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May 22, 2018

If you’re going to get called on the carpet for something you did right, might as well be by Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central’s whirlwind of truthiness, “The Colbert Report.” That’s what happened about a week ago to Bill Adair, Pulitzer Prize winning editor of Politifact.com, the online fact-checking operation spawned by the St. Petersburg Times.

BILL ADAIR podcast excerpt: "The result is some good fact checking that wouldn't have been done before." 

In case you missed this story, Jake Tapper, interim host of ABC’s Sunday morning political chat fest, “This Week,” announced his guests’ most questionable claims would be subject to fact checking by Politifact. Meanwhile, over at NBC’s venerable “Meet The Press,” host David Gregory dismissed the need for fact-checking his guests. I understand his point; does anyone fact-check the wrestlers’ claims on "WWE Smackdown"? Of course not. It’s pure, scripted entertainment. Not something anyone takes seriously. Colbert even invited Tapper and Adair on his show to discuss their work. Politifact uses a series of truth-o-meters to declare politicians’ boldest statements either true, untrue, half-true or “pants-on-fire” lies. It won a Pulitzer Prize for its work in 2009, which was the first time Bill Adair was on Mr. Media. Now that he’s been discovered by Colbert, he’s a tougher guest to book, but we’re always delighted to have him.