A group of NZ political activists have set up Politicheck NZ, which is designed to operate like Factcheck and Politifact in the US.
I said to the founder Rory McCarthy a few weeks ago that in my opinion these sites work best when the staff have no political involvement themselves, as your political views do colour your worldview. However to hire neutral fact checkers requires money – basically a benevolent funder. Fact Check is basically funded by the Annenberg Foundation and costs over $500,000 a year to run. I rate it very highly.
In the absence of a benevolent funder to pay for neutral, the next best thing is to try and have a wide range of views among the “volunteer staff”. They have tried to do that with the appointment of Pete George (ex United Future), Phil Howison (ex Libz), Kyle Church (Greens), Kirk Sepos (no party but strong involvement in Green issues) and Rory (Greens).
I’m not sure if it will work or not. I think the motives of those involved are noble, and hope it goes well. They may find at the end that trying to reach agreement on what is and is not wholly, partially, or not at all true is not that easy as it does get coloured by your personal preferences and worldview.
I look forward to seeing their work over the coming months. In the end media and others will judge them on the credibility of what they say, and how well they make their case when doing a fact check.
Of course Bomber has already said they have no credibility, which probably only gives them credibility with most people!