Among mainstream news outlets, PolitiFact has gained a reputation as a site that does fair and balanced reality checks of news stories, particularly when a politician makes an important and sometimes controversial claim. Call it a reality check on political spin, although it’s true that politicians aren’t believed very often anyway.
PolitiFact’s team of fact checkers will publish their results in a Truth-O-Meter, which rates a statement as True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, or, for the most blatant offenses of all, Pants on Fire. Having won a Pulitzer Prize, the site has a high level of credibility, though some will dispute specific ratings.
Regardless, it’s also true that even politicians who get large numbers of Pants on Fire ratings from PolitiFact rarely if ever own up to their deceptions. They usually hope that the audiences they intend to reach don’t pay attention to fact checkers.