Politifact

A biased (pro-democrat), propaganda fact checker project that emerged out of a project between the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times) and Congressional Quarterly in August 2007, both owned by the liberal Poynter Institute for Media Studies Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which recieves funding from Google, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Facebook, the Tides Foundation, Charles Koch Institute, the Omidyar Network, and other left-wing organizations. They go far beyond what they say they do, claiming to fact-check subjective things like political rhetoric that are not susceptible to fact-checking.

Leftist Bill Adair, the Times’ Washington bureau chief, was named as the first PolitiFact editor. In 2013, he was succeeded by Angie Drobnic Holan. PolitiFact expanded into 11 other states through partnerships with major metropolitan newspapers such as the Austin American-Statesman, the Atlanta Journal- Constitution, and the Miami Herald. After staffing cuts, the Knoxville News Sentinel and the Cleveland-based Plain Dealer dropped their partnerships.

After Poynter sold Congressional Quarterly to the Economist, PolitiFact became affiliated exclusively with the Times. Critics say that’s when the leftward tilt began. The University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs studied 500 PolitiFact rulings from January 2010 through January 2011. Out of a total of 98 statements, Republicans were associated with 74 of the “False” or “Pants on Fire” ratings on the Truth-O-Meter. That’s 76 percent. Just 22 percent of those liar ratings were given to Democrats (Weekly Standard, Dec. 19, 2011).

A study two years later from George Mason University’s Center for Media and Public Affairs similarly ruled: “PolitiFact.com has rated Republican claims as false three times as often as Democratic claims during President Obama’s second term, despite controversies over Obama administration statements on Benghazi, the IRS and the AP” (U.S. News and World Report, May 28, 2013).

None of this is to suggest that Republican politicians don’t lie. They’re politicians. The bigger problem stems from what PolitiFact decides to evaluate and what standards it applies. You’d have to suspend all rational skepticism to think one of the nation’s two parties is almost entirely dishonest while the other is almost entirely honest. Yet, that’s what the PolitiFact stats would have the public believe.

PolitiFact was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for its enterprising coverage of the 2008 election, forever giving it credibility. Part of that body of work in 2008 included rating as “true” the promise by candidate Obama that “if you’ve got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it” under his health care proposal. This rating came in an Oct. 9, 2008 article, about a month before the election. PolitiFact went on to say:

“It remains to be seen whether Obama’s plan will actually be able to achieve the cost savings it promises for the health care system. But people who want to keep their current insurance should be able to do that under Obama’s plan. His description of his plan is accurate, and we rate his statement True” (Forbes, Dec. 27, 2013).

As we now know, Obama’s statement was a bald-faced lie.

Don Surber writes: “Usually, PolitiFact is able to cherry pick enough facts to rationalize its decisions. But in selecting its lie of the year for 2017, the web site was unable to do much more than say well, everyone we like says it is a lie.” That Lie of the Year boldly stated: “A mountain of evidence points to a single fact: Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential election of 2016.” Now debunked, like almost all of their lies, not even Mueller and his team of 16 Trump-hating democrats could anything credible enough to piece the lie together.1

Brooks Jackson, the director emeritus of FactCheck.org, claimed responsibility for leading the media charge to keep the candidates honest. “It’s really remarkable to see how big news operations have come around to challenging false and deceitful claims directly,” he said. “It’s about time.” The chief competitor to FactCheck.org engaged in some gloating as well. “Is this the post-truth election as people have claimed? No,” said PolitiFact founder Bill Adair, “It’s actually the thank-goodness-there-are-fact-checkers election.”

Neither Jackson nor Adair got the facts right as it turned out. The public trusts the fact-checkers about as much as they trust politicians. A Rasmussen poll before Election Day found that 29 percent of likely voters believe the media’s fact-checking of political candidates, while 62 percent think the media just “skew the facts to help candidates they support.”

One only has to look at the fact-checking statistics over this past election year to understand why voters have this view. PolitiFact gave its “Pants on Fire” label, the most severe rank for a lie, to Donald Trump 57 times. Hillary Clinton earned that distinction just seven times.

