- Overall, we rate Politifact Left-Center Biased based on fact checks that tend to be more favorable for the left. We also rate them High for factual reporting and a credible fact-checker that is not without bias.
Bias Rating: LEFT-CENTER
Factual Reporting: HIGH
Country: USA (45/180 Press Freedom)
Media Type: Website
Traffic/Popularity: High Traffic
MBFC Credibility Rating: HIGH CREDIBILITY
Founded in 2007 by the Tampa Bay Times, PolitiFact.com utilizes reporters and editors from the Times and affiliated media outlets to “fact-check statements by members of Congress, the White House, lobbyists, and interest groups.” They publish original statements and their evaluations on the PolitiFact.com website and assign each a “Truth-O-Meter” rating. The ratings range from “True” for completely accurate statements to “Pants on Fire” (from the taunt “Liar, liar, pants on fire”) for false and ridiculous claims. In 2018, Politifact became affiliated with the Poynter Institute.
Funded by / Ownership
According to their about page, “In 2018, PolitiFact was acquired by the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit school for journalists. While PolitiFact relies on administrative support from the Poynter Institute, it is otherwise financially self-sustaining. PolitiFact receives support from online advertising, as well as revenue generated through content partnerships and from grants.”
In review, Politifact has been called left-biased by some right-leaning sources. In fact, there is a conservative source called Politifact Bias that is dedicated to pointing out Politifact’s biases. Politifact is also a signatory of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), which outlines a code of principles for credible fact-checkers.
Politifact uses minimally loaded language in their articles and headlines such as this: Trump falsely claims NATO countries owe United States money for defense spending. They source information from credible media and/or direct statements from experts in the field or the politicians themselves. Despite Democrats currently controlling all branches of government, fact-checks continue to favor the left.
Editorially, Politifact does not directly produce op-eds; however, many fact-checks attempt to rationalize statements rather than stating directly if the statement was said and if it is true. For example, they fact-checked this statement by Republican Ted Cruz: “You didn’t see Republicans when we had control of the Senate try to rig the game. You didn’t see us try to pack the court.” Politifact rated this claim false, and on many levels, it is false.
The Republicans clearly denied Democratic appointee Merrick Garland’s confirmation in 2016 and clearly rushed conservative Amy Coney Barrett through while they still had control of the Senate. They clearly tried to rig the game. However, it is not true that they tried to pack the court in the way Democrats are currently proposing. The Democrats are proposing adding four more seats to give them a majority over the court. The Republicans did not do this. They packed the court in a much different way. The claim should be rated mostly false or half true.
In reviewing Politifact for over 10 years now and using them as a primary fact-checking source for this website, we have seen this trend of rating Republicans more harshly on numerous occasions. This update moves Politifact to Left-Center Biased based on this reasoning.
Failed Fact Checks
- None to date. They are certified fact-checker.
Overall, we rate Politifact Left-Center Biased based on fact checks that tend to be more favorable for the left. We also rate them High for factual reporting and a credible fact-checker that is not without bias. (7/10/2016) Updated (D. Van Zandt (4/28/2021)