Pulling the plug on the spin cycle

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“Getting the facts wrong can — in fact, often does — lead to the worst of human calamities, war.” These words from the newly published paperback “UnSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation” are telling. After all, authors Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, founders of the three-year-old Web site FactCheck.org, have to be sure of their own claims when it comes to sifting gold from dross in the muddy world of political rhetoric.

A staff of 10 in Washington and Philadelphia, home of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, which that Ms. Jamieson heads, assists the duo in decoding deceptive language found in speeches, debates and commercials. Mr. Jackson, a former investigative reporter for CNN, Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal, calls the book “a self-defense manual for voters and consumers.” Democrats and Republicans both come under fire. “We don’t keep track [by number],” he said at Wednesday’s publication party at his office in the National Press Building. “That wouldn’t be fair.”

— Ann Geracimos

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