Fact Checking Politicians

The New York times recently put out a chart rating each presidential candidate for their accuracy of statements. The statements were grouped into six categories, ranging from pants-on-fire lies to true. The post is aimed at a wide audience, from adults who are trying to choose a candidate to the candidates and their teams. With this graph the New York Times both urges average citizens to think more critically about what candidates say and pushes candidates into having to be more careful with the way they present data.


New York Times article- All Politicians Lie.

The chart on a whole is relatively clear and easy to read. The color scheme chosen both helps to differentiate between true and false and I appreciate that the author steered clear of loaded colors within the two party system. It is easy to find general summary information located along the left and right side, and to get a sense of the candidates general ranking. However, there are a few problems with this representation. The first being that, although the criteria used to place statements into categories is listed, it is still a pretty arbitrary metric. In addition, some of the candidates have vastly more statements that have been checked, and this information is not presented clearly.

I feel as though this presentation is effective in sparking an interest people to fact check candidates and think more critically about what they are saying. There has also been a strong response in campaigns around fact-checking journalism. The graph uses humor (title of categories) as a way to engage readers, however, I also feel that this takes away some legitimacy of the information being delivered, which is exactly what the chart is trying to fix.