With all this talk about “Fake News”, a few well-known “fact-checking” sites have slipped under the radar. Slinked back into the woodwork from whence they came.
Yes I believe so. As the Washington Post originally defined it: fake news is advancing narratives under the false pretense of objectivity.
Oh no no. But these fact checking websites are unbiased arbiters of truth. They must be given our full trust and allegiance.
First I want to point out that just because a source is biased, does not necessarily mean that what they say is false.
People make that mistake all the time. “Oh that’s FoxNews, I won’t listen to that!”
Listen to the arguments presented, if it’s wrong, say where it’s wrong.
The difference is that FoxNews employs mostly opinion journalists. They all say they are opinion journalists. They are not pretending to be straight news.
Unlike the 3 foremost fact-checking websites: PolitiFact, Snopes and FactCheck.org.
PolitiFact is run by the Tampa Bay Times which is a known liberal newspaper.
PolitiFact is no different. They have Issued 11x more “pants on fire” rulings to Republicans than Democrats. Labeling Republican falsehoods “lies” 11x as often as they do Democrat falsehoods. Opting for the more friendly “mistake” to Democrat falsehoods. Double standard. Bias.
A good example of this double standard was when Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump made virtually the same claim about black unemployment. PolitiFact rated Bernie Sanders “mostly true”, while Trump’s “mostly false”.
The problem is not just bias under the false pretense of objectivity. It’s also terrible analysis. PolitiFact frequently relies on liberal opinions as a benchmark to judge facts. Of course Republicans are going to be rated negatively when you start with the premise that Democrat opinions are true and Republican opinions are false. It’s one of the dumbest standards I’ve ever seen.
Politifact started with this premise when they repeatedly labeled as “false”, Mitt Romney’s correct portrayal of the deficiencies of Obamacare such as people losing their healthcare plan. But for Obama’s lie about “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan”, Politifact gave a half-truth. What? In 2013 they changed to give that one the “lie of the year”. Perhaps because of the heavy criticism they received.
Reporter Joseph Rago. who won a Pulitzer prize for some of his work identifying PolitiFact’s faulty fact checking put it this way: “PolitiFact’s decree is part of a larger journalistic trend that seeks to recast all political debates as matters of lies, misinformation and ‘facts,’ rather than differences of worldview or principles. PolitiFact wants to define for everyone else what qualifies as a ‘fact,’ though in political debates the facts are often legitimately in dispute.”
PolitiFact also frequently judges events in the future. Such as the effectiveness of the Iran deal. Editorializing about the deals stated intent as if they are certainties.
For this method they have been criticized for misunderstanding the basic definition of what a fact is.
Jon Cassidy from Human Events said: “PolitiFact has lost sight of what is known to be fact. It’s even forgotten what the word means: ‘an event or thing known to have happened or existed’.
Yet PolitiFact is forever peering into the future, citing 10-year budget projections and expert predictions. But the future is not a thing done; it is multifarious and infinite. The past is a yes-or-no question.”
For example, when Sarah Palin warned that Obamacare could lead to death panels, PolitiFact judged this future projection as 2009’s “lie of the year”. Except that the law did give government the authority to ration care as it saw fit. Which is what death panels are, judging who should receive care and who should not.
Jon Cassady continued: “PolitiFact’s ‘death panels’ fact-check never considered whether President Obama’s contemporaneous ‘IMAC’ proposal would, under standard principles of administrative law, enable the federal government to ration care as Palin claimed.”
In 2012, Howard Dean and some Democratic congressmen also expressed similar concerns about said Obamacare provisions and wanted them repealed. Dean called the provisions “essentially a health-care rationing body”.
Sarah Palin on The Five in 2012: “it defies all common sense to ever consider that health care won’t be rationed, when, obviously with more .. enrollees .. and fewer .. services … provided … of course, healthcare in a socialized system… will be rationed.”
But these specific provisions were not scheduled to kick in until 2021, so nobody knows for sure how it would play out, it’s speculation. But Politifact treated their speculation as fact. Which led them to deem anything different than their rosy projections as a lie, even, “lie of the year”. This is not fact-checking, it’s partisanship.
Snopes was started as a Mom and Pop (and cat) operation by David and Barbara Mikkelson pictured here:
As of 2015, these two have divorced (not sure who got the cat). David has since married Snopes staffer Elyssa Young, former adult film actress and escort. She ran for congress in 2004 on the libertarian ticket with the slogan “Re-Defeat Bush’. and handed out condoms with the slogan “don’t get screwed again”.
One of Snopes’ main political fact checkers is self-described liberal Kim Lacapria. Lacapria referred to the Tea Party as Teahadists and accused conservatives of “‘fearing female agency’ because they disagreed with a comment Lena Dunham made. Far-left red flags. She has also made comments online indicating she’s been high while writing her fact checks.
But as I said, just because a person is biased, (or high, as the case may be) does not necessarily mean they don’t write fair and competent fact checks.
So do they?
Same as PolitiFact, they don’t. They typically give conservatives unfair treatment while playing patty cake with liberals.
And like PolitiFact, their analysis is terrible.
