EducationMedia DisinformationPhilosophyPsychologyTechnology

Who Is Checking The Fact-Checkers?

posted by keeb May 21, 2020

Many people are taking it for granted that these fact checkers are the quintessence of neutrality and unbiased reporting. Well, judge for yourself.

Deciding What’s True: The Rise of Political Fact-Checking in American Journalism. 

The fact that Facebook has more people on their PR staff than there are formal fact checkers in the world demonstrates the disproportionality of the situation. On preliminary investigation, this is only a small part of the problem.  I have been looking at the funding sources of these organisations. Within just a few hours of research it has become glaringly apparent that it would be utterly naïve not to question their impartiality. 


I am not alone in this concern. Danish journalist Iben Thranholm said she was shocked that such obviously partisan fact-checkers would be allowed to control the narrative in United States politics.

It gave me goosebumps to hear those names because they have actually a very strong political agenda. It’s like there are a lot of people who think that its dangerous not to be able to control the media, so to sort out what is supposedly the real news and the fake news is actually a way to control the narrative. So if you want to be in opposition to these political powers then you are going to be censored. Of course this is a kind of censorship.


My ‘Follow The Money’ Findings – in just 2 hours of research

Fact Checker 
Set up by the Washington Post. Owned by Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame. 

Fact Check.org and Fact Check Ed.org 
Funded by the Annenberg Foundation, who family fortune was made in publishing. Also, Flora Family Foundation, established by the family of the Hewlett-Packard Company’s co-founder William R. Hewlett and his wife Flora in 1998.

Influence Watch 
Top donors are Exxon-Mobil and Koch Industries.

SciCheck 
Financed by the Stanton Foundation. Set up by Frank Stanton, president of CBS from 1946 to 1971. Has deals with CNN, USA Today, NBC, Huffington Post. 

Real Clear Politics 
Checking the Fact Checkers. Forbes own 51% of the shareholdings.  

Media Bias 
Media Bias Fact Check relies on two third party advertising companies, Google Adsense and Newor Media.

We use third party advertising because it allows us to be free from influence”.

No. Ads are generated by the above providers through the use of cookies, your search history and the content of the pages you are viewing. This has been uncovered to be true for Facebook and Google, in fact for almost everyone.

MBFC in no way has control over the ads you see displayed. Hence, we are not motivated by payment from a single corporation, person or political party. To successfully earn money from advertising we need consistent page views, therefore our sole mission is to provide quality content that will bring people back to our website.

Notice you use the word ‘single’, a truthful statement that omits all the facts. You rely heavily on Google, who absolutely does this, and Newor Media.

Note for Hyper-Partisan Conspiracy Theorists- Despite your vivid imagination, we are not funded by Soros or the Koch’s or any other Globalist and/or Nationalist organizations. We are the most independent bias rater out there. Get a life!

Interesting Ad-Hominem attack. This is epistemological sense-making. My life may or may not be great, I don’t need to justify anything. Instead, I want a high signal / low noise information ecology in order to make better decisions.

Politifact (Truth-O-Meter) 
Primarily from Poynter Institute. Also Democracy Fund, and the Craig Newmark Foundation. Contract with NBC

Poynter Institute receives funding from: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: Annie E. Casey Foundation, Charles Koch Foundation, Democracy Fund, Facebook, Google News Initiative, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Lumina Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, McClatchy Foundation, Mellon Foundation, Miami Foundation, National Endowment for Democracy, Newmark Philanthropies, Newton & Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust, Omidyar Network | Luminate, Open Society Foundations, Peter & Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation, Philadelphia Foundation, H.F. Lenfest Fund, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Tides Foundation (Google.org)

Articles by its own funders say Politifact is unbiased. That’s an obvious conflict of interest.
Poynter
Democracy Fund

Truth or Fiction.com 
Does not primarily provide fact-checking about current events.

Snopes 
Self-funded by Crowd Sourcing with additional contract with Facebook, now cancelled due to FB forcing unfair and opaque working condition onto its partners. 

“Apple News and Google News don’t have the mission or the mandate to ensure we have a healthy discourse online. Someone has to step up who has an interest in making sure the content flowing through the pipes is credible and reliable — so we’re stepping up. But our only access to capital and reach is what we grow ourselves.” Good verified accuracy by Fact Check.org, but Fact Check.org is potentially an incestuous body.

Here is a story by Kalev Leetaru (from Forbes) on Checking The Fact Checkers
(aware of the logical fallacy here, based on a previous citation; parking that for the sake of time and yes you can criticize, I would too)

When I reached out to David Mikkelson, the founder of Snopes, for comment, I fully expected him to respond with a lengthy email in Snopes’ trademark point-by-point format, fully refuting each and every one of the claims in the Daily Mail’s article and writing the entire article off as “fake news.”

