Democracy Fund

The Democracy Fund invests in social entrepreneurs working to ensure that our political system is responsive to the public and able to meet the greatest challenges facing our nation.

Democracy Fund
Who we invest in

FlackCheck

FlackCheck.org is a video-based counterpart to the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s award-winning program FactCheck.org. FlackCheck.org uses parody and humor to debunk false political advertising, poke fun at extreme language, and hold the media accountable for their reporting on political campaigns.

“We aim with this project to improve the public’s political literacy, while increasing the likelihood that tv stations will insist on the accuracy of the third party ads they air and fact check on air the deceptive political ads shown in their market.”

Kathleen Hall Jamieson
Director, Annenberg Public Policy Center

Total

COMMITMENT

Up to $1.1 million over two years in 2011

​Why We Invested

Deceptive and misleading advertising, especially in the face of an explosion in anonymous campaign spending, disenfranchises voters by playing on their fears and emotions. Flackcheck employs unique and innovative approaches to counter these deceptions.

Impacts & Accomplishments

During the 2012 election cycle, Flackcheck.org was visited over 1.5 million times and its video parodies were watched more than 800,000 times. Flackcheck’s videos were featured by many major news outlets, including the Washington Post, CNN, and PBS’s Moyers & Company. By election day, there were more than 7,200 external links to Flackcheck.org from media sites, blogs, and the like. Two of their videos about an imagined 1864 campaign against Abraham Lincoln using today’s techniques won Bronze Telly awards: Steamboat Veterans for Truth and Battle Hymn. Their musical about the 2012 GOP primary also won a bronze Telly. Evaluations of the impact of Flackcheck videos found that the parodies were just as successful at correcting misperceptions as articles from Flackcheck’s sister site, Factcheck.org. The Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Stand By Your Ad Campaign disseminated materials to 1,300 television station managers across the country encouraging them to reject deceptive campaign ads and run ad watches as part of their programming. Citizens used APPC’s site to send more than 42,000 emails to station managers as part of this campaign. A survey of station managers after the 2012 election found that those who said they were recipients of APPC materials were significantly more likely than those who did not to take steps to evaluate the accuracy of 3rd party ads before airing them. A correlation was also found between receiving Stand By Your Ad materials and station managers reporting that they rejected a 3rd party ad during the election. Flackcheck also created the Cronkite-Jackson Journalism Award for effective factchecking of political content in local and national broadcast or cable news. Two prizes were awarded in 2013, one to local station 9 KUSA in Denver and one to CNN.

How You Can Get Involved

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