St. Petersburg Times and CQ Launch

New site helps voters uncover the truth in presidential campaign

Aug 27, 2007, 01:00 ET from Congressional Quarterly

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Aug. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The St.
 Petersburg Times of Florida and Congressional Quarterly of Washington, D.C.
 -- two of America's most trusted, independent newsrooms -- are launching a
 unique Web site to help voters separate fact from falsehood in the claims
 made during the 2008 presidential campaign. The official launch date is
 Tuesday, Sept. 4th.
     The site, called, features a "truth-o-meter" that scores
 the truthfulness of specific claims by the presidential candidates. New
 findings will be published every weekday on, and
 sources will be listed for all to see.
     "Each election year, citizens across the country suffer a barrage of
 campaign rhetoric and lament: 'just gimme the truth'," said Neil Brown,
 Executive Editor and Vice President of the St. Petersburg Times. "Now we'll
 have a site that separates fact from fiction."
     Journalists and researchers from the Times and CQ will fact-check the
 accuracy of many speeches, TV ads, interviews and other campaign claims and
     PolitiFact is bolder than previous journalistic fact-checking efforts
 because the editors will make a call, declaring whether a claim is True,
 Mostly True, Half True, Barely True, or False. There is a special category
 for the most ridiculous claims called "Pants on Fire."
     That may seem risky to many editors, but the independence and
 reputation for journalistic excellence of both the St. Petersburg Times and
 Congressional Quarterly make this ambitious effort possible.
     "PolitiFact will offer readers the choice of quick scorecards or longer
 stories explaining the issues and rulings," said Mike Riley, senior vice
 president and editor of CQ Publications. "It will be driven by an extensive
 database that allows users to search for candidates' records of accuracy
 based on their names, issues, or the rulings of the 'truth-o-meter'."
     PolitiFact journalists will also publish an "attack file" -- a home for
 fact-checking the attacks candidates make against each other. In a world of
 political bloggers and "independent" political action committees, attacks
 don't just come from the candidates themselves. So PolitiFact will also
 check out many of the claims that enter the public discourse via a talk
 show host, a blogger, or even a fictional character in a YouTube video.
     PolitiFact's lead writer and editor is Bill Adair, Washington Bureau
 Chief of the Times. He will work under the direction of Times
 government/politics editor Scott Montgomery, himself a CQ veteran. Items
 will be researched and written by more than a dozen members of the
 award-winning staffs of the Times and CQ.
     About the Publishers
     The St. Petersburg Times is Florida's largest newspaper with
 circulation of 324,899 daily and 430,893 Sunday (ABC publisher's statement
 3/31/07). Considered one of the top ten newspapers in the country with six
 Pulitzer Prizes to its name, the Times is one of the nation's last and
 largest independents.
     With more than 130 reporters, editors and researchers covering Capitol
 Hill and Washington, Congressional Quarterly keeps its readers updated in
 print and online on a weekly, daily and real-time basis. CQ's readership
 includes nearly every member of Congress as well as Executive Branch
 officials, leaders in business and associations, top academic institutions
 and important media outlets.
     Both CQ and the Times are affiliates of the Times Publishing Company,
 which is owned by the Poynter Institute, a center for journalism education.

SOURCE Congressional Quarterly