The Most Reliable Fact Checking Websites
In this age of fake news, ‘alternative truth’ and outright lies, sorting fact from fiction has never been more important. While nobody in their right mind has ever believed what the government or any politician says, the current climate makes that even more necessary to search for the truth. Never in the recent history of our country has it been more important to check your own facts.
Here are what I consider reliable fact checking websites you can rely on.
Get your story straight
Having dipped a toe in journalism before shifting to tutorials and tech writing, I have some background in fact checking. Typically, a responsible journalist will corroborate a fact or story with two to three independent sources. The more impartial those sources the better. Of course, not all journalists or writers do this but it is the ideal.
There are three sides to every story. Yours, theirs and the truth. This does not imply that someone is not telling the truth but that we all have different perceptions of what happens around us. Fact checking is essential to eliminate confirmation bias, or any bias from that story. Using multiple sources helps us achieve that. While all writers will have an opinion, good writers separate opinion from fact, or at least clearly signal which is which.
TechJunkie is all about providing impartial and accurate information to everyone. Listing these fact checking websites you can rely on is just a part of that. Each of the sites listed below has a good reputation for delivering the real truth with as little bias as possible. They are about as good as it gets right now.
Fact checking websites you can rely on
Some of these websites cover political topics while others include general knowledge. All of them are as impartial as they can be and where politics is involved, non-partisan.
Wikipedia is a very important fact checking website. Sure, it gets things wrong sometimes but it is edited and maintained by the public. This openness prevents bias as multiple editors will have multiple perspectives and will usually settle on the middle ground. So while you do have to double check the accuracy of what is said, you don’t have to worry about political leanings or bias.
As its name suggests, FactCheck.org is for fact checking. It is run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. It mainly relates to political stories but covers science, social subjects and general interest subjects. It also has a useful Ask a Question section where you can do exactly that.
With a mission stated as ‘to be a consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics’, the site is a good source of facts for verification.
Snopes is run by David Mikkelson and updated regularly. It is another fact checking website that seeks to find the facts behind the fiction and has been credited with busting some dominant myths recently. The site is funded purely from advertising and is not funded by anyone else. The subjects covered are a range of the political, urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors and misinformation-busting facts.
Snopes is highly regarded by other fact checking websites as well as independent sources. It is as good a place as any to find the truth behind the story.
The Sunlight Foundation
The Sunlight Foundation either sounds creepy or happy clappy depending on your perspective. What it is, is another fact checking website that has proven itself reliable. The organization seeks to share knowledge by forcing open and transparent access to government data. They work with other organizations to provide fact checking as well as push their freedom of information agenda.
They are unlikely to succeed in forcing government to be more open, certainly not for the next four years but they do provide the information we need to make good decisions.
PolitiFact is a Pulitzer prize winning website that does its best to debunk the garbage that comes out of Washington. If a politician or a political supporter makes a claim, PolitiFact will check it and rate it as truth or lie illustrated by their ‘Truth-O-Meter’. Run by editors and reporters from the independent Tampa Bay Times, this site has proven itself reliable over many years.
PolitiFact is regarded as one of the most reliable websites on the internet for anything politics and many newspapers and media outlets openly say they check their own facts against it before going to press.
Open Secrets follows the money. We all know that money is power in Washington and Open Secrets traces it wherever it can. Run by the Center for Responsive Politics, the website helps you to see who funds whom and what effect such funding will have on their positions, votes and the overall direction of government.
Used in conjunction with other fact checking websites, Open Secrets can help shed light on the motivations behind decisions and just how much influence lobbyists and big business has over how our country is run.
Washington Post‘s Fact Checker
Washington Post‘s Fact Checker is also a credible source. Run by the Washington Post, this website tries to sort the truth from fiction of political claims. It has a neat Pinocchio system for conveying the claim’s accuracy, the more Pinocchios it has the farther from the truth the claim is.
The summaries are often short but they cut to the chase. Sometimes not all sources are listed either so it is hard to verify where the Post got its own facts from. Used alongside other verification tools, this is a credible source that you can rely on.
When trying to sort out truth from ‘alternative truths’ it is always a good idea to use two or more sources. To be extra sure, find the sources of each to make sure they aren’t all quoting the same source. If three different fact checking websites are all using the same single source, they may all be inaccurate. Sometimes this is unavoidable, especially in politics. In that case, just use your best judgment to decide what to believe.
Got any other fact checking websites you trust? Share them with the community below!