A Media Research Center analysis in June found that Trump received the “False”/“Mostly False”/ “Pants on Fire” label from PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter 77 percent of the time. Clinton received just “False”/“Mostly False” for 26 percent of her statements (Investors Business Daily, June 30, 2016).

From September through Election Day, Republicans overall received a “Pants on Fire” ranking 28 times, and half of those went to Trump. Democrats only received four such ratings, one of which went to Clinton. Even Adair admitted the rankings are subjective. “Yeah, we’re human. We’re making subjective decisions. Lord knows the decision about a Truth-O-Meter rating is entirely subjective,” he said. “As Angie Holan, the editor of PolitiFact, often says, the Truth-O-Meter is not a scientific instrument” (Townhall, Nov. 9, 2016).

Catching politicians in lies is no doubt a worthy endeavor. Fact-checking isn’t the problem. The problem is the subjective nature of selecting what gets fact-checked and by what means; that explains how opinions are masked as fact-checking.

While truth is definite on most fronts, there are matters that can’t truly be fact-checked—often in the realm of strongly held political opinions. Such disputes are what political debates are about. In some cases, it’s what lawsuits are about. Not everything is settled—at least not yet. Even something as highly regarded as the Congressional Budget Office’s 10-year revenue and spending projections can’t be fact-checked per se, because of unforeseen wars or natural disasters that might occur, or plain old irresponsible spending.

What liberal journalist Ben Smith wrote five years ago of fact checkers is even more true today: “At their worst, they’re doing opinion journalism under pseudo-scientific banners, something that’s really corrosive to actual journalism, which if it’s any good is about reported fact in the first place” (Politico, Aug. 17, 2011).

During the 2018 mid-terms, was caught protecting a democrat candidate in the Missouri Senate Race. Here’s one analysis from the Daily Wire:

On Tuesday, Politifact, which purports to be a neutral fact-checking website but in fact leans heavily to the left, got caught protecting a member of the Democratic Party: Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Politifact took issue with the ad from The Senate Leadership Fund, a pro-Republican super PAC, that claimed that McCaskill said “normal people” could afford private planes.

[…]After they were corrected, Politifact acknowledged the mistake, writing,

Initially, we published this fact-check with a rating of False, because based on the video available, it did not appear that McCaskill was talking about private planes. After publication, we received more complete video of the question-and-answer session between McCaskill and a constituent that showed she was in fact responding to a question about private planes, as well as a report describing the meeting. We re-assessed the evidence, archived the original version here, and published the version you see here with a new rating of Half True. We apologize for the error.

Daily wire also linked to some more failed Politifact “fact checks”:  herehere, and here.

Also during the 2018 mid-terms, in the Arizona Senate Race, Politifact screwed up their fact-check for the Arizona Senate race. The Daily Caller explains:

PolitiFact incorrectly labeled it “mostly false” that Democratic Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema “protested troops in a pink tutu” during its live fact-check of the Arizona Senate debate Monday night.

It’s an established fact that Sinema, a former Green Party activist who co-founded an anti-war group, wore a pink tutu at one of the multiple anti-war protests she attended in 2003.

“While we were in harm’s way, she was protesting our troops in a pink tutu,” Republican candidate Martha McSally, a former Air Force fighter pilot, said during Monday night’s debate.

Here’s their Politifact’s evaluation of McSally’s claim:

And here’s the photo of Kyrsten Sinema, protesting the troops, in a pink tutu:

The Daily Caller notes:

A 2003 Arizona State University news article at the time described Sinema wearing “something resembling a pink tutu” at one of the protests.

[…]Sinema openly associated with fringe elements of the far-left during her anti-war activism.

She promoted an appearance by Lynne Stewart, a lawyer who was convicted of aiding an Islamic terrorist organization, in 2003.

Sinema also reportedly partnered with anarchists and witches in her anti-war activism and said she did “not care” if Americans wanted to join the Taliban.

Colonel Martha McSally, as I’ve blogged about before, is a former U.S. Air Force A-10 fighter pilot, and squadron commander. She logged a lot of hours leading actual combat missions against America’s enemies – the sorts of people who sell and rape Yazidi girls. She fought them.

And now for the big one: Politifact’s fact-checking of Obamacare.

