Big tech’s efforts to fight “misinformation” are growing as they bring on supposedly neutral fact-checking groups to expose lies. The problem is these fact-checkers have the same liberal biases as the news media and social media companies and often aren’t checking facts, so much as opinions they dislike. It’s narrative checking.
FactCheck.org is one of them. The site is the granddaddy of all the fact-checkers. Launched in 2003, it’s a bit stodgier and more academic than its competitors. It shuns flashy ratings scales involving Pinnochios or Pants on Fire, because they are not scientific. FactCheck’s Co-founder Brooks Jackson said, “I have never felt that we had any sort of academically respectable way to measure the degree of mendacity in a statement.”
But that doesn’t make the group unbiased. Journalism is dominated by liberals and fact-checking is run by journalists, so bias is the natural outcome. FactCheck focuses far more on President Donald Trump than other politicians. The site has also failed to expose the media when it accepted Chinese propaganda, and has defended Planned Parenthood and climate alarmist and children’s television star Bill Nye “The Science Guy” against valid conservative criticism.
Historically, fact-checking was started to help liberals.The frustration of being unable to defend a Democrat from an attack ad spawned fact-checking organizations like FactCheck.org. Jackson told Politico they evolved from journalists’ discontent over an ad targeting Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis in 1988.
FactCheck.org may be older, but these days it is in with the in-crowd at Facebook, Instagram, Google and YouTube. All four tech companies partner with the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) run by the liberal Poynter Institute, which receives funding from many liberals, including billionaire George Soros.
FactCheck is one of IFCN’s certified fact-checkers. The organization’s funding page indicates Facebook paid it more than $300,000 in 2020 for being a fact-checking partner with the social media giant. Google also donated $100,000 for the group to fight COVID-19 misinformation.
- The liberal media panicked in April, claiming the U.S. had more deaths from coronavirus than China. Despite U.S. officials and media outlets warning China was undercounting deaths, all nine of Facebook’s IFCN fact-checkers (including FactCheck.org) failed to expose these media stories as false or partly false given that China was almost certainly lying about the number of deaths.
- When Trump used a partial video highlighting an obvious Biden gaffe where the Democrat uttered the words “we can only re-elect Donald Trump,” FactCheck was upset by the “deceptive editing.” Yet, this is the kind of editing used by news media, pundits and campaigns of all stripes.
- Like its competitors, FactCheck focused almost exclusively on the president’s State of The Union speech in 2020, barely noticing the Democratic response. In total, the site checked 14 Trump statements, and offered just one sentence about Gov. Whitmer’s falsehood that wages “stagnated” under Trump. Although its ratio was better than some other fact-checkers.
- FactCheck provides fact-checks to Facebook and Google, liberal companies with biases. In 2018, the MRC found Google listing “reviewed claims” against 6 of the top 20 conservatives news sites, and not a single one of the top 20 liberal outlets. In 2020, it became a fact-checker for YouTube, a sister company to Google.
- Trump is a favorite target of fact-checkers, a fact confirmed by The Guardian when it wrote about the “exhausting” work of fact-checking him. “We haven’t had a break,” said FactCheck director Eugene Kiely. “I don’t want to write about Donald Trump every day. I would like to write about some other things. But it is what it is.”
- FactCheck.org partnered with other liberal fact-checkers for the FactStream app project (paid for by the left). It attempted to provide live fact-checking during political events like the State of the Union. In 2019, the app crashed only a few minutes into the speech.
- All the big fact-checking groups, including FactCheck, let liberal Stacey Abrams claim “I won,” after she lost the 2018 Georgia governor's race.
- FactCheck.org is part of the Annenberg School at University of Pennsylvania. It was funded exclusively by the Annenberg Foundation through 2010. After 2010, it continued to receive funding from the foundation, as well as the Flora Family Foundation and individual donations. The Annenberg Foundation has ties to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, who ran the Chicago Annenberg Challenge with former President Barack Obama from 1995-2001.
- Watts Up With That called out FactCheck.org in 2016, for splitting hairs in order to accuse Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., of lying about hydraulic fracturing.
- FactCheck helped spread the idea that undercover video of Planned Parenthood was deceptively edited, by publishing a so-called fact-check “Unspinning the Planned Parenthood video.” It hit conservatives for saying the group was making a “profit” selling aborted baby body parts. And while a statute discussing the remuneration of human fetal tissue does appear to provide a fig leaf for Planned Parenthood to hide behind, the for “profit” or not for “profit” distinction seems an absurd thing to emphasize when the ghastly larger point was 100% accurate. Planned Parenthood sold baby body parts.
- Bill Nye has an earned degree in engineering, not climatology or any other science. But FactCheck.org defended him in order to smear Sarah Palin for calling him “as much of a scientist as I” and criticizing his global warming alarmism.
- When President Obama’s administration provided states with a workaround for welfare work requirements, critics accused him rightly of getting rid of work requirements. CNN, backed by FactCheck.org and others insisted this was a “campaign distortion” and “false claim.”
- It lists Pamela Geller’s website in its “misinformation directory.”
Contact FactCheck.org: (215) 898-9400, Editor@FactCheck.org, Facebook, Twitter or by mail: 202 S. 36th St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-3806