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.
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?