Tips and tricks for using PolitiFact
By Bill Adair
Published on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008 at 6:34 p.m.
SUMMARY: In the final hours before election day, we provide some tips and tricks on how to find what you want on PolitiFact.
We checked our database the other day and discovered we have reached another milestone — our 750th Truth-O-Meter item.
That's a remarkable number, but it can be a little daunting if you are trying to find the item we wrote about John McCain's management skills or Barack Obama's airplane . So we thought it might be helpful to give you a few tips on browsing the site and finding what you're looking for.
• Our favorite trick — Browsing all the attacks against a particular candidate. This is especially relevant because so much of the campaign narrative has involved attacks. It's an interesting way to review the campaign because you see how many attacks have been wrong. So take a look at the attacks against McCain and against Obama .
• Check a candidate's report card — Our candidate pages (not just Obama and McCain , but Joe Biden and Sarah Palin also have one) provide a helpful overview. Each one includes a running tally of their Truth-O-Meter ratings, the most recent claims and attacks they've made, attacks against them and their Flip-O-Meter ratings.
• Zero in on an issue for a candidate — Interested to see how McCain has fared on energy? Or how Obama has been rated on Iraq? You can see all our ratings on a single issue for a candidate by going to their page and clicking on any of the issues in the Statements by Issue box at the top of the middle column. (The bigger the word, the more facts we've checked.) For instance, if you click "energy" on McCain's page, you get this .
• See all the False ratings for a candidate — If you want to see all the False rulings (or True or Pants on Fire) for someone, just go to the candidate page and find the bar graph in the left-hand column that provides the running tally. Click on any bar and you'll see all the items for that particularly rating. So here are all the False ratings for McCain and for Obama .
• Searching for words — The Google box in the upper right allows you to search anything we've published for words or phrases. Put them in quotation marks for the most specific search.
• Check on claims from independent groups and other voices — We've not only checked the candidates, we've checked claims and attacks from a variety of groups and individuals such as Planned Parenthood , Bill Clinton and our all-time favorite, Spike the Romney Attack Dog . You can also browse a list of them and then click on the the names that interest you.
• Browse the chain e-mails we've checked — We've focused a lot on chain e-mails because they have become a significant factor in shaping voters' opinions about the candidates. Check our page for chain e-mails and you'll see they don't have a very accurate track record. Most have been rated False or Pants on Fire.
• Check out our oddest Truth-O-Meter rulings — We rated Hillary Clinton's claim about the regulation of ham and cheese sandwiches , Mike Huckabee's boast about cooking squirrels , McCain's claim that Mamma Mia! is always a sellout and his assertion that South Koreans are 3 inches taller than North Koreans . We've also done two items on baseball, on Mitt Romney's bad math on the Red Sox and a Flip-O-Meter item on Obama's fondness for the Phillies and the Rays .
See individual Truth-O-Meter items.
Researchers: Bill Adair
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