PolitiFact Texas branching out in partnership with Houston, San Antonio newspapers

New: The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News have partnered with the Austin American-Statesman, expanding PolitiFact Texas.
New: The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News have partnered with the Austin American-Statesman, expanding PolitiFact Texas.

In a state as big as Texas, there’s no lack of tall tales. And we at PolitiFact Texas have found no shortage of political claims to put to our Texas Truth-O-Meter.

So, we’re branching out and expanding our fact-checking operation to Houston and San Antonio. Starting today, journalists from the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News are joining the PolitiFact Texas project that the Austin American-Statesman began in 2010.

The result will be fresh fact-checking firepower covering more candidates and officeholders just as the 2016 election year takes shape. Those telling tales will have fewer chances to escape scrutiny.

Look for our fact checks here at PolitiFactTexas.com as well as in the print and digital editions of the Chronicle, Express-News and American-Statesman.

Nationally, the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact dates to 2007 when the Tampa Bay Times introduced the Truth-O-Meter, which since has rated the accuracy of more than 10,000 individual statements on a scale from True to Pants on Fire.

PolitiFact Texas was the first state-focused PolitiFact operation. These days, there also are state-based PolitiFact reporters in California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, Rhode Island, Virginia and Wisconsin with more in the pipeline. Meantime, PolitiFact in Washington, D.C., has been joined by PunditFact, which pokes into declarations by pundits.

We do our thing by looking into what what readers wonder about. We also look into questionable claims we spot, say, in a debate, an ad, even a letter to the editor or on a political sign.

Once a reporter drafts a fact check, editors gather to determine the statement’s rating.

They have these options:

  • True – The statement is accurate and there’s nothing significant missing.

  • Mostly True – The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information.

  • Half True – The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.

  • Mostly False – The statement contains some element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.

  • False – The statement is not accurate.

  • Pants on Fire – The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.

Reporters from Houston and San Antonio composed a couple of fact checks we posted this morning. We found True a Democrat’s claim that U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, "tends to have a straight 96 percent straight Republican, straight party voting record." We rated Mostly False a declaration by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas that the Democratic Party is getting smaller and smaller.

Hear something factual that made you wonder? Write us at politifact@statesman.com or catch up with us on Facebook or Twitter.