I agree with the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who reportedly said “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, especially during election season when politicians, interest groups and pundits throw out all sorts of factoids of varying degrees of truthfulness, or as Steven Colbert phrased it, “truthiness.”
There are groups out that like FactCheck.org that try to counteract misleading statements made on the campaign trail while Snopes.com does its best to debunk urban myths and rumors that have little or no basis in fact.
But a new website, called Face the Facts USA is being proactive by looking at the bigger facts that should shape the national debate that we’ll have between now and November. They’re not wallowing in the weeds or weighing in on the latest utterings of the candidates and their supporters, but looking at serious issues in a fun and easy to digest manner.
The site, which is supported by The George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, launched on July 30th with the goal of presenting a fact a day for the 100 days between then and the November 6 election.
The goal, according to the site, is to:
- Present facts and data in creative ways that crystallize key issues facing America and debunk misconceptions.
- Offer “details on demand” so our users can connect directly with as much source data and as many points of view as they wish
- Engage and connect people and communities; present ways to help people get involved and push for solutions that move America forward
The project is being directed by Frank Sesno, director of the GW School of Media and Public Affairs and a former correspondent, anchor and Washington Bureau chief for CNN. I had the chance to work with Frank this spring when he had the not-so-easy task of moderating a panel with media mogul Arianna Huffington, Internet pioneer Vint Cerf and myself at the Panetta Institute. Frank’s thoroughness, fairness and ability to distinguish what’s interesting and relevant was as evident that night as it was during the years I enjoyed watching him on CNN.
The organization has an advisory board consisting of business leaders, academics, philanthropists, other notables and politicians and former officials from both major political parties.