OVER THE NEXT few weeks, you will be bombarded by claims.
Candidate A accuses Candidate B of proposing Policy X. Candidate B is outraged by the slur, and accuses Candidate A of being an avid supporter of Policy Y.
This is how it goes: Claim, denial, counter-claim, counter-denial, and so on and so forth, until you’ve changed the channel and cursed the entire electoral process.
That’s where we come in.
From today until 26 February, TheJournal.ie’s GE16 FactCheck will be wading through the mire of campaign rhetoric, so you don’t have to.
We will be separating the truth from the lies, and breaking down claims that have a little bit of both in them – all for the benefit of you, the voter (or potential voter).
So we want your input.
If you’re listening to a local radio interview or debate, and hear a candidate make a claim that sounds dodgy – email email@example.com and we’ll look into it.
If a candidate or canvasser stands on your doorstep and tells you their party has achieved X, Y and Z, and you find yourself raising an eyebrow – email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll look into it.
If you’re at the shopping centre, and you’re handed a leaflet that attacks another candidate or party for supporting this and opposing that, take a picture of the leaflet, send it to email@example.com, and we’ll look into it.
We won’t be doing any fact-checking for any political party or candidate, or their canvassers.
TheJournal.ie’s GE16 FactCheck works exclusively for you, the voter.
We will use official statistics and public records to fact check in the most authoritative and accurate way possible, and we will be 100% impartial and unbiased.
We will publish regular fact-checking round-ups, based on what you send us, and evaluate how true or false each claim is.
Send us any claims you’re not sure about, but we’re especially looking for stuff you pick up in local media, on social networks, and at local meetings or on your own doorstep.
All we ask is this:
- Send all your questions, photos, videos and audio recordings to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tell us who you are, where you are, and who you heard the claim from. We will NOT publish your name or identify you, unless you specifically ask us to. But we want to make sure the FactCheck isn’t hijacked by political campaigns, and we will not entertain malicious, personal, anonymous rumours.
- Include as much detail as you can. If you hear a candidate speaking on the radio, try to get their name, the name of the radio station, and the time and date when you heard the claim. If a canvasser told you something you want to check, ask for their name, the name of the candidate they represent, and record the time your conversation happened, and the exact location. We won’t be publishing any details, unless we can verify them.
- If you see a claim or allegation from a candidate or party on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat or Vine – include a link and a screenshot in your email.
- Just the facts, please. We can’t tell you whether “Fíanna Fáil are for the people,” or how Sinn Féin would manage the economy. But we can check claims about Fianna Fáil’s record and their candidates’ statements, and we can check claims about Sinn Féin’s policies.
- Please be specific. If a €5 million, 14-month inquiry couldn’t really decide “who caused the banking crisis”, we can’t either. We can’t tell you whether it’s true that “Fine Gael and Labour have made the recession softer (or harder.”) But we can tell you if it’s true that homelessness has risen or unemployment has fallen since 2011, for example. We want specific, verifiable claims made by specific candidates and parties against other candidates and parties.
- GE16 FactCheck is NOT a time machine. It doesn’t do hypotheticals, counter-factuals, or predictions. So if a candidate claims “Sinn Féin would have completely ruined the economy in 2011,” or “Fianna Fáil will bring us back to boom-and-bust,” we can’t say one way or another whether those claims are true. (And neither can the person making them, for that matter).
So next time you have the radio or TV on, or you see a posse of canvassers walking up the driveway, be ready.
If they make a claim you think might be dodgy, take notes and tell them you’ll be having it investigated by TheJournal.ie‘s GE16 FactCheck.