Fact-checking arrives on Australian television
By Peter Fray
Published on Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 6:17 p.m.
The nation’s leading TV news network, Channel Seven, will deliver political fact-checking into the homes of millions of Australians after signing an historic deal with PolitiFact Australia.
PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter ratings will be used by the broadcaster in the lead-up to September’s federal election.
Channel Seven is the first national news network to bring fact-checking into Australian homes.
The network announced the move on Sunday evening in prime-time viewing, highlighting the importance it puts on fact-checking in the upcoming election campaign.
PolitiFact is independent from Channel Seven and will maintain separate staff and management.
Seven will have exclusive broadcast rights over PolitiFact Australia's material.
PolitiFact Australia launched two weeks ago.
It is being run under licence from its Pulitzer-prize winning namesake in the United States. Based in Washington, DC, PolitiFact operates in 10 states and has made over 7,000 fact-checks since it started over six years ago.
Network Director of News for the Seven Network Rob Raschke praised PolitiFact’s "rigour in analysis", independence and the US site’s global reputation.
"We are pleased to be working with the team at PolitiFact," he said. "We acknowledge PolitiFact Australia’s independence and look forward to their analysis on Seven News."
PolitiFact Australia’s Editor-in-Chief Peter Fray said fact-checking would come of age in Australia with Seven’s support.
"We are delighted to have Seven on board with us," he said.
"They are totally professional, totally dedicated to their audience and totally in sync with the need to fact-check what our politicians are telling us.
"They won’t interfere with what we do but they will be bringing Truth-O-Meter rulings into the homes of millions of Australian voters.
"That’s a gutsy thing to do and I applaud their vision and commitment."
Channel Seven expects to begin airing PolitiFact segments over the next week and will continue to do so until the September 14 election.
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PolitiFact Australia wants to help keep our politicians honest. We fact-check the accuracy of claims by elected officials and other influential people in the Australian political debate.
We research and rate statements with our Truth-O-Meter. Its goal is to reflect the relative accuracy of a statement. The meter has six ratings, in decreasing level of truthfulness:
TRUE - The statement is accurate and there's nothing significant missing.
MOSTLY TRUE - The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information.
HALF TRUE - The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.
MOSTLY FALSE - The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.
FALSE - The statement is not accurate.
PANTS ON FIRE - The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.