Brian Mark Weber / August 14, 2020

The Rise of Partisan Fact-Checkers

In today’s mainstream media, objectivity has been replaced by partisan advocacy.

Ever since Donald Trump moved into the White House, more media outlets have begun to offer “fact-checking” features. With so many Americans suffering from information overload these days, many see this simply as a helpful and innocuous effort to make sure we’re getting the truth. Far from it.

In reality, the media’s fact-checking services are designed to diminish conservative or alternative viewpoints. Marking one of President Trump’s tweets as false, for example, is designed to not only end the debate but to influence our opinions. And the process leading up to the final “true” or “false” stamp is just as biased as we might expect.

Veteran journalist Sharyl Attkisson explains, “The fact-checkers are like-minded journalists or often liberal Silicon Valley gatekeepers, who frequently rely on partisan news sources and political activists to control narratives on a wide variety of issues and controversies. This small group of players exerts an oversized influence, using fact checks to shape and censor information.”

As Attkisson argues, simple fact-checking has expanded to include the manipulation of search results in Google and on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. And the people in charge of monitoring and censoring information on these platforms? Let’s not kid ourselves that they aren’t connected to the Democrat Party in one way or another.

Just one example: Remember when Kamala Harris kept calling for Trump’s Twitter account to be suspended? Well, her former press secretary now heads the censorship department at Twitter.

This is just one more reason why the American people no longer trust the media.

In fact, a recent study conducted by Gallup and the Knight Foundation shows that levels of trust toward the media have hit rock bottom. Some of the results: 71% of Republicans and 52% of independents hold an unfavorable opinion of the news media; 86% see the media as biased; and 84% think the media bears some blame for stoking political division in the country. Of course, Democrats are less likely to hold these views, because their relationship with the media is far more cozy than that of Republicans. And why not? Their political speech isn’t constantly being fed through an ideological “fact-checking” filter.

Columnist Quin Hillyer writes, “If you ask a reporter for a major network or East Coast paper about balance and fairness, you are likely to hear elitist notions about how those things are less important than divining, and instructing the masses about, ‘the truth.’ Ask ordinary people, though, and you’ll find they would much prefer so-called news pages and newscasts to contain facts and balance, unanalyzed and without ideological filters, so readers or viewers can make up their own minds.”

The state of American media has become so toxic that even some on the Left are breaking ranks. Recently, Ariana N. Pekary quit her job working for Lawrence O'Donnell’s program on MSNBC. Noting the way that network programming is driven by ratings (which generate advertising dollars), Pekary writes, “Those decisions affect news content every day. Likewise, it’s taboo to discuss how the ratings scheme distorts content, or it’s simply taken for granted, because everyone in the commercial broadcast news industry is doing the exact same thing.”

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And let’s not forget last month’s scathing letter of resignation from Bari Weiss, the former opinion staff editor of The New York Times. In her letter, Weiss wrote, “A new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.”

And that’s the problem with this new fact-checking industry. With the exception of a handful of journalists willing to report honestly about what’s really going on, mainstream media outlets are committed to ensuring that the “truth” is only what they say it is.

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