PolitiFact’s Thanksgiving dinner guide to harmony and accuracy | PolitiFact

Published November 27, 2014 by wallacedarwin



Here’s our guide to separating fact from fiction when the conversation gets political on Thanksgiving.

Consider the source.Chain emails. Facebook memes. Viral tweets. Satirical websites. No matter how elaborate or realistic these seem, if they’re shared en masse on the Internet, be skeptical. Of our 292 fact-checks ofmemes, chain emailsand bloggers, almost 75 percent received our False or Pants on Fire ratings, while just 29 were True or Mostly True.

For example, a popular chain email claims President Barack Obama has signed 1,000 executive orders, more than any of his predecessors. Not only has Obama signed nowhere near1,000 executive orders(the updated number is 193), he’s on pace to sign fewer than any two-term president since Teddy Roosevelt.

The point is, if someone at the dinner table starts a sentence with, “I read on the Internet … ” you have pretty good standing to question whatever comes next.

Cable news doesn’t get a pass. While typically more credible than anonymous Internet sources, you shouldn’t always take what talking heads and cable news hosts say as fact either.

PunditFact maintains running scorecards for the leading broadcast and cable news networks based on the accuracy of investigated claims. About 60 percent of claims from Foxpundits were either rated Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire, compared to 43 percent of statements from personalities onMSNBC and NBC. CNNpundits have fared better, with 20 percent of fact-checked statements falling at Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire.

But attempts to discredit the networks, particularly the liberal target Fox News, tend to be pervasive and inaccurate as well.

One meme claimed Fox News is “banned in Canada” for “lying to viewers” in violation of Canadian law. In reality, Fox News has had a presence in our northern neighbor via satellite since 2004, so that claim is rated Pants on Fire. Another Facebook post claimed Fox News “admits they lie” and claims the right to “distort news.” This is False.

If it’s scary, be wary.The recent election saw the return of scare tactics aimed at voters just before they headed to the polls. From “Mediscare” ads targeting grandma and grandpa to fear mongering with Ebola and Islamic State, we heard many claims not worthy of your time and trust.



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