Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Truth be told, PolitiFact Rhode Island turns 3!

We're celebrating our 3rd birthday.
We're celebrating our 3rd birthday.

We were so busy in the last few weeks monitoring the end of the General Assembly session, we forgot to celebrate an important birthday -- ours.

On June 25, 2010, the Providence Journal joined the PolitiFact family, issuing our first of nearly 350 Truth-O-Meter rulings.

In the three years since then, PolitiFact has become a fixture on Rhode Island’s political scene. For many Rhode Island politicians, it has also become a verb, as in: "I better watch what I say. I might get PolitiFacted."

Nonetheless, people who should know better continue to make enough dubious claims to keep the Truth-O-Meter spinning.

There have been some changes since The Journal became the third statewide news organization to partner with PolitiFact, a national fact-checking operation founded in 2008 by the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times.)

There now are nine other states with PolitiFact operations: Florida, Texas, Georgia, Ohio, Wisconsin, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Oregon and Virginia.

And Bill Adair, the creator of PolitiFact, has moved on to a teaching position at Duke University.

But our mission hasn’t changed -- helping our readers separate fact from fiction in public discourse. If anything, it has become even more important in a media world where claims, counterclaims and supposed "facts" are blogged, tweeted and re-tweeted around the world in nano-seconds.

We hope we have been of service to our readers -- and to the politicians, who may curse us one day and cite our rulings the next when it suits their interests.

For the record, we have published a total of 347 PolitiFact rulings since we launched. The scorecard: True: 66. Mostly True: 50. Half True: 61. Mostly False: 47. False: 77. Pants on Fire: 46.

We’d love to hear from you as we celebrate our birthday. Some of our best items have been inspired by questions from readers.

If you have a claim you’d like us to check, or just want to say your piece, pro or con, e-mail us at politifact@providencejournal.com. And follow us on Twitter: @politifactri.