For example, this recent story about the crash of Target’s stock price:
Brietbart claimed that Target’s stock price was falling because of a boycott by people upset about Target’s comments over transgender bathrooms.
Snopes wrote: “Target shares did plunge on 28 February 2017, but it wasn’t due to its nearly year-old bathroom policy. The drop was due to 2017 guidance announced during an investor day event. Projections were far lower than expected by Wall Street analysts (the term “guidance” means projected earnings). The drop in Target stock corresponds to the announcement made at their investor event.”
Well why do you think the projected earnings are down dumb-dumbs? Maybe because of the boycott? What stupid analysis! Was this done by a 5-year-old? That’s like saying a woman wants to break up with her husband because she doesn’t trust him to be faithful. Then Breitbart says “it’s because he frequently cheated on her.” And Snopes says “no, it’s because she doesn’t trust him to be faithful.” It’s simple A = B = C, then you say A = C and Snopes objects. Really terrible.
Further, how in the world would Snopes know why millions of different investors choose to buy or sell stock in Target? It’s total speculation. They are treating their opinion as if it is fact. And judging all other opinions against that standard. That is compliance checking with liberal dogma, it is not fact checking.
“But Brietbart did the same thing, they gave their opinion too.”
They did give their opinion, but they are not a fact-checking site. They are an opinion site. They are not claiming to be objective fact-checkers. Unlike Snopes.
How about a Trump one, that usually exposes the left-wing bias in any media organization. Snopes fact checked this meme:
Snopes said this was true which technically it is. However Snopes left out many important details that change the entire narrative.
Snopes failed to mention that Obama’s golf outings were usually with 3 of his high school buddies. That’s a bit different than Trump meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan which is the only outing Snopes knows the details of.
That is not goofing off, it’s part of diplomacy and building rapport. What’s Trump supposed to do, twiddle his thumbs in the oval office while he and Prime Minster Shinzō Abe look at each other awkwardly? Snopes spun the “fact check” “analysis” to paint Trump as a hypocrite or lay-about. Trump’s schedule is full, he is known for working long hours and sleeping only a few hours a night. Also not mentioned by Snopes.
Omitting key details to paint a false negative picture of Trump. Partisanship..
One more for Snopes: Hillary Clinton defended a child rapist in court when she was a 27-year old lawyer. Snopes fact checked a meme about it:
Here is what Snopes said about each point:
- “Hillary Clinton Volunteered to be his lawyer”. Snopes wrote “Hillary Clinton did not volunteer to be the defendant’s lawyer.” Citing Hillary’s stated position that she didn’t and that she asked to be removed from the case. Snopes also cited the opposing attorney who corroborated Hillary’s account.
The only problem is Hillary also said she “took the job as a favor” to the prosecuting attorney. That seems to conflict with her statement that she wanted to be removed from the case. Why would she ask to be removed from a job she is doing as a favor for someone? That doesn’t make sense. Snopes rated this claim in the meme as false, yet Snopes did not catch the contradiction. They cherry picked what made Hillary look more favorable.
2. Point 2 in the meme: “In court, Hillary told the judge that I made up a rape story because I enjoyed fantasizing about older men.” Snopes said it wasn’t Hillary who said this, it was “other people, including an expert in child psychology.” Well who does Snopes think called on those other people to testify? Hillary Clinton. When a lawyer calls their witnesses to testify, all the questions and answers are orchestrated. The attorney doesn’t surprise their own witnesses with gotcha questions or attempts to trip them up. They know exactly what they are doing and how the witnesses will respond. She cannot hide behind the defense that she wasn’t the one who actually said it. But that’s the phony alibi Snopes gave her.
- “Hillary got my rapist freed.” Snopes rated that as true and false saying “Hillary didn’t “free” the defendant in the case. Instead, the prosecuting attorney agreed to a plea deal.”
Snopes went on to claim the little girl and Mother just wanted the case over with to spare them embarrassment and pain. If you didn’t catch that, that was Snopes characterizing Hillary as helpful to a rape victim after Hillary helped the rapist get away with rape! The now 54-year old victim doesn’t think Hillary was helpful saying “Every time I see [Clinton] on TV I just want to reach in there and grab her.” Also, if the girl and her Mom just wanted the case over, why didn’t they drop the case? That would have been a quick fix. Because they didn’t want it over, they wanted justice for a 12 year old girl that was raped. As any parent would.
Maybe they did want a plea deal as Snopes claims. But that doesn’t mean they want the rapist released. A plea deal could mean many years in jail.
They didn’t get that. The man was released with time served.
What Snopes failed also failed to mention is Hillary’s dirty tricks in the case. It was on the video Snopes provided, but not mentioned in Snopes’ analysis. Hillary said:
“But you know what was sad about it is that the prosecutors had evidence, among which was his underwear…which was bloody. Sent it down to the crime lab. The crime lab took the pair of underpants, neatly cut out the part that they were gonna test, tested it, came back with the result of what kind of blood it was, what was mixed in with it–then sent the pants back with the hole in it to evidence. Of course the crime lab had thrown away the piece they had cut out.”
