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Political Editors / May 6, 2019

Poynter Pulls List of ‘Unreliable’ News Sites Over Its Unreliability

The list included over 500 mostly right-leaning websites. No bias there.

The Poynter Institute, an outfit that bills itself as a nonprofit journalism organization, created a list of what it identified as “unreliable” news sites, only to pull it a short time later following an outcry. The list of 515 websites included a broad spectrum of mostly right-leaning news outfits — everything from mainstream center-right news to extreme-right conspiracy-theory sites. Conservative news sites such as the Washington Examiner, The Washington Free Beacon, The Daily Signal, and your humble staff here at The Patriot Post were included in this list of “unreliable news websites” and labeled as “biased” or worse. The great irony is that Poynter, a journalism outfit claiming to combat the peddling of fake news, was itself peddling fake news.

While Leftmedia outlets regularly malign conservative news sites as “unreliable” and biased, what caught everyone’s attention was the stated aim of the Poynter list. Barbara Allen, Poynter’s managing editor, explained that the reasons for creating the “unreliable” list were “to provide a useful tool for readers to gauge the legitimacy of the information they were consuming” and to serve as a “blacklist” resource to advertisers for sites to avoid.

The Washington Examiner was quick to report on the story, observing, “The really curious thing here is not that a pro-journalism group’s blacklist would include right-leaning newsrooms, but that such an organization would produce a blacklist at all. There is something discordant about a group whose mission is to champion ‘freedom of expression, civil dialogue and compelling journalism’ simultaneously being in the business of blacklisting real (albeit opinionated) news organizations as ‘unreliable.’”

After removing the dubious list from its site, Allen posted a letter apologizing “for the confusion and agitation” and pledged to hold Poynter to a higher standard. With the group of leftist “fact checkers” that Poynter gathered to produce this initial slanderous list, call us skeptical of the “reliability” of any future lists. How about applying the novel idea of simply reporting the news and letting the American people decide for themselves what they think and whom they will trust? Facebook, take note.

As Mark Alexander concludes, “These emerging self-appointed media-rating organizations, promoting themselves as the guardians and arbiters of truth, pose a perilous hazard to free speech, the foundation for discernment of the truth. The hypocritical irony is that their ‘rating’ of news bias is irrevocably shaped by their own bias. Consequently, the media blacklists created by these ‘truth arbiters’ pose a greater threat to freedom of speech and the truth than the ‘fake news’ they claim they are trying to eradicate.”

(Updated.)

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