Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fact-checking websites

And now for something completely different...

There's a lot to like about this site. There's plenty of information, and with seven posted videos in the past three days and 12 in the past seven, it's clear that the site's managers are serious about keeping the website updated and current with news issues. I also like that the site stays true to itself by concerning itself with the election. The videos all revolve around the election, campaigns and candidates, and answer several pressing issues surrounding them. That's what the people want to hear as Nov. 4 nears, and this website is helping out.

That being said, I'm not a fan of the design of the site. It comes off as cluttered; the video/article section dominates half the page, while everything else seems thrown in at the left side in kind of a mix-and-match of "Facts of the Day" and "Today's Question." You can find what you need, but it can be a chore getting there.

This website is balanced, clear and fulfilling. The main plus to this site is its image: It comes off as clearly informative, with information split into sections at the top ranging from articles to the attack file to the chain e-mails. The Flip-O-Meter and Attack File are the highlights of the site, as they give you surprisingly balanced analysis of attacks the candidates have made upon each other with humorous twists to them.

I'm a bigger fan of the layout to this site than to Factcheck. The tabs at the top make for easy searching, and the browse feature on the right-hand side of the page, allowing you to read the Truth-O-Meter for Obama, McCain, Biden and Palin, make it easy for you to get the information you're looking for.

Congress Votes Database (

This website is just cool. Voting records for all senators? Everything from representatives with perfect records to the Washington Post's opinion on key votes made in the Senate? It's neat, and you can pass the time just sifting through these decisions. You may learn something, too.

Above all, however, is the use this site can provide for information on the election. With both candidates being senators, a lot of the focus and attention has been on McCain's and Obama's voting records, and how consistent their votes are with their stances on key issues. With this site, you can look it up and see it for yourself.

For that reason, there's really not much that can improve this site. It is what it is: Recent votes, the records for congressmen, and key bills. It's a straight database, and when you're looking for straight facts, this is a good place to turn.

Project Vote Smart:

Like the Congress Votes Database, this is a straight reporting and research site, good for finding out, among other things, the politicians from your town and state. There's a lot of good information, including public statements, voting records, registration and internships. And those are just the basic categories.

Still, I'm not quite taken with this site. It just doesn't come off as too accessible, and it feels like getting to even the simplest information would require tunneling around through page after page in the site. But that's the major deal with most of these websites. It's all about preference. Find the site you're comfortable, and work from there.

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