There is no one method for fact-checking a story. However, there are different approaches that can yield results. Some stories are easy; a quick search of a text string from the story leads back to a site with a clearly posted disclaimer.
Others are not so straightforward. Sometimes they are not purely satire or fiction, but lies with some truth mixed in to make the lies more believable, which to us falls under the umbrella of disinformation. In those cases, the truth has to be separated out, which can be a much longer and more complex process. Essentially, we report out the story and show our work.
We prefer to work with primary sources whenever possible, which means if we are looking into a quote from someone, we will talk to that person, if possible. We also do in-person reporting when necessary and possible so that we can see what we are talking about with our own eyes. In addition, when necessary, we review historical documents, video and radio interviews, and books, cross-referencing whatever we can with open-source information.
We endeavor to make our research as transparent and replicable as possible and include both links in our text and a “sources” section to every article to that end. We strongly believe in an open-source model and make every effort to make certain that our journalism reflects that.
We list all corrections and clarifications in its own section at the bottom of the page with the date and time of the update, as well as a brief explanation of what has been changed and why.
Among the sources we use for our fact-checks: established news organizations, peer-reviewed academic papers, and primary sources. We try to stay with open source tools online whenever possible in order to make our fact-checks more readily replicable, but occasionally will have to use books, interviews, or other materials that are not available online. When that is the case, we will attempt to be as transparent and provide as full a context as possible to the materials we use.
We believe strongly in free speech and do not pretend to be completely free of personal political opinion, as that goes against the entire known history of human nature, but those do not affect our fact checks. Whatever our political opinion, we believe most strongly in the truth; we find that a shared love for transparency and truth transcends personal politics.
However, we do not accept money from nor donate to any political or lobbying party, and we do not run political advertisements on our site, nor will we at any point.