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Truth be told, PolitiFact Rhode Island turns 3!

By Tim Murphy
Published on Friday, July 5th, 2013 at 11:05 a.m.

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.

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