Ranking the Veracity of Media Personality Statements

The fact checking website, PolitiFact, has a section dedicated to checking the veracity of statements made by pundits and other media types – PunditFact. Of the dozens of personalities evaluated on the site, several have earned their own summary page including Rachel Maddow, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck. Impartiality isn’t a characteristic typically associated with this group so it shouldn’t be surprising all three have made statements that range from the highest positive score of “True” to the most negative score of “Pants on Fire.” Well, that’s not exactly true. Rush Limbaugh has yet to have any of his comments rated as completely true.

While one may ask questions about the sample size and what role bias plays in selecting statements for evaluation, it’s nevertheless interesting to see how these three media voices fare in a side by side comparison on their Truth-O-Meter rankings. The graph below shows the comparative rankings as of June 21, 2014. Half of Maddow’s statements were rated as falling somewhere in the truth continuum which may not seem to be a cause for celebration unless it’s compared to the 87% of Limbaugh’s statements that are ranked false. Unfortunately, truth is not positively correlated with influence.



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