As an experiment we decided to try to take David Gregory’s advice and fact-check Meet The Press on our “own terms” – not just to look for examples of statements that might not be factual, but to see how difficult it would be for a team of three people, amateurs really, to try to do the job of professional journalists – the job Meet The Press is so far unwilling to do.

We did not fact-check every possible statement, but rather looked at ones we thought important to confirm in the sense that, if false, they would dramatically change the core point the speaker was trying to make.

These statements were chosen and researched non-ideologically. If there was another fact-check organization that covered a same or similar statement we decided to use it as a source, provided that organization showed their work and our analysis of their research reached the same conclusion.

We do not dismiss the possibility of being wrong and encourage others to challenge our conclusions in the comments below. We also welcome additional help to confirm the statements on future shows as we continue our experiment. Please remember we have done this when we were not writing papers, reading assignments, or going to work. Fact-checking is an interesting process, but not an easy one.

Fact Check of Meet The Press – 4/25/2010
(listed in chronological order as they happened on air)

Fact-check 01
GM Government Payback
Senator Richard Shelby (R – AL)

MR. GREGORY: If the complaint is government’s not up to it, we had regulators before, can they do it this time, and we’re so worried about bailouts, look at the track record of bailouts so far.  The president was boasting yesterday that GM and Chrysler have paid off their debts, not completely, but, but, but way ahead of schedule.  TARP is now $186 billion back.  The overall payment is supposed to be around $87 billion.  The record’s been pretty good that the government’s and the taxpayer have done OK so far in bailouts, have they not?

SEN. SHELBY:  First of all, the payback by General Motors and Chrysler will never happen, not all of it.  That’s misleading, even what the president said there.  And they paid back some money that they were already given by the TARP money.  They haven’t paid back the other, and they won’t.

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