While NPR has its Message Machine project ("fact-checking the 2010 campaigns) with PolitiFact.com, we certainly don't want to ignore the other things being done to "truth-squad" what candidates and interest groups are saying in their campaign ads.
So, may we also call your attention to:
— FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and one of the original efforts to hold politicians, parties and interest groups accountable for what they say in their ads.
Over the past few campaign cycles, FactCheck has proved to be very non-partisan — taking aim at the misstatements of Democrats and Republicans alike. For example, this week it skewered Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida for "falsely accusing his opponent of evading the Vietnam War draft" in an ad.
And also this week, FactCheck went after Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for Senate in Nevada, for making false claims about her opponent, Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader. She said Reid wanted to "give special tax breaks to illegal aliens." FactCheck said that's dead wrong.
Click on this image to get to the Sunlight Foundation's tool for reporting on campaign ads.
— The Sunlight Foundation's new "Campaign Ad Monitor" project.
It's an online tool that "allows anyone to report information on the political advertising they see on TV, hear on the radio or view online."
Basically, as Sunlight says:
"When you see a political ad on TV, hear one on the radio or view one online, visit Sunlight CAM to log it and tell us more about it.
"Start by entering your zip code on the homepage and note what type of ad you are reporting (radio, TV or Internet). Next, enter some additional information, such as the media outlet that ran the ad, which politician was mentioned, what was said and if the ad included a 'paid for by' line. Then just click submit."
— Campaign Media Analysis Group's The Spot blog. Not quite a fact-checker, it does offer some very important information about who's spending how much money on which ads and where those spots are running.
It's good information because one of the key questions in recent years about ads released by both candidates and interest groups is whether they're actually paying any money to put them on TV — or are just putting videos out in the hopes of getting free attention from the news media and bloggers.
And speaking of "ads" that were made more to get attention than to get on TV, let's end this post with an example — and one that's quite unusual and rated a "true" on PolitiFact's truth-o-meter.
It's from the campaign of Republican John Dennis, who's challenging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA. Enjoy: