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Available inEnglish
OwnerAnnenberg Public Policy Center
LaunchedDecember 2003; 19 years ago (2003-12)

FactCheck.org is a nonprofit[1] website that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics by providing original research on misinformation and hoaxes.[2] It is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, and is funded primarily by the Annenberg Foundation.[2]

Kathleen Hall Jamieson's 1993 book Dirty Politics, in which she criticized the presidential campaigns of George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis in 1988, provided the idea for FactCheck.org.[3]

Most of its content consists of rebuttals on inaccurate, misleading, or false claims made by politicians. FactCheck.org has also targeted misinformation from various partisan groups. Other features include:

  • Ask FactCheck:[4] users can ask questions that are usually based on an online rumor.
  • Viral Spiral:[5] a page dedicated to the most popular online myths that the site has debunked. It clarifies the answer as well as links readers to a full article on the subject.
  • Party Lines:[6] talking points that have been repeatedly used by multiple members of a political party.
  • Mailbag:[7] page for readers' sent letters and praise or disapproval of something said on the site.


FactCheck.org was launched in December 2003 by Brooks Jackson, a former Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, and CNN reporter who had covered Washington and national politics since 1970.[8] As a special assignment correspondent at CNN during the 1992 political campaign season, Jackson became well known for his "Ad Police" reports, which monitored candidates' advertising and financing strategies throughout the campaign.[9] He, "has also served on the board of the Center for Public Integrity, a left-leaning investigative journalism nonprofit that receives funding from left-wing hedge fund manager George Soros." [10] In 2003, Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center approached Jackson about forming FactCheck.org,[11] and the site was online in December of that year.

In 2007, UnSpun was published. This book was co-written by Brooks Jackson, the director emeritus of Factcheck.org and by Kathleen Hall Jamieson, the director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. It teaches readers how to be aware of the deceptions, or "spin", that is commonly used in media and by politicians.[12]

In January 2013, Jackson stepped down as director of FactCheck.org. He now holds the title of director emeritus. Eugene Kiely, a former reporter and editor at The Record (of Hackensack, New Jersey), The Philadelphia Inquirer and USA Today, is now the site's director. FactCheck.org employs a staff of four full-time journalists, and offers yearly fellowships to undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania.[13]

In 2019, Factcheck.org celebrated its 15th anniversary.[3]

2004 vice-presidential debate[edit]

FactCheck.org became a focus of political commentary following the 2004 vice-presidential debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards. Cheney cited the website, claiming that the independent site defended his actions while CEO of Halliburton. Cheney's claim was disputed by FactCheck.org as wrong, saying that "Edwards was mostly right" when talking about "Cheney's responsibility for earlier Halliburton troubles".[14]

Cheney's reference created some controversy because he incorrectly cited the web site's address as "FactCheck.com." At the time of the debate, factcheck.com was controlled by Frank Schilling's company Name Administration Inc., who quickly redirected the address to point to an anti-Bush website owned by Bush critic George Soros.[15]

2012 presidential election[edit]

FactCheck.org also became a focus of national attention in the summer of 2012, during the presidential race between incumbent Democrat Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney. The Obama campaign ran a TV ad accusing Romney of involvement in the outsourcing of American jobs overseas by Bain Capital, the venture capital firm that he had founded in 1984.[16] FactCheck.org ruled this ad to be false, claiming that the acts of outsourcing occurred after Romney had left the company to head the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.[17] In response, the Obama campaign contested FactCheck.org's ruling in a six-page letter that was distributed to major news corporations, holding that Romney still retained responsibility for the company's actions.[18]

2016 presidential election[edit]

Since November 2014, FactCheck.org has published twenty-eight pages of articles checking the facts on the many 2016 presidential candidates.[19] As of April 2016, the five remaining candidates had dedicated archives to their fact-checked claims.

In 2016, FactCheck.org became a fact-checking partner of Facebook.[3][20]

The findings of the fact checking process can be seen publicly and have been broken down.[21]

Awards and recognition[edit]

The site has gained recognition and won numerous awards for its contributions to political journalism. In 2004, Time magazine named FactCheck.org as one of the "50 best websites 2004".[22] In 2006, Time magazine named FactCheck.org one of the "25 Sites We Can't Live Without."[23] In 2008, PC Magazine called it one of the "20 Best Political Websites."[24] In 2009, the Association for Women in Communications awarded FactCheck.org the Clarion Awards.[3] In 2010, FactCheck.org won the Delta-Chi-Price of the Society of Professional Journalists.[3]

Between 2008 and 2012, the site won four Webby Awards in the Politics category, in 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012; as well as four People's Voice Awards in Politics, in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012.[25] FactCheck.org also won a 2010 Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for reporting on deceptive claims made about the federal health care legislation.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hartlaub, Peter (October 24, 2004). "Web sites help gauge the veracity of claims; Online resources check ads, rumors". San Francisco Chronicle. p. A1. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "About". FactCheck.org. Archived from the original on June 17, 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e "FactCheck.org: Celebrating 15 years of Holding Politicians Accountable". University of Pennsylvania. February 19, 2019. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  4. ^ http://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/ ; Retrieved on December 9, 2013.
  5. ^ "Don't get spun by internet rumors". www.factcheck.org. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  6. ^ "Party Lines Archives". www.factcheck.org. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  7. ^ "FactCheck Mailbag Archives". www.factcheck.org. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  8. ^ "Is This a Great Job or What?". FactCheck.org. December 5, 2003. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  9. ^ "Brooks Jackson". CNN. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  10. ^ "Factcheck.org media bias". allsides.com. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  11. ^ "UnSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation". The Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania. 2007. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  12. ^ Jackson, B., & Jamieson, K. H. (2007). unSpun: finding facts in a world of disinformation. Random House Digital, Inc.
  13. ^ "About". factcheck.org. Archived from the original on April 20, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  14. ^ "Cheney & Edwards Mangle Facts". Factcheck.org. October 6, 2004. Archived from the original on January 8, 2010. Retrieved January 10, 2010.
  15. ^ Milbank, Dana (October 7, 2004). "Urging Fact-Checking, Cheney Got Site Wrong". Washington Post. p. A08.
  16. ^ "Come and Go". Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  17. ^ "Obama's Outsourcer Overreach". factcheck.org. June 29, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  18. ^ "Obama to FactCheck.org: "Drop Dead"". POLITICO. July 3, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  19. ^ "Presidential Election 2016". www.factcheck.org. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  20. ^ "FactCheck.org exposed Snopes.com as an extremely liberal propaganda site with an agenda to discredit anything that appears to be conservative". PolitiFact. June 7, 2019. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  21. ^ "Presidential Election 2016 Archives". FactCheck.org. Retrieved November 29, 2021.
  22. ^ "50 Best Websites of 2004". Time. August 23, 2004. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  23. ^ "25 Sites We Can't Live Without". Time. August 3, 2006. Archived from the original on August 23, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  24. ^ "The 20 Best Political Web Sites". PC Mag. August 28, 2008. Archived from the original on May 29, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  25. ^ "Politics". The Webby Awards. Archived from the original on April 6, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  26. ^ "2010 Sigma Delta Chi Award Honorees". Society of Professional Journalists. Retrieved April 25, 2013.

External links[edit]