Politifact’s ‘Lies of the Year’ are actually their Own Lies

In 2009, PolitiFact began its popular feature, “Lie of the Year.” This garnered a lot of media attention.

Perhaps it should have been no surprise that the first dubious distinction was bestowed on one of the media’s favorite punching bags, Sarah Palin, the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential candidate. Palin used the phrase “death panels” in describing Obamacare. Putting aside that she was speaking rhetorically, PolitiFact called it a lie because the law did not literally create panels that sentenced patients to death. Palin was referring in part to an actual government panel, the Independent Medicare Advisory Council, or IMAC, that would advise the government on cutting costs by determining what treatments were most effective and efficient.

PolitiFact’s ruling was absurd, argued Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto, because the law absolutely gave the federal government greater power over life and death decisions and could ultimately lead to rationing of care (Feb. 2, 2011). Taranto wrote:

“Obamacare necessarily expands the power of federal bureaucrats to make such decisions, and it creates enormous fiscal pressures to err on the side of death. Whether it establishes literal panels for that purpose is a hair-splitting quibble. By naming this ‘lie of the year,’ PolitiFact showed itself to be less seeker of truth than servant of power.”

The website seemed to be mounting a full-court defense of Obamacare when in 2010 it gave the “Lie of the Year” dishonor to everyone who referred to the Affordable Care Act as a “government takeover of health care.” PolitiFact argued that since it maintained a private insurance industry rather than a single-payer government owned system, it was not a government takeover.

Interestingly, in 2011, the Pulitzer board gave the highest honor for commentary to Joseph Rago of the Wall Street Journal for his scathing assessment of Obamacare, including his shots at PolitiFact for insisting the law was not a government takeover of health care. Rago wrote in the Journal on Dec. 23, 2010:

“The regulations that PolitiFact waves off are designed to convert insurers into government contractors in the business of fulfilling political demands, with enormous implications for the future of U.S. medicine. All citizens will be required to pay into this system, regardless of their individual needs or preferences. Sounds like a government takeover to us.”

Cato Institute health analyst Michael Cannon, who had previously agreed to do interviews with PolitiFact, stopped talking to its resident fact-checkers over the so-called lies from 2009 and 2010. It’s “not so much that each of those statements is actually factually true; it is rather that they are true for reasons that PolitiFact failed to consider,” he said.

Cannon continued:

“PolitiFact’s ‘death panels’ fact-check never considered whether President Obama’s contemporaneous ‘IMAC’ proposal would, under standard principles of administrative law, enable the federal government to ration care as Palin claimed.…PolitiFact’s ‘government takeover’ fact-check hung its conclusion on the distinction between ‘public’ vs. ‘private’ health care, without considering whether that distinction might be illusory” (Human Events, Aug. 30, 2012).

Perhaps seeking redemption, PolitiFact turned on Democrats for 2011, naming as “Lie of the Year” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s claim that Rep. Paul Ryan’s fiscal plan meant that “Republicans voted to end Medicare.” They argued the plan would not eliminate Medicare, only reform it.

Conservative writer Ramesh Ponnuru said the Democratic claim misled seniors but wasn’t a lie. He explained the Ryan plan would make significant changes to Medicare. Thus, he said Democrats didn’t flat out lie, but were using charged rhetoric (Bloomberg News, Dec. 26, 2011). Ponnuru explained that this kind of incident exhibits a core problem with fact-checking sites:

“The reason we have politics at all is that we disagree, sometimes deeply, about how to promote the common good, and we need a peaceful and productive way to resolve or at least manage these disagreements. We disagree about how to improve U.S. health care, and we disagree about how each other’s proposals to change it should be characterized. The pretense of PolitiFact, and other media “fact checkers,” is that many of our political disputes have obvious correct answers on which all reasonable people looking fairly at the evidence can agree—and any other answer is ‘simply not true.’ This pretense really is false, and like dishonesty, it is corrosive.”

After the election in 2012, PolitiFact, not surprisingly, called Mitt Romney the year’s biggest liar after his campaign said Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.” It rated the claim “Pants on Fire” and quoted a Chrysler spokesman denying that Jeep manufacturing was being moved to China. But later, PolitiFact admitted that what its gumshoes called the “Lie of the Year” was the “literal truth.”

