Fox News Fact-checks Sarah Palin

By Zachary Polka    

     Fact-checking is important for journalists as comments made by sources can have inaccuracies and holes.

     At a Wisconsin Right to Life fundraising banquet, Sarah Palin made remarks implying blame on the new Democratic White House for moving the centered text “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency to the outer edge on the redesigned presidential one-dollar coin. She also said the phrase was not on either side.

     “Who calls a shot like that?” Palin said Friday. “Who makes a decision like that?”

     She also said it was an anti-Christian conspiracy and called the movement of the phrase a trend.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/10/fox-news-fact-checks-sara_n_353210.html

     Fox News fact-checked her accusations and found she was wrong blaming our new presidential leadership, and it was President Bush who approved the design in 2005 after the Republican-controlled Congress commissioned the coin’s design.

     During President Bush’s reign as commander and chief, Congress reversed the 2005 decision and put the phrase back on the face of the one-dollar coin.

     Fact checking is a serious matter. Many conflicts can arise from going with a comment and not double-checking, or triple checking, the validity of comments.            

     Sometimes reporters can mistaken the accuracy of comments made by professionals and office-holders because of their ranking as “know-it-alls” in their fields, so can this distort the importance of fact-checking to those who seem to know what they are talking about? The same goes for the average-Joe; they can be seen as knowing what they are talking about based on how they project and explain their answers. Can sounding right be a distorting factor as well, or does this not play a role in fact checking?

    Should reporters check all comments or is it the responsibility of the commenting source to be accurate? Journalist are taught to fact-check everything, but when deadlines are near and the articles need to go to print, what should journalists do if they think something is inaccurate?

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3 responses to “Fox News Fact-checks Sarah Palin

  1. I feel like it’s ultimately the job of the reporter to double- and then triple-check his or her facts, even if it’s from a so-called “reliable” source. We are all human; we all make mistakes. Facts have a way of getting mixed up, so the reporter should always be sure to check these things out before printing a story.

    If it comes to a deadline and if a journalist isn’t sure if something is accurate, the answer seems far too simple–don’t print it. While this may cause the reporter to miss out on a huge lead, this seems better than getting information wrong. As a reporter, facts are our only credibility.

    • I agree with you on this one. It is definitely a reporter’s job to make sure that whatever they are sending out is accurate. I also agree that if there are doubts, don’t publish it. I think this is where assuming can get you into a lot of trouble as a reporter. If you just assume that a source is reliable, and that everything they say is correct, you are eventually going to run into trouble—even if that source is someone you would usually trust.

  2. For someone you’d usually trust and has proven correct and reliable in the past, does than mean they are correct all the time? I mean, their credibility has been proven, so why not trust them, especially for breaking news. If they seem right, doesn’t this mean they are?
    Journalist also lose sight of fact-checking when stories get hot and are new. Every news company wants first coverage on topics, so getting information and getting it fast is key.
    Getting the information and facts correct is important, but what if a quote is slightly off in the paper and the person quoted comes back and says, “I didn’t say it that way”?
    Incidents have happened in the past and readers have blamed newspapers for spinning topics to make them juicier or flaming them to sell more copies.
    Should reporters and editors call the quoted sources and fact-check the quote’s wording?

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