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Broadly, vetting is a process of examination and evaluation. Specifically, vetting often refers to performing a background check on someone before offering them employment. In addition, in intelligence gathering, assets are vetted to determine their usefulness.
To vet was originally a horse-racing term, referring to the requirement that a horse be checked for health and soundness by a veterinarian before being allowed to race. Thus, it has taken the general meaning “to check.”
A party’s presidential nominee must choose a vice-presidential candidate to accompany him or her on the ticket. Prospective vice-presidential candidates must undergo thorough evaluation by a team of advisers acting on behalf of the nominee. In later stages of the vetting process, the team will examine such items as a prospective vice-presidential candidate’s finances, personal conduct, and previous coverage in the media.
In the journalism field, newspaper, periodical, and television news articles or stories may be vetted by fact-checkers, whose job it is to check whether factual assertions made in news copy are correct. However, fact-checking is a time-consuming and costly process, so stories in daily publications are typically not fact-checked. Reporters are expected to check their own writing, sometimes with the aid of an in-house reference library. Information which is verified by two independent sources is commonly stated as fact.
In book publishing, the duty of fact-checking commonly falls to copy editors.
Even when published or televised material is not specifically fact-checked, it is often vetted by a company’s legal department to avoid committing slander or libel.
Vetting is also a reference to software development. The process of vetting code refers to ensuring a build of software meets a set of very high level requirements before the build is passed to the quality assurance environment for further testing.
Vetting can refer to the process of analyzing stocks, bonds, and any other securities and financial instruments before committing money.