December 2, 2022

Google’s Fact-Checking Fetish

By pouring millions into a new “fact-checking” enterprise, Google makes clear that it can’t handle the truth.

This week, Google and YouTube announced a partnership to supply a $13.2 million grant to the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network, or IFCN. The Poynter Institute, incidentally, is the company that founded PolitiFact, which fancies itself a non-profit fact-checking arbiter of truth.

But we need only look at the guest list for PolitiFact’s virtual event last year to see how not objective this organization really is. Attendees included so-called journalists from CNN and MSNBC, as well as Dr. Anthony Fauci and Virginia Democrat Senator Mark Warner. The gathering was touted as a “celebration of fact checking.” We’ll bet it was.

When a group of high-profile Democrat politicians and pseudo-journalists meet to discuss “fact-checking,” it’s nothing more than a ruse to cover up their goal of hiding the truth. But we can’t dismiss what they’re doing. In response to conservatives speaking out against censorship in recent years, those on the Left are doubling down on their efforts and expanding their reach around the globe.

“The new Global Fact Check Fund,” reports Fox News, “is expected to support its network of 135 fact-checking organizations across 65 countries, covering 80 languages. It is the largest grant Google and YouTube have ever shelled out regarding fact-checks. The fund is expected to open early next year alongside a YouTube training series for fact-checking organizations that want to learn more about ‘content strategy and engagement’ on the platform.”

The Poynter people sound downright giddy: “In addition to the grants to directly strengthen and expand fact-checking, Google and YouTube will offer supplemental financial support for the IFCN to establish a neutral and independent selection committee; improve the reporting, monitoring and evaluation of the funded fact-check efforts; and expand the capacity of the IFCN to serve the international fact-checking community.”

They add: “Members of the Google and YouTube teams are working with the IFCN community to explore cooperation, analytics and tools that fact-checkers need to fight disinformation on specific platforms, and to expand resources to non-English speaking nations.”

In reality, PolitiFact and other “unbiased” “fact-checking” organizations have the power to determine what they think is the truth. For example, this past summer, the Biden administration decided to change the definition of the word “recession” — two straight quarters of GDP contraction — to avoid criticism and to obscure the truth about the economy. PolitiFact defended the White House’s audacious redefinition of this generally understood term, claiming any criticism was untrue.

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee called out PolitiFact and penned a letter to Poynter. “We write today with concerns about the lack of impartiality and clear bias of several of your certified ‘fact checkers,’” they said. “There is also an apparent conflict of interest between The Poynter Institute’s self-appointed role as the clearinghouse for fact checkers and your financial interest in one of the worst offenders of biased fact-checking, PolitiFact.”

The House Republicans’ letter also asked some good questions of Poynter, such as: “If a Poynter-certified fact-checker is determined to be flagging content inaccurately, is there a process that a user can challenge their accreditation by Poynter?” And this: “How does Poynter define misinformation, and does Poynter enforce its fact-checkers that moderate misinformation to ensure the same definition is used by each fact-checker certified by Poynter?”

What fact-checking really does is shield the Left from due criticism when it peddles misinformation. We need only observe how unhinged the Left has become toward Elon Musk since his purchase of Twitter. The European Union has even threatened Twitter with a continent-wide ban if Musk doesn’t continue suppressing content the way his predecessors did.

Of course, there are plenty of examples of these same self-appointed truth detectors being caught twisting the truth, including Glenn Kessler, the “fact-checker” for Jeff Bezos’s very own Washington Post.

The “fact-checking” industry is clearly broken. But where do we go from here?

Creating alternative social media sites and news organizations seems like a worthwhile idea, but they’re never going to compete with the Googles and YouTubes of the Internet, which have the power to create their own truth and make tens of millions of Americans believe it. Now that Republicans control the House, there’s hope they’ll take on Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security for its efforts to monitor online speech for disinformation. (Remember: These are the same people who said Russian collusion was real and Hunter Biden’s laptop was fake.)

Clearly, there’s a lot of work to be done. But there’s good news: The fact that free speech so frightens Democrats and leftist organizations is telling in itself. And their determination to flood the marketplace with fact-checkers is equally telling.

Maybe the truth is finally catching up to them.

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