In the words of the person who noticed this, “What a difference a [top-level domain] makes”:
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Well, the reason they keep mentioning Halliburton is because they’re trying to throw up a smoke screen. They know the charges are false. They know if you go, for example, to factcheck.com, an independent website sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania, you can get the specific details, with respect to Halliburton.
Cheney probably meant factcheck.org; factcheck.com is, er, a little different. It’s not clear quite how much factcheck.org really helps Cheney’s case, but I’m pretty sure that factcheck.com doesn’t.
UPDATE: Someone reports: “On a [Democratic] blog last night, the full story appeared. When the VP said .com, someone went there and noticed that the domain wasn’t registered. He BOUGHT IT, right then and there, then did a redirect to the Soros site.” I don’t know whether it’s true or not, but it’s pretty funny. (I checked the WHOIS record for this, and it reveals that the name had been technically registered a long time ago, but I take it the reader is claiming that the name was owned by a registrar, and was then quickly bought from the registrar.)
FURTHER UPDATE: Reader Neil Klopfenstein suggests that the story behind the factcheck.com site is different, and points to this Wall Street Journal item, cited by Kevin Drum at the now-misnamed Washington Monthly:
FactCheck.com is owned by Name Administration Inc., a Cayman Islands company that engages in so-called “domain parking” — it acquires discarded Web sites and monetizes the traffic with text advertising.
The site had been showing education-related ads, mostly for online-degree programs, when Mr. Cheney mentioned the site during the debate. Suddenly, Name Administration saw a surge in traffic — about 50,000 unique visitors in the first hour — which costs the company money for Internet bandwidth, according to John Berryhill, Name Administration’s attorney.
. . . . So employees redirected traffic to the Soros site, not because of any request nor payment from Mr. Soros’s organization or supporters, but based on their own political viewpoints, Mr. Berryhill said. “Individuals within the company are favorably disposed to George Soros’s political point of view,” said Mr. Berryhill. . . .
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