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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read more about our partnership.

Fact briefs address widely circulating claims about current events and policies that can be answered yes or no. We avoid outdated or obscure topics or claims with low engagement. We strive to write in a neutral, educational voice, avoiding buzzwords and politically charged language. 

Our objective is to verify facts, not debate political opinions. We strive to separate the claim (the fact) from the claimant (the individual or organization that is using it). We occasionally do spot-checks to ensure that we are achieving as much partisan/political balance as possible.

Related: How Wisconsin Watch fact checks our stories

We include the leaning or affiliation when citing groups as sources, such as in this brief. As a nonprofit organization, Wisconsin Watch has no commercial interests that conflict with our fact-checking. 

We are members of both the Trust Project and the Institute for Nonprofit News, which require transparency in funding and even-handedness in reporting, including no membership in any party, or work aimed at boosting any politician or political campaign. Here is our list of funders.

All of our fact briefs have at least two sources linked below the fact brief. We occasionally add original reporting in the form of data analysis or email exchanges.

We strive to always use primary sources but will occasionally use secondary sources, if primary sources are not available. 

We use at least two sources for each fact brief. Each brief is fact-checked by two editors, one at Wisconsin Watch and one at Gigafact.

We disclose political leanings of sources and any qualifiers on the information they provide. In this brief, for example, we make it clear the group making the ranking is conservative and that rankings are based on bills handpicked by the group.

Our yes/no format means we avoid certain questions that fall into the category of sometimes or maybe. When important context is needed, we add that. In this fact brief, for example, we said while some businesses would see a tax increase, the overwhelming majority would not, undercutting the claim that 95% of businesses would see an “automatic” tax increase.

In addition to claims that are partially true or false, we are unable to check claims for which there are no credible, available sources to verify or dispute them. Fact briefs are limited to 150 words, so some claims are simply too complicated to be explained with such brevity.

Usually, the sources for the claims are readily available online. But when they are not, we contact the claimant to ask for the source. If we are unable to obtain either online sources or sources from the claimant, we skip them.

And sometimes we just want to have fun. So occasionally you’ll see a fact check like this one: Did Tony Evers say ‘holy mackerel’ in announcing his win early Wednesday morning?

More About our Fact Checking


At Wisconsin Watch, every report we produce goes through a rigorous review. An editor typically spends between eight and 12 hours verifying each and every word.

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Dee J. Hall, a co-founder of Wisconsin Watch, joined the staff as managing editor in June 2015. She is responsible for daily news operations. She worked at the Wisconsin State Journal for 24 years as an editor and reporter focusing on projects and investigations.

A 1982 graduate of Indiana University’s journalism school, Hall served reporting internships at the weekly Lake County Star in Crown Point, Ind., The Gary (Ind.) Post-Tribune, The Louisville (Ky.) Times and The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times. Prior to returning to her hometown of Madison in 1990, she was a reporter for eight years at The Arizona Republic newspaper in Phoenix, where she covered city government, schools and the environment. During her 35-year journalism career, Hall has won more than three dozen local, state and national awards for her work, including the 2001 State Journal investigation that uncovered a $4 million-a-year secret campaign machine operated by Wisconsin’s top legislative leaders.