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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: asharockman@tampabay.com

Twitter: @ASharock

Blog: PunditFact

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

    News

    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....

    Leonora LaPeter Anton is applauded by Times chairman and CEO Paul Tash after it was announced that her work was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
  2. 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]
  3. 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)
  4. PolitiFact: Fact-checking claims about rising Obamacare premiums

    Politics

    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."...

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is not a big fan of Obamacare. “It’s a disaster,” he said Sunday.
  5. PolitiFact and Scripps launch partnerships in Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Ohio

    National

    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....

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

    Politics

    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. ...

    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 06: Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz attends the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 6, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The annual benefit raises critical funds for MusiCares' Emergency Financial Assistance and Addiction Recovery programs. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) 531541791
  7. PolitiFact: Fact-checking the GOP debate

    National

    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."...

    From right: Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Donald Trump and other candidates take the stage for the Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., on Wednesday.  (Monica Almeida/The New York Times)
  8. PolitiFact: 17 candidates, 2 debates, 1 Donald Trump and plenty to fact-check

    National

    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 New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, from left, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Ben Carson (back to camera) and Jeb Bush visit during a commercial break in Thursday’s debate at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
  9. In Mostar, a bridge spans war and peace

    Travel

    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.
  10. PunditFact: Abortion-funding measure holds up AG confirmation vote

    Politics

    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....

    FILE - In this April 12, 2011 file photo, Karl Rove, former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor to President George W. Bush, leads a panel discussion, The Politics And Policy Of Growth, at The 4% Project, Driving Economic Growth conference at SMU, in Dallas. The on-air spectacle of Fox News analyst Karl Rove publicly questioning his network's call of the election for Barack Obama happened because Rove and Fox's decision desk both had pieces to a puzzle that the other wasn't aware of, a network executive said Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File) CAPH587
  11. PunditFact: Indiana governor says Obama once voted for 'very same' religious freedom bill (w/video)

    News

    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....

    Gov. Mike Pence says the law isn’t about sexual orientation.
  12. PunditFact: Netanyahu changed course on two-state solution

    Politics

    Did Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flip-flop on the creation of a Palestinian state as part of a peace deal in the Middle East to help secure re-election?

    That's at least the suggestion floating around in the days after Netanyahu's Likud Party won enough seats to retain coalition control of Israel's government.

    "On the final day of his re-election campaign, Benjamin Netanyahu said that as long as he serves as prime minister of Israel, there will not be an independent Palestinian nation," read the top line of a Washington Post news report....

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets supporters at the party’s election headquarters March 18 in Tel Aviv. Before the elections, Israel had already become a source of division, rather than unity, for American Jews, who bitterly debated the ever-expanding Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories and the acceptable boundaries of dissent from Israeli policies. The outcome of the Israeli election will only deepen that polarization, experts say. Netanyahu’s anti-Arab campaign rhetoric and his rejection of a Palestinian state, they say, will further splinter American Jews into hard left and right camps, and intensify conflicts over what it means to be loyal to the Jewish state.
  13. PolitiFact: Fact-checking a defense of Hillary Clinton's private email use

    Politics

    People defending Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday over revelations that she used a private email account as secretary of state offered a novel piece of evidence to bolster their argument.

    While the State Department has asked all previous secretaries to turn over their private emails, only Clinton has complied, they claimed. "The State Department asked all secretaries of state to send their emails over, and she's the only one who's done it," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said on CBS' Face the Nation....

    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 24:  Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) (C) talks with reporters after a news conference about the possible shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security at the U.S. Capitol February 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. Democrats have successfully blocked the $39.7 billion funding legislation because it would also strip away the executive actions in which President Barack Obama eased the deportation threat for several million undocumented immigrants. If Republicans and Democrats can not work around the impasse then 30,000 DHS employees will go home February 28 and 200,000 more will work without paychecks until a solution is found.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) 539693291
  14. PolitiFact: Fact-checking House Speaker John Boehner's numbers on President Obama's actions

    National

    House Republican leaders fanned out across the Sunday shows to defend their attempts to overturn President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration through a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security.

    The group came armed with the same talking point and a very specific claim.

    "The president chose to use an authority that he said 22 separate times that he didn't have the authority to do," Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told Meet the Press' Chuck Todd....

    House Speaker John Boehner says President Barack Obama said 22 times that he couldn’t take executive action on immigration, and that he made “unilateral changes” to Obamacare 38 times.
  15. Perspective: Without PunditFact, pundits stand uncorrected

    Perspective

    WASHINGTON

    The staff of PunditFact flipped the script last week at the National Press Club. Instead of fact-checking pundits, we hosted a roundtable of talking heads to discuss how they operate on television, and how we affect (or don't affect) their lives.

    Pundits punditing about PunditFact.

    "I thought that was a brilliant idea when I first read about PunditFact. I thought that's great, we really need that," said Kathleen Parker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and Meet the Press regular. ...

    Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute moderates a PunditFact.com panel discussion at the National Press Club on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. From left to right, Tompkins, syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, Jackie Kucinich, senior politics editor for the Daily Beast, and Donna Brazile, CNN/ABC contributor and longtime political strategist. National Press Club event for PunditFact.