Blog | 09/14/17

Here’s the Facts (About Free the Facts)!

Did you know the word fact dates back to the 1500s? That’s a fact.

How do I know?

I can verify it. I can read this dictionary entry or this article by historian David Wootton. I can even track down the documents Wootton references, read them, and confirm that, in the 1500s, the word fact meant “something done” or the “act of doing”. Today, of course, we use it to describe something even more powerful: the truth. And we rely on it to form our opinions and make decisions.

Where do we get the facts we need?

We don’t have time to track down all the facts we need. So we rely on people to conduct the research and determine what’s verifiable and what’s unreliable. In short, the act of fact finding requires that we trust fact-producing institutions.

By that measure, we’re in real trouble. Every year, the public relations firm Edelman measures public trust in four institutions: government, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and the media. This year, Edelman found that “the U.S. is enduring the worst collapse [the survey has] ever recorded”. Trust in every category dropped by double-digits, leading Edelman to brand 2018 as the year of “The Battle for the Truth.” That’s a real problem. Without sources we trust, we don’t have the information we need to effectively debate public policy. That’s the void Free the Facts is trying to fill.

We’re building a community around reliable information.

Through our leadership programs, online resources, and policy projects and tours, we are helping our country’s brightest young minds tackle our biggest policy challenges.

That means we’re asking you to trust us. If you do, here’s our promise to you:

We will provide you with factual information from reliable sources – and we will tell you where we got that information and why we’re using it.

We will give you access to policy experts who will serve as your tour guides through factual information about complex topics.

We will empower you to make your own judgments, form your own opinions, and develop your own solutions. We will provide you with opportunities to make a meaningful difference on your campus, in your community, and in our democracy.

We will take the trust you put in us seriously.

We are here to answer your questions and provide information, not sell an ideology.

We will welcome people of all viewpoints and affiliations who are interested in having a civil, productive conversation.