Republican candidates' debate, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., on Wednesday. Looking on are Ben Carson, left, and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, right. (Max Whittaker/The New York Times)
  12. PolitiFact: 17 candidates, 2 debates, 1 Donald Trump and plenty to fact-check


    Seventeen candidates, five moderators, two debates, one Donald Trump. All of it kept the fact-checkers busy Thursday.

    Let's start with Trump.

    Early in the prime time Republican presidential debate, Fox News moderator Chris Wallace pressed Trump on some of his past statements about undocumented immigration — the signature issue of Trump's campaign.

    Wallace asked Trump, "What evidence do you have, specific evidence, that the Mexican government is sending criminals across the border?"...

    Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Ben Carson, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Donald Trump participate in the first prime-time presidential debate hosted by FOX News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio. [Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]
  13. In Mostar, a bridge spans war and peace


    MOSTAR, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    The scars of war remain around every corner in this tranquil river valley town, though they can be easy to miss amid the sea of camera-carrying tourists.

    The European waiter who says he hasn't been on a train in 25 years. The "I (heart) Mostar" mural trying, and failing, to cover up bullet holes on a concrete wall. The manicured hillside graveyard with the rows of white marble tombstones that nearly all read 1993. ...

    In Mostar, a small city nearly three hours by train from Sarajevo, the main attraction is the Old Bridge, where boys jump off — and into the icy cold Neretva — to prove they’re men.
  14. PunditFact: Abortion-funding measure holds up AG confirmation vote


    A clause about abortion funding in an otherwise noncontroversial sex trafficking bill has stopped the Senate from voting to confirm Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama's nominee for attorney general.

    On Fox News Sunday, liberal Juan Williams and conservative Karl Rove debated who's to blame.

    Here's the relevant part of the back-and-forth between Williams and Rove. Rove claimed that Republicans are simply trying to extend a prohibition against using federal funding for most abortions that has been in place for nearly 40 years....

    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 08:  Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at the National Action Network (NAN) national convention on April 8, 2015 in New York City. Reverend Al Sharpton founded NAN in 1991; the convention hosted various politicians, organizers and religious leaders to talk about the nation's most pressing issues.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images) 547088945
  15. PunditFact: Indiana governor says Obama once voted for 'very same' religious freedom bill (w/video)


    At least five times Sunday, ABC This Week host George Stephanopoulos asked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence a variant on a simple question about Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act: "If a florist in Indiana refuses to serve a gay couple at their wedding, is that legal now in Indiana?"

    And at least five times, Pence would not answer.

    Instead, the first-term Republican governor defended Indiana's new and controversial law as providing a legal framework if government infringes on someone's freedom of religion. He also noted that the very same law has been supported by Democrats in other places, including President Barack Obama....

    Thousands of opponents of Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act gathered on the lawn of the Indiana State House to rally against that legislation Saturday.