Check, Please

Fact-checking has been good news in 2012, but it's only a start

Photo-illustration by Lincoln Agnew for TIME; Obama, Romney, magnifying glass: Getty Images

The 2012 election has not been a great one for the facts, but it's been a banner year for the fact checkers. Outlets like PolitiFact and have gained more visibility and old-media imitators than ever, with newspapers and TV news adding fact-check segments and awarding "Pants on Fires" and "Pinocchios" like state troopers writing tickets on Labor Day weekend.

Yet the traffic violations keep coming. Scads of fibs, exaggerations and misleading statements have been swept up in the dragnet: a super-PAC ad implying that Mitt Romney was responsible for the cancer death of a laid-off worker's wife, a...

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