September 28, 2021

Stossel Sues Facebook for False ‘Fact-Check’

The longtime investigative journalist was censored by Big Tech for daring to question the alarmist “climate change” dogma.

One of Facebook’s many leftist dogmas that shall not be challenged is climate alarmism. Anyone who dares question “the science” surrounding the topic of man-caused climate change is immediately labeled a “science denier,” as if the ongoing scientific inquiry surrounding causes of climate change has been “settled.”

Facebook evidently has decided that it will penalize anyone for failing to toe the narrow line of climate alarmism — a line that any real journalist worth their weight should immediately sniff out as dubious.

One such journalist, the well-known and well-respected John Stossel, has made an annoying habit of engaging in genuine investigative journalism. He routinely challenges the prevailing political and mainstream media establishment’s views on the subject of climate change, among many other things.

Stossel posted two offending videos on Facebook. One was entitled “Government Fueled Fires,” and in it, Stossel’s lawsuit says he “explored a scientific hypothesis” that “while climate change undoubtedly contributes to forest fires, it was not the primary cause of the 2020 California fires.” A second video entitled “Are We Doomed?” questioned “environmental alarmists” for making “claims that hurricanes are getting stronger, that the sea level rise poses a catastrophic threat, and that humans will be unable to cope with the fallout.” For his “offense,” Stossel was hit with negative “fact-checks.”

Stossel contends that the “fact-checkers” flagged his first video as “misleading” or “missing context” based upon statements attributed to his videos that he never made. The second video was flagged and labeled as “partly false/factual inaccuracies” for his questioning of the claims made by climate alarmists.

After these spurious “fact-checks,” Stossel alleges that he “was given no meaningful avenue to contest these unilateral decisions about the truth of his journalism,” all while “his viewership plummeted due to both Facebook’s censorship and the reputational harm caused by the false labels.” Stossel has levied a $2 million defamation lawsuit against Facebook.

As our readers well know, we and many other conservative media outlets have received similar treatment from Facebook’s grossly biased left-wing “fact-checkers.” What makes Stossel’s complaint and observation particularly damning is that his videos were “fact-checked” as “misleading” over statements never even made.

Facebook’s “fact-checkers” even effectively admit it: “Stossel complains that we should not have rated his post using a claim review of a quote that does not appear in his video.” But then they offer this new twist on justifying their fraudulent “fact-check” anyway: “This is a misunderstanding of how fact-checking partners operate on Facebook. Given that many pieces of content posted on Facebook can separately make the same claim, it is not necessary to create a separate claim review article for each post we rate. It is, of course, necessary that the claim we reviewed is representative of the claim in each post we rate, which is true in this case.” In other words, guilt by assumed association. In Facebook’s world, if what you’re saying doesn’t comport with today’s leftist dogma, then you are spreading “false” information.

We hope that Stossel prevails in his defamation lawsuit against Facebook. But $2 million in damages seems awfully low for a social media giant that rakes in $3.3 million every hour. It would surely be tempting, easier, and less costly for Facebook to simply agree to some small settlement than duke it out in court, but that would also serve as a tacit admission that Stossel was wronged.

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