By Dave Van Zandt – Editor – Media Bias Fact Check
Media Bias Fact Check relies on signatories of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) and those we deem High factual and reasonably low biased. The IFCN sets a code of principles that must be followed to remain a part of the network. You can view their code of principles here. With that said, this is our 2021 list of go-to fact-checkers in order of preference.
- FactCheck.org– is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. They are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. They monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases. Fact Check is similar to Politifact in their coverage, but with less bias, providing excellent details. The only drawback is they lack the simplicity of Politifact.
- Science Feedback- is an IFCN fact checker that consists of two separate websites, Climate Feedback, which reviews climate-related claims, and Health Feedback, which reviews health and medical claims. Each fact-checker holds a Ph.D. and has recently published articles in top-tier peer-reviewed science journals. This is by far the best fact-checker for science-related claims. During 2020, this was the go-to source for debunking Coronavirus misinformation.
- Lead Stories- is a fact-checker and hoax/rumor debunker that uses the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers code of principles to guide all fact-checking. What separates them is using a specific engine called the Trendolizer, which tracks story trends that allow Lead Stories to debunk fake news before it becomes viral quickly. They are often the first to debunk outrageous claims. We like Lead Stories because of their timely fact-checks.
- Politifact– is a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics. PolitiFact is owned by the Poynter Institute, which also operates the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) that sets standards for fact-checkers. Politifact is a signatory of the IFCN and is a great source for checking on political claims. In 2021, they were moved to Left-Center Biased by MBFC based on grading conservatives more harshly than democrats. They have won a Pulitzer Prize and continue to be a go-to fact-checker.
- AFP Fact Check– is an IFCN fact checker from Agence France-Presse (AFP) based in France. The AFP is a large international news agency that has locations around the globe. This allows the AFP to cover diverse fact checks from many different countries. They frequently fact-check fake photos and videos as well. This is the best English language fact-checker for non-USA fact checks.
- Reuters Fact Check- is an IFCN fact checker from the UK-based Reuters. Reuters Fact Checks focuses on social media hoaxes and claims; however, they also cover political statements. Reuters sources their fact checks with credible information.
- The Dispatch Fact Check- is a conservative fact-checker that is also a signatory of the IFCN. Although The Dispatch itself is Right-Center biased, their fact-checks are balanced, well-sourced, and reliable.
- Full Fact- is an independent nonprofit IFCN fact-checker based in the United Kingdom. Their focus is on political claims and misinformation published by the UK media. Essentially, Full Fact is the UK’s Politifact.
- Check Your Fact- is an IFCN fact checker owned by the Daily Caller. While the Daily Caller is not a reliable news organization, Check Your Fact operates independently and adheres to the IFCN principles. Check Your Fact is one of very few right-leaning IFCN fact-checkers. They primarily focus on hoaxes and political statements.
- USA Today Fact Check- is a fact-checking service by the Gannett owned USA Today. While they fact-check both sides fairly, they do tend to fact-check more right-leaning claims. Like the others, they are a part of the IFCN.
- Open Secrets– Open Secrets is a nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, run by the Center for Responsive Politics, the nation’s premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections public policy. Open Secrets is by far the best source for discovering how much and where candidates get their money. They also track lobbying groups and whom they are funding.
- The Sunlight Foundation– The Sunlight Foundation is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses the tools of civic tech, open data, policy analysis, and journalism to make our government and politics more accountable and transparent to all. Sunlight primarily focuses on money’s role in politics.
- Snopes- is the oldest fact-checker on the list. They have been known for many years as a fact-checker for urban legends, hoaxes, and politics. Snopes is no longer a part of the IFCN, but their fact-checks remain solid and can be counted on to be accurate.
- Ballotpedia- Ballotpedia is a nonpartisan online political encyclopedia covering American federal, state, and local politics, elections, and public policy. Ballotpedia’s stated goal is “to inform people about politics by providing accurate and objective information about politics at all levels of government.”
Conclusion– A good fact-checking service will write with neutral wording and provide low biased sources to support their claims. Look for these two simple criteria when hunting for the facts.
Left vs. Right Bias: How we rate the bias of media sources