FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, hosted a dozen international journalists on February 14, 2020, through the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. The journalists hailed from nine countries, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Meeting with them, Eugene Kiely, FactCheck.org’s director, discussed his team’s fact-checking process, FactCheck.org’s efforts to maintain nonpartisanship in an increasingly polarized online environment, and the site’s educational mission.
As Kiely told the group, FactCheck.org’s reporting team typically analyzes statements made by the most prominent politicians (i.e., the President and leaders of Congress), though in an election year, the journalists will focus more on fact-checking presidential candidates at debates and other campaign events. In addition, FactCheck.org addresses highly publicized public health myths: In just the last few weeks, the team has published more than a dozen articles about the 2019 novel coronavirus. In recent years, the site has also expanded its efforts to debunk viral myths, partnering with Facebook to fact-check fast-spreading mistruths on the social media site.
The State Department group, on a three-week tour of universities, newsrooms and other sites, was part of the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists: Media Responsibility In an Age of Disinformation, bringing journalists to the United States from a variety of media organizations in East Asia and the Pacific and South and Central Asia Regions.