FactChecking Science Claims in 2017

Two years ago, the Stanton Foundation provided us with the funding to launch SciCheck — a fact-checking feature that focuses exclusively on false and misleading scientific claims. We’re happy to announce that SciCheck is now entering its third year with the continued support of the Stanton Foundation.

The foundation has provided FactCheck.org with a one-year, $ 150,000 grant for 2017, as of Feb. 1. The grant will enable us not only to continue SciCheck, but it will also fund — for the second year in a row — our FactCheck.org Fellowship program for undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania, where we are located.

The Stanton Foundation was founded by the late Frank Stanton, who was president of CBS from 1946 to 1971. Stanton was “a central figure in the development of television broadcasting,” according to the New York Times, which called him “a broadcasting pioneer.” Among other things, Stanton helped to persuade Congress to suspend the “equal time” provision so that the 1960 presidential debates could be aired on television, the Times said.

In its second year, SciCheck covered topics such as fracking, the Zika virus, genetically modified organisms, climate change, marijuana research, the effectiveness of torture for interrogation, the ozone layer and abortion.

SciCheck articles have received more than 5 million page views on FactCheck.org in the project’s first two years. In addition, countless other news organizations have republished SciCheck articles, including Scientific American, the oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the United States, and Undark, a project of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT.

Through our partnership with NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, a division of NBCUniversal, SciCheck articles appeared on the websites of NBC-owned stations, including those in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami and Washington, D.C.

Also, CNN’s Jake Tapper did two fact-checking segments featuring SciCheck’s work on the 2016 presidential campaign as part of our collaboration with CNN’s “State of the Union.”

We will continue to work with Tapper and NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations in 2017, which promises to be a busy year as the Republican president and Congress look to make major changes in U.S. policy on climate change, fracking, renewable energy and other issues that SciCheck has been following for over two years.

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