John Drescher

N&O joins forces with PolitiFact to check candidates’ statements

Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the N.C. Republican Party, criticizes Democrat Roy Cooper ahead of Cooper’s announcement of his gubernatorial campaign. The N&O and PolitiFact have joined forces to check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their campaigns.
Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the N.C. Republican Party, criticizes Democrat Roy Cooper ahead of Cooper’s announcement of his gubernatorial campaign. The N&O and PolitiFact have joined forces to check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their campaigns. cseward@newsobserver.com

PolitiFact, a division of the Tampa Bay Times that operates in 16 states, and The News & Observer will join forces to check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their campaigns.

PolitiFact was launched in 2007 to check statements made during the 2008 presidential campaign and has since published more than 11,500 fact-checks. It has built a national network of fact-checking websites, including in pivotal presidential primary states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio and Colorado.

“PolitiFact helps readers quickly understand what’s going on in their state and local governments and when politicians are straying from the truth,” said Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact executive director. “It’s an incredible public service and we’re thrilled that it’s coming to the state of North Carolina.

“It’s going to be a crazy year in North Carolina politics and News & Observer readers will be better served because PolitiFact is there to help them sort out fact from fiction.”

The heart of PolitiFact is its Truth-O-Meter, which rates politicians’ claims on a six-level scale: True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire. Fact-checks includes an analysis of the claim, an explanation of the reasoning and a list of links to sources.

PolitiFact will train N&O reporters, and fact-checks will appear in The N&O’s print and digital editions beginning in early March. The N&O will check statements from candidates from North Carolina for federal, state and local offices.

PolitiFact won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. Its founding editor, Bill Adair, former Washington bureau chief for the Tampa Bay Times, is the director of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy at Duke University.

One Day University

The N&O and One Day University, a division of Educational Media Group, have assembled four popular college professors from across the country to present versions of their lectures to adults who want to go back to college for a day (without taking exams or writing papers).

The professors will speak about politics, astronomy, music and neuroscience. Among them is Murali Doraiswamy of Duke, who will discuss “The Future of the Brain: Maximizing Our Cognitive Powers.”

The event will be Saturday, April 30, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the McKimmon Center at N.C. State University. The fee is $149 or $119 for the first 100 to register (use the promo code “Earlybird”). Lunch will be served. You can register at onedayu.com or by calling 800-300-3438.

John Baker Jr. book

Few families have been as deeply involved in Wake County’s public life during the last 75 years as the Bakers.

John Baker Sr., who died in 1985, was Raleigh’s first African-American police officer, joining the force in 1942 and serving more than 40 years.

His son, former NFL star John Baker Jr., was Wake County sheriff from 1978 to 2002. He was the first black sheriff in North Carolina elected after Reconstruction. He died in 2007.

John Baker III is the retiring boys’ basketball coach at Southeast Raleigh High School. He has coached and taught at the school since it opened in 1997.

A pictorial biography of “Big John” Baker Jr. has been published. It can be purchased for $15 from St. Matthew AME Church, 1629 Bennett St., Raleigh, NC 27604. Proceeds go to the John Baker Jr. Scholarship Foundation.

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