WVU students partnering with Politifact to fact check politicians

By  | 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WDTV) - WVU students in the Reed College of Media are fact-checking politicians in real-time this semester, in conjunction with Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking organization.

Bob Britten, a teaching associate professor in the College of Media, is leading the class throughout the semester.

"The great thing about this is that this is work that goes somewhere," Britten said. "Instead of work that they do for a class that no one ever sees, this is work that actually goes out and does the function of journalism in the world for audiences to benefit from."

Politifact's partnership with WVU stemmed from a media literacy class Britten taught last semester.

Students have fact-checked President Trump's last two visits to West Virginia, and are also in the process of fact-checking the U.S. Senate race between Joe Manchin and Patrick Morrisey.

"I'm really looking forward to a Manchin-Morrisey debate to get students to try out their skills by claims that are being made by politicians," Britten said.

He said fact-checking goes beyond uncovering when politicians aren't telling the truth.

"We tend to want to make sure they're telling the truth, but also we want to give credit when politicians are telling the truth," Britten said. "There's so much distrust. The other side of fact-checking we don't think about a lot is that we can say, 'Yes. That checks out.' It's verified by an outside source."

You can search the claims for yourself on the Pulitzer Prize-winning website, Politifact.com. A search of "West Virginia" ... highlights claims made by elected officials. A link to the page is below this story on mobile and to the right on desktop.