The Weekly Standard pointed out that “Romney’s ad never said Jeep was ‘outsourcing’ existing jobs. Again, a fair reading of the ad would be that it implied that Jeep was choosing to create new jobs overseas rather than in the U.S.” Further, Reuters reported after the election, Fiat’s unit Chrysler would produce 100,000 Jeeps in China (Media Research Center, Jan. 18, 2013).

PolitiFact sought to rebut the Weekly Standard, but only succeeded in harming itself, saying that the “Romney campaign was crafty with its word choice, so campaign aides could claim to be speaking the literal truth, but the ad left a false impression that all Jeep production was being moved to China” (Weekly Standard, Jan. 18, 2013).

Anytime you identify something as a “Pants on Fire” lie, then concede it’s the “literal truth, but …” there is a problem. After playing defense for Obamacare, PolitiFact stepped up to the plate and asserted that the president’s oft-repeated claim, “If you like your health care plan you can keep it” was the 2013 “Lie of the Year.” This came amid the four million cancellations sent to U.S. insurance consumers. Given the overwhelming problems that year, it would have been beyond laughable to name any other statement as the top lie. PolitiFact essentially had no choice but to stop defending the law.

But again, don’t forget that when candidate Obama was running for president in 2008, the website went out on a limb to falsely certify this very claim as true.

“in its article detailing why the President’s promise was a lie, PolitiFact neglected to mention an essential detail. In 2008, at a critical point in the presidential campaign, PolitiFact rated the ‘keep your plan’ promise as ‘True,’” Avik Roy wrote. “The whole episode, and PolitiFact’s misleading behavior throughout, tells us a lot about the troubled state of ‘fact-checking’ journalism” (Forbes, Dec. 27, 2013).

In 2014, the “Lie of the Year” ended up being less controversial: “Exaggeration about Ebola.” Perhaps the worst one could say about the conclusion is that “exaggeration” is by definition something short of a lie.

By 2015, the dishonor went to Donald Trump, the eventual Republican presidential nominee. The website singled him out and claimed 75 percent of his statements were “Mostly False,” “False,” or “Pants on Fire” on its Truth-O-Meter.

Then, in 2016, the winner of the dubious honor was “Fake News,” now referring to Internet lies and gossip presented as news stories, which often went viral on Facebook. PolitiFact said, “In 2016, the prevalence of political fact abuse— promulgated by the words of two polarizing presidential candidates and their passionate supporters—gave rise to a spreading of fake news with unprecedented impunity.”

The 2017 Lie of the Year was the aforementioned now known truth that: “Russian election interference is a ‘made-up story‘” This should have been the truth of the year.

PolitiFact awarded their “Lie of the Year” award in 2018 to the “online smear machine” that attempted to “take down Parkland students.” “The attacks against Parkland’s students stand out because of their sheer vitriol,” the piece explains. “Together, the lies against the Parkland students in the wake of unspeakable tragedy were the most significant falsehoods of 2018. We name them PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year.2

And in 2019, the Politifact Lie of the Year was: Donald Trump’s claim whistleblower got Ukraine call ‘almost completely wrong’ He did! Eric Ciaramella, an anti-Trump CIA plant put in the White House by John Brennan, was not even in the room during the President’s call to the Ukrainian President. Tim Morrison testifying to congress was the person who moved the Ukraine transcript to the secure server and is who was going to nail Trump to the wall according to leftist media reports. However it was a coup, as there was ‘Nothing Illegal In Trump-Zelensky Call’: NSC Official Tells Impeachment Inquiry

“I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” said Tim Morrison, former NSC Senior Director for European Affairs who was on the July 25 call between the two leaders.

Morrison also testified that the transcript of the phone call which was declassified and released by the White House “accurately and completely reflects the substance of the call.”

For a time, Democrats sought to blame fake news for Hillary Clinton’s loss before President Donald Trump snatched the term to describe questionable reporting by the liberal mainstream media.

 

PolitiFact itself encourages people to unquestioningly accept its truth ratings through their marketing strategy. When judging a given politician, PolitiFact aggregates its ratings in a way that encourages people to look not at the truth value within any individual article with a speaker’s claim, but at the “larger” picture of the speaker’s commitment to the truth.

