Working on fact checks can feel in some ways very different from my other reporting, though ostensibly the methods and concepts are the same. I guess the main dynamic difference I feel is that when I work the GA shift or my beat, those stories are here in Columbia, and much of these fact checks are national. I’m speaking to people in Washington, I’m emailing experts. It feels less grounded or connected. Though the work is very similar, and the finished product is as well.
What’s disconcerting about these types of stories, is working with politicians (or their aides). On this story, while I’m not 100 percent certain of this, I believe Hartzler’s team changed her figures on the original blog post after I contacted them. But not just that, they changed them to the wrong figures — when they had been right in the first place.
Asked for a source for her claim, her team sent me an outdated report, which came from the same website where a far newer and more dire report was also present. It was my first hands-on experience of being astounded by the carelessness of an elected official.