Hillary sent the the underwear with the cut out hole from Arkansas to a lab in Brooklyn. That lab said they couldn’t test it because the evidence part was cut out. So Hillary used this ‘no evidence’ sham as leverage to broker a plea deal for time served. Why wouldn’t Snopes mention that? Maybe because it doesn’t make Hillary look good.
- “in 1980, Hillary gave an interview where she admitted she knew he was guilty.” Snopes said it was false writing because Hillary couldn’t possibly have known that unless she were present when the incident in question occurred. That’s the standard? You can’t know something happened unless you were physically there? Then why even have a trial at all? Obviously the judge can’t know what happened because he wasn’t there, right? No, that’s stupid analysis.
We can determine that Hillary thought he was guilty by her words and behavior. She called the case “terrible”. Is it terrible to defend an innocent client or is it terrible that a 12-year old was raped? The rape was terrible…. Hillary also said “I don’t want to represent this guy.” Why would she not want to represent an innocent man? Because she didn’t think he was innocent. On the video Snopes provided Hillary said “he passed a polygraph test. Which forever made me lose faith in polygraphs HAHA” Why would that ruin her faith in polygraph tests? Because she believed him to be guilty.
Why do I feel like I’m doing the job Snopes didn’t do? Like I’m cleaning up their mess?
Snopes added this to their analysis:
“It’s also largely irrelevant (whether Hillary thought he was guilty or not) given that under Hillary Clinton’s handling of the case, the defendant pled guilty rather than going to trial and asserting his innocence.”
The lies! He pled guilty………. TO A LESSER CHARGE. Of fondling, not to rape. Snopes left that important detail out. Making it seem like the man pled guilty to rape. Which gives a false impression of the entire case! Snope and mirrors.
Snopes rated the meme as “mostly false”. Yet mostly everything if not everything in it was true. Hillary helped a child rapist go free and Snopes helped Hillary cover up something that didn’t make her look good.
I like cats as much as the next person. But Snopes does not show competency in discerning fact vs fiction. Instead cherry picking evidence confirmation bias with horrendous reasoning.
This is another organization run by liberals. FactCheck was started by The Annenberg Foundation. Walter Annenberg was a conservative and friend of Ronald Reagan. However since his death, the organization has funded organizations that include far left liberal professor and unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers and then-community organizer Barack Obama. The Anninburg foundation more recently gave between $100,000 – $1,000,000 to the Clinton Foundation. It has veered from the founders original intent.
It’s fact checking arm seems to be the same formula as the other two, liberal slant under the guise of objective fact-checking. With bad reasoning.
FactCheck.org checked Trump’s recent speech before congress. The first 3 points in question:
- “Trump said the U.S. has spent $6 trillion in the Middle East and “with this $6 trillion we could have rebuilt our country.” The amount spent so far is $1.7 trillion, according to the Defense Department.”
The article does go onto say that projected total cost is $6 billion which is the number Trump is referring to. But that we haven’t spent that much YET. Therefore they take issue with Trump stating this number in the past tense.
Nitpicky. I seriously doubt they would make the same criticism of Obama if he did similar.
- “He cherry-picked the findings of a recent report, saying it found immigration costs U.S. taxpayers “billions of dollars a year.” The report said immigration “has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth.”
This one is funny because in this instance Trump is operating as a better fact checker than they are. As stated previously, facts are about what has already happened. Projecting into the future is not fact. Trump did cherry pick. He cherry picked the fact out of the report. He left out the future projection which is OPINION. An opinion FactCheck treated as if it is fact. Likely because it aligns with their bias. As Trump would say, “sad”.
- Trump said “94 million Americans are out of the labor force,” a figure that includes the retired, college students and stay-at-home parents. The vast majority — 88.5 million — said they didn’t want a job.
It’s fair to say that not all 94 Americans want jobs or are able to work. But that’s not the main point. The point is that millions of Americans are not working. Many Americans are underemployed. Others want a more preferable job or to start a business. And some of the people would prefer to remain on government assistance rather than work. That is also an issue. The point is that the economy and job market could improve and Trump’s aims to do that. So what’s wrong with that? FactCheck doesn’t mind providing further context if they think it damages Trumps point. But they didn’t provide the further context if it would make Trump look good. Sad.
It’s not just the bias under the false pretense of fairness. It’s not just poor analysis. It’s cherry picking of what these organizations choose to fact check. After the debates, these fact checkers choose to check Donald Trump’s assertions much more than Hillary Clinton’s. As this video shows:
These websites do not deserve a special status as truth-arbiters simply because they decree it upon themselves. That’s circular logic. They should be treated the same way as any website. Judged on the merits of what they say. But in fact, these sites should be looked at more scepticly because they have shown they have no problem operating under deceptive pretenses. They attempt to gain people’s trust based on perceived objectivity that they do not live up to. Millions have been deceived by them.
A whistle-blower who called out Snopes wrote: “Just as with any online “resource,” you should do your own homework when it comes to fact-checking. Most often it isn’t that hard to divine the truth and you will be better informed with first-source information for doing so. In a world where everyone believes their opinions to be valid, all of us are forced to do our due diligence in the quest for the truth.”