By Dante Ramos
Reviewing: Settle It!
By: Times Publishing Company
Platforms: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android
Should you get it?: Only if you're heroically optimistic about the ability of a little phone app to resolve profound ideological differences.
Sometimes, earnest isn't enough. While campaign truth-squad efforts like the Tampa Bay Times's PolitiFact provide a useful corrective to a political campaign - check out my previous post on PolitiFact's main mobile app - you tend to use them more out of civic obligation than because of the sheer joy of fact-checking claims about budget sequesters.
So to raise the amusement factor, PolitiFact repackages its content once again, this time as an app that purports to settle disputes about whether, for instance, President Obama really did go around the world apologizing for America, as Mitt Romney charges. The app designers presumably figured questions like that one would come up over family dinner tables and in ideologically integrated barrooms across America. Just search on "apologizing," and let the fun begin!
Well, not exactly. The problem is that if the person on the other side of your bar bet doesn't accept PolitiFact as a neutral authority, Settle It! won't settle anything at all.
The app has a few other features, most notably a quiz game; the app presents you with one of various claims that PolitiFact has assessed, and you guess whether it was judged "true," "false," or "pants on fire."
In practice, though, the game gets tedious. When you know that a given claim is false, it's annoying to be docked points for not knowing PolitiFact went further and rated it "pants on fire." And after each round comes the now-obligatory prompt to share your results on social media.
Much more so than the PolitiFact Mobile app, Settle It! accentuates the subjective aspects of what PolitiFact does. Political junkies should go ahead and download the main app, but give a pass to this one.