As a writer, it’s pretty daunting to cover FactCheck.org when you consider that the entire outfit spends all of its resources uncovering bad intel. (In fact, they would probably say that I what I just wrote about them is somehow not wholly accurate…) Now, imagine being armed with a cell phone and illegible handwriting, and calling FactCheck’s Director, Brooks Jackson – veteran reporter for the Associates Press, the Wall Street Journal and CNN for 34 years – to ask a few questions about their new web show, Just the Facts! All I can say is About Us pages come in handy.

FactCheck.org is the non-partisan, non-profit official site of The Annenberg Political Fact Check, a project of UPenn’s Annenberg Public Policy Center. The APPC was established in 1994 to address public policy issues, and now its FactCheck site is a go-to “consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.”

Just the Facts! – which launched last week as a complementary vidcast to the website’s regularly-updated debunkeries of Those Who Run the World – is a weekly summary of the high points (or rather, low points) of misleading speeches, arguments, campaign ads and statistics purported by our leaders and candidates.

The idea, originally brought to Jackson by staff writer Emi Kolawole (who now anchors the regular vidcast) came in the form of an audio podcast, but as Jackson explained over his landline, the best medium for discussing TV is TV. A fan of Rocketboom, Jackson figured that FactCheck could do the same thing…with a political flavor. And thus, Just the Facts! was born.

According to Jackson, FactCheck.org aims to post a new 4-minute video every Friday morning, and is already getting a good amount of traffic by people who might not have otherwise come across FactCheck thanks to distribution on video-sharing sites including YouTube and Blip.tv.

The show, still in its very early infancy, features the non-threatening, non-partisan anchor and producer Kolawole who introduces a number of political events of the week, shows clips related to each event, and then explains how the message in a particular clip is a load of crap.

For example, this past week’s episode covered, among other things, Bush’s State of the Union address, in which he cited the foiling of a terror plot involving planes flying over the Atlantic as a great example of how U.S. intelligence is keeping our nation safer. Kolawole then cut to a clip of Bush from a year ago when he credited the British for uncovering the same plot. So, which is it, Bushy? Huh?

If FactCheck comes across as a little cynical, well…I would say that it kind of is. Calling into question nearly every anecdote or statistic that our elected officials utter is certainly not an optimistic way to look at our political process.  But attempting to keep our politicians honest is an important job.

If you are undecided on what’s what, or if you just love seeing proof the our media is full of inaccuracies, then, by all means, check out the show – especially with the big election soon to be in full swing. And who wouldn’t enjoy taking the piss out of a few attacks ads before November?

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