A host of organizations portray themselves as reliable “fact-checkers” that help readers discern content that is “reliable” from that which is not. The problem is, how do we know if those “fact-checkers” are themselves reliable? What if they exist mostly to color people’s impressions of controversies rather than to objectively report on false claims?
That certainly seems to be the case, and in this AIER essay, Phil Magness and Ethan Yang dive into the credibility of a group called NewsGuard. The authors focus on the way NewsGuard has handled COVID and related health-policy disputes. Far from acting as an honest umpire, it has clearly taken sides.
Here’s a key paragraph:
To briefly summarize, NewsGuard’s coverage of Covid-19 policy and the GBD in particular suffers from a recurring pattern of frequent errors that warrant correction, reliance on fact checkers and other figures who lack qualifications to make scientific assessments, biased depictions designed to disparage or undermine the scientific credibility of the petition, and the promotion of false information from dubious secondary sources, rather than the “scientific experts” it claims to use. In sharp contrast, NewsGuard writers such as John Gregory take a friendly and non-scrutinizing stance toward pro-lockdown opponents of the GBD such as CovidFAQ website – even when they spread factual misinformation about the GBD’s contents and engage in duplicitous editing under the guise of issuing a “correction.” The self-appointed fact checker, it would appear, suffers from a biased and deficient internal fact-checking process for its own work on Covid-19.
I think it’s a safe assumption that “fact checkers” are leftist agents in disguise until proven otherwise.
Read the whole thing.