Just the facts ... please

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

Now that we’ve put the two national political party’s conventions behind us, we can focus on the next big events — the upcoming debates. I hope you did as I did and watched the conventions on C-SPAN, where the action can be viewed live, without commercial interruption or biased commentary. C-SPAN allows viewers to draw their own conclusions by allowing them to hear and watch what they want.

Modern-day conventions are designed to be marketing events instead of a wide-open process. Recognizing that each side plays heavily to their member base, I doubt either side did much to sway a previously committed voter. I also doubt many uncommitted voters will make a decision until closer to Election Day. For those who’ve made up their minds, I’m sure the rest of this campaign season will reinforce why their vote will be cast for their candidate. The spin plays to their heart, not their reason.

More than anything, we owe it to ourselves, the nation and future generations to do more than accept the campaign rhetoric, and that especially goes for those who are firmly committed. Vice President Joe Biden recently challenged the press to “fact check” his statements. That’s excellent advice for all of us.

A good website is factcheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The site offers a quiz of the week, specific articles on the many speeches, Whoppers of 2012, a Mailbag feature that allows an opportunity for the public to present their points of contention with the candidates, the parties and even question the clarifications made by Fact Check. Another important feature is called Viral Spiral, which is designed to put an end to the many inaccurate, and sometimes very old, internet emails that never seem to die in cyberspace.

Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at dan@denpubs.com.

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