This method assumes this or that article might have a problem, but you have to look at the “big picture” of dozens of fact-checks, which inevitably means glossing over the fact that biased details do not add up to an unbiased whole.

A 2016 analysis by the Federalist would certainly show far more bias by Politifact at this point during the Trump administration, however it still shows an obvious bias. Here is their assessment:

(Start) Whenever you see the “Republicans Lie More Than Democrats” headline, whether it is in The Atlantic, the New York TimesPolitico, or Salon, you’ll find that the data to support this claim comes from PolitiFact’s aggregate truth metrics. Using collective data instead of individual cases lets PolitiFact gloss over individual articles that delivered a questionable rating, comparable situations for two speakers that PolitiFact treated differently, biased selection of facts, and instances in which PolitiFact made an editorial decision to check one speaker over another.

We could list instance after instance in which we might feel PolitiFact was being unfair, but all those details are washed away when we look at the aggregate totals. And those totals certainly seem to run heavily against politicians with an “R” next to their names.

In the chart below, we’ve ranked politicians according to their “truthiness” as ranked by PolitiFact. Everything above the black line is ranked as “true” or “mostly true.” The individuals are ranked by their “truthiness” from left to right, making Bernie Sanders the most reliably truthful and Donald Trump the least.

A keen observer may notice a pretty clean differentiation. Democrats dominate the “more truthful” side and Republicans dominate the “liars” corner. Of course, the casual explanation is that Republicans lie more often than Democrats. Absent a detailed analysis and reclassification of thousands of articles, there is no good way to disprove this.

Unless, of course, you scrape PolitiFact’s website for these thousands of articles and run your own analytics on that data. If someone were to do this, what sort of patterns would become visible beyond the simple truth value totals?

I’m so very glad you asked, because the answer is a lot of fun. We found far too much to cover in a single article. Here we’ll look briefly at “truth averages” and see how PolitiFact ranks individuals and groups, followed by an analysis of how exactly they differentiate between Republicans and Democrats. In the next piece, we’ll examine how they choose facts and look specifically at how PolitiFact fact-checked the 2016 race.

The Truth, On Average

First we ranked truth values to see how PolitiFact rates different individuals and aggregate groups on a truth scale. PolitiFact has six ratings: “True,” “Mostly True,” “Half-True,” “Mostly False,” “False,” and “Pants on Fire.” Giving each of these a value from 0 to 5, we can find an “average ruling” for each person and for groups of people.

When fact-checked by PolitiFact, Democrats had an average rating of 1.8, which is between “Mostly True” and “Half True.” The average Republican rating was 2.6, which is between “Half-True” and “Mostly False.” We also checked Republicans without President-elect Donald Trump in the mix and found that 0.8 truth gap narrowed to 0.5.

The 2016 election season was particularly curious because PolitiFact rated Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as two of the most honest people among the 20 politicians we included in our data scrape (1.8 and 1.6, respectively) while Trump was rated as the most dishonest (3.2).

Using averages alone, we already start to see some interesting patterns in the data. PolitiFact is much more likely to rate Republicans as their worst of the worst “Pants on Fire” rating, usually only reserved for when they feel a candidate is not only wrong, but aggressively and maliciously lying.

All by himself, Trump has almost half of all the “Pants on Fire” ratings from the articles we scraped. Even outside of Trump, PolitiFact seems to assign this rating particularly unevenly. During the 2012 election season, PolitiFact assigned Mitt Romney 19 “Pants on Fire” ratings. For comparison, for every single Democrat combined from 2007-2016 the “Pants on Fire” rating was only assigned 25 times.

That doesn’t pass the sniff test, no matter which group you call your ideological home. But a sniff test isn’t data, so let’s dig deeper. Read more at TheFederalist.com

Verdict: Politifact is an honest and unbiased fact check service – True or false? PANTS ON FIRE!!!

Sources:

Media Matters for America

A far-left activist organization with strong ties to Hillary Clinton founded by David Brock. It dictates the content of many mainstream media reports; smears conservatives as liars and racists; is funded and supported by the billