The Rise of Fact Checking with Bill Adair, PolitiFact

6 May, 2013
11am-1pm Bring your lunch. Tea and Coffee provided.

The moment of truth in politics is upon us, as Media@Sydney and the IDHR presents a fascinating lunchtime seminar on the growth of fact-checking projects with Bill Adair, creator and foundation editor of PolitiFact, and newly appointed Knight Professor of Journalism at Duke University. 

Adair is visiting Australia for the first time this week to help with the imminent launch of PolitiFact Australia, right in time for the federal election.

Facts, it seems, are back in the spotlight, propelled by what Lindsay Tanner has called the “sideshow” turn in political debate, and scepticism about the impact of spin on policy debates. But the growth of fact checking enterprises, both pro- and am-, raises interesting issues for journalism and the role of journalists. Isn't fact checking the primary role of reporters? Or are we seeing a new form of journalism emerging? Laurie Oakes argues that ‘if the market for fact really is holding up against the march of opinion it can only be good for journalism — particularly for political journalism’ ( All of this leads us to ask, How should we make sense of the rise of fact checking?

The Media and Communications Department at The University of Sydney, with the Institute of Democracy and Human Rights (IDHR), and Adjunct Professor Peter Fray, is proud to host this seminar with Bill Adair for journalists and editors, journalism academics, students, and those with a broader interest in political communication.  

Date: Monday 6th May, lunchtime

Where: Rogers Room, Ground level, Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

When: 11am-1pm. Bring your own lunch. Tea and coffee provided.

Registration is essential. Please rsvp your attendance to Madeleine King :

About Bill Adair
Bill Adair is the creator and founding editor of PolitiFact, and will remain a contributing editor when he joins Duke University as a Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy. He also serves as the Washington Bureau Chief for the Tampa Bay Times and as an adjunct faculty member at the Poynter Institute.

He has worked in Washington since 1997 and has covered Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, national politics and aviation safety. Adair is the author of "The Mystery of Flight 427: Inside a Crash Investigation," a behind-the-scenes account of how the National Transportation Safety Board solved one of the biggest mysteries in aviation. He is the winner of the Everett Dirksen Award for Distinguished Coverage of Congress, the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award and the Manship Prize for New Media in Democratic Discourse.

·      Fact off: ABC and Fray’s PolitiFact dig into pollies’ spin

·      ‘The Media Report’ profiled fact checking in September 2012 ( )

·      Late last year Malcolm Turnbull spoke to AM about the need for a fact-checking website as a check on lies. ( )

·      Ben Eltham replied, arguing that politics is filled with partly true and partly false statements, and facts are always subject to interpretation ( ).

·      The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is setting up a fact checking unit as part of ABC News ( )

·      Peter Fray’s 2013 interview with Bill Adair


Location: Rogers Room, N397, Ground level, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

Contact:Madeleine King

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