The Washington Post

Announcing Truth Teller beta, a better way to watch political speech

The Post is excited to launch a beta version of Truth Teller, the latest iteration of our fact-checking platform.

Watch Truth Teller videos from the Virginia governor’s race debates: 

McAuliffe, Cuccinelli make opening statements in final debate

Cuccinelli: McAuliffe is ‘all puppy, no plan’

Cuccinelli, McAuliffe address jobs in Southwest Virginia

McAuliffe criticizes Cuccinelli campaign donation

Va. governor candidates spar on Medicaid expansion

Cuccinelli, McAuliffe trade attacks over Lincoln bedroom

 McAuliffe: Cuccinelli backed bill banning ‘most forms of contraception’

Truth Teller is a way to fact check what politicians say, as they say it. When you watch a Truth Teller video on PostTV, you’ll see a transcript rolling next to it. When Truth Teller spots a false claim that we’ve reported on, a visual clue and a link to a full fact-check will appear. This is where you get the full story of what was just said, as provided by our Fact Checker blog, run by Glenn Kessler, as well as from Politifact and

Why are we in beta? Because instant fact-checking is a difficult thing to do. The different components that make Truth Teller run are new products. Natural language processing lets us process language as data, but we have to keep teaching our algorithm what constitutes a ‘false claim’ and how the same statement could be said other ways. And automatic speech recognition is still in early stages of widespread use, so you might see some head-scratching transcription errors. At this stage, we are augmenting this technology with Post reporters and editors to be certain that Truth Teller is accurate. These components are all moving along towards the long-term vision: a tool that can give you the reporting most relevant to what you’re hearing, at the moment you encounter a political lie.

Keep an eye on Truth Teller for the duration of the Virginia race for governor; we’ll be bringing you more clips with the context and background you need.



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Greg Barber · September 24, 2013