The first purpose of this post is to let people know where the ABC’s fact checking site is. I had to scout around to find it. One would expect it on their election site, but in fact it’s in the news silo, as is the election site. While we are at it here’s all four fact checkers:
Have I missed any?
The ABC uses flexible language in its ‘verdict’ which I think I like.
For a comparison of treatment of three of the sites, you might recall that there was a direct contest of facts between Rudd and Abbott over what happened to asylum seekers sent to Nauru and Manus Island under Howard’s Pacific Solution. I got the impression that checking that one out was the ABC’s first effort. They checked out Tony Abbott’s claim and found it “checked out” since 43% moved to Australia compared to 40% claimed by Abbott’s. Rudd would have been correct if he’d said 70% of people taken to Nauru and Manus Island went to Australia, and other countries.
That’s what Rudd’s campaign team told Politifact Australia when they investigated the truth of Rudd’s statement.
I found Politifact Australia’s investigation the most impressive, more so too than The Conversation’s. To begin with they gave the full quotation of exactly what was said, which is important. Then I thought their checking of sources was also more extensive and thorough.
The Conversation and Politifact need to be careful in this case that their headline doesn’t mislead.
In truth, if the question had been where the asylum seekers ended up then no-one knows. John Barron of ABC FactCheck and Walid Aly joked about this on Radio National. We don’t know how many later made the crossing from our eastern neighbour to the land of Oz.
While on asylum seekers, The Australia Institutes’s Facts Fight Back found that judicial review of refugee claims cannot be bypassed, contra Scott Morrison. Those unsuccessful at the administrative level can appeal to the High Court as of right.
And Politifact has a sensible view of whether asylum seekers can be termed “illegal”. Legally, maybe, but politicians could do better in how they talk about asylum seekers.
On the whole, though, fact checking seems a welcome addition to journalism during the election period. I wonder whether any of them will become a permanent feature.
Margo Kingston is the editor of a new citizen journalism project No Fibs. She is co-publisher with Tony Yegles, who looks after the site and its creative design, in a research project funded by Macquarie University and led by Catherine Lumby. The overall story is here, but check out Margo’s piece Immersion journalism for democracy as to why she got off the ridiculous election bus in 1996 and never got back on.
Kingston has recruited citizen journalists to report on how the election unfolds in the seat in which they live, 23 by last count. As she told Richard Aedy her journalists have had no problems accessing candidates. After all in this case the journalists vote.
Love the photo:
I’d also love to know your impressions of all of the above. In addition, you can use this post as a general media roundtable.