It was with incredible surprise therefore that I received David’s one-sentence response which read in its entirety “I’d be happy to speak with you, but I can only address some aspects in general because I’m precluded by the terms of a binding settlement agreement from discussing details of my divorce.”

This absolutely astounded me. Here was the one of the world’s most respected fact checking organizations, soon to be an ultimate arbitrator of “truth” on Facebook, saying that it cannot respond to a fact checking request because of a secrecy agreement. In short, when someone attempted to fact check the fact checker, the response was the equivalent of “it’s secret.”

It is impossible to understate how antithetical this is to the fact checking world, in which absolute openness and transparency are necessary prerequisites for trust. How can fact checking organizations like Snopes expect the public to place trust in them if when they themselves are called into question, their response is that they can’t respond.

Wikipedia

No need to donate. Really.

People will come up to me during fundraising season and ask if Wikipedia’s in trouble,” said Andrew Lih, an associate professor of journalism at American University and the author of “The Wikipedia Revolution.” “I have to reassure them that not only is Wikipedia not in trouble, but that it’s making more money than ever before and is at no risk of going away.

In the fiscal year that ended last June, WMF reported net assets in excess of $77 million — about one and a half times the amount it actually takes to fund the site for a year. On Dec. 3, 2014 — the single biggest day of last year’s fundraising campaign — the foundation pocketed enough money to power Wikipedia’s servers for 66 straight weeks.

This sort of financial situation is actually far from unusual among large non-profits, which hope to guard against future shortfalls by amassing current reserves. But when the Wikimedia Foundation follows that model, it gets reprimanded: It grew out of the near-anarchic online community surrounding the wiki movement, and is still beholden to its ethics.

While the encyclopedia is written and edited entirely by unpaid volunteers, the Wikimedia Foundation handles servers and legal services and tech support and otherwise keeps the lights on. The unpaid volunteers are by definition the consensus, but we know the consensus is not always true; especially if it has been groomed.


The U.K.

BBC Reality Check 
BBC

Full Fact
Will Moy from Hacked Off, part funded by Google and George Soros

FactCheckNI
Horizon 2020 Programme at the European Commission

The FactCheck Blog 
Channel 4 News

Ferret – Scotland  
Funded by Google Digital News Initiative


Extra Article by Baxter Dmitry

Social media giant Facebook has announced that its fight against fake news will involve third-party fact-checking organizations, however there are grave concerns about the legitimacy of those groups after it was revealed George Soros and Bill Gates, as well as other Clinton donors are funding the fact-checking drive.

Many people are taking it for granted that these fact checkers are the quintessence of neutrality and unbiased reporting. Well, judge for yourself.

Facebook released a statement on December 15 advising users that they were starting a program to “work with third-party fact checking organizations that are signatories of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles (IFCN)”.

Here’s an interesting fact about Poynter, the self-proclaimed “global leader in journalism”. They are funded by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy (which has financial links to the State Department), Ebay’s Omidyar Foundation, and Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist who donated a massive $1 million to Poynter to create this anti fake news mechanism.

Facebook released a statement on December 15 advising users that they were starting a program to “work with third-party fact-checking organizations that are signatories of Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Code of Principles (IFCN)”.

Craig Newmark is also a Clinton campaign donor. As is George Soros and Bill Gates, both big time supporters of the Clinton Foundation as well as Hillary’s election campaign fund. And another Poynter donor, Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar, is also a massive donor to Clinton, giving millions of dollars to the Foundation.


I am aware Ben Swann has his own agenda, like many activists who have monetized their platforms trying to gain differential power using distorted narratives to coalesce support. Yes, the below is a form of information weaponization pushing a certain view. Acknowledging this and keeping that in mind, the video is still worthwhile to listen to if only to understand another’s perspective of censorship.


Philosophical Point of Inquiry. If you are relying upon these sources as impartial information and then push these “checked-facts” out into your social circles without being aware of the biases, methodologies, funding sources, objectives, interests, and agendas then you have inadvertently become a cog in the wheel of collectivism, which has a trance-like nature (even among the intellectuals). What happens when this goes unchecked?

Here is what Hannah Arendt has to say.

What we regard as Evil is capable of a fairly ubiquitous presence if only because it tends to appear in the guise of good.

A core cause of this perplexity lies in the fact that while acts of evil can mushroom into monumental tragedies, the individual human perpetrators of those acts are often marked not with the grandiosity of the demonic but with absolute mundanity.

The essence of totalitarian government, and perhaps the nature of every bureaucracy, is to make functionaries and mere cogs in the administrative machinery out of men, and thus to dehumanize them.

Hannah Arendt

My final words are: Be careful. You owe it to yourself and your children. Please watch Daniel Schmachtenberger (The War of Sense-Making Part 2) below. Become a better researcher and be aware of the importance of personalism and objectivism in order to be more clear so that you are more reserved about polluting the information ecology.

Daniel Schmachtenberger with Rebel Wisdom

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