What the rulings mean

Many times reporters only shake their heads at the statements that politicians make. Yet we print those statements and quote them.

Truth Tracker is attempting to go beyond the he-said, she-said style of passive reporting. We’re fact-checking the statements that are in the news. Based on our reporting, we make a ruling about the degree of truth in statements.

For the six levels of truth that we use in rulings, we decided to use the symbol of a crow. There’s an expression, “a white crow” - a bird that can only ever be black has been painted white. So a black, flying crow signifies a statement that is totally true, a statement that’s half-true is medium-gray, and an outright falsehood is a white crow.

Those statements that are maliciously false, with no possible basis in fact, are labeled as “flaming crows.”

Here’s the rulings list:

completely true


To be ruled as True, the statement should be fully true in its meaning and in context. It should also be verified by independent data.

mostly true


The dark-grey crow signifies that the statement is Mostly True. This applies to statements that are generally correct, but might have some minor omissions or slight twist on the truth.

half true


Shades of grey signify the statements that are Half True. There may be a part of the statement that is factual, but it can’t be accepted outright.

mostly false

When the crow is light grey and the background goes dark, the statement has fallen into the territory of Mostly False. The statement is generally untrue, though it might have a kernel of fact in it … somewhere.


The white crow in darkness is a False statement. There is no supporting evidence whatsoever, and even the speaker can’t defend what he or she said.

flaming lie


We reserve the crow-on-fire for those statements which are a Flaming Lie. Not only are they untrue - the person who said it probably knows it’s a lie, and says it anyhow - with malice.

Disagree with our rulings? Please comment on the post - and offer evidence, if you have any. We’re willing to consider additional facts that come to light.


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