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Tuesday, April 6, 2010


In writing our "Myths and Misinformation" boxes, we frequently checked with Snopes (, an excellent site that debunks urban legends. The New York Times has profiled Snopes and its founders, David and Barbara Mikkelson. An excerpt:
Snopes is one of a small handful of sites in the fact-checking business. Brooks Jackson, the director of one of the others, the politically oriented, believes news organizations should be doing more of it.

“The ‘news’ that is not fit to print gets through to people anyway these days, through 24-hour cable gasbags, partisan talk radio hosts and chain e-mails, blogs and Web sites such as WorldNetDaily or Daily Kos,” he said in an e-mail message. “What readers need now, we find, are honest referees who can help ordinary readers sort out fact from fiction.”

Even the White House now cites fact-checking sites: it has circulated links and explanations by, a project of The St. Petersburg Times that won a Pulitzer Prize last year for national reporting.

Another such site (not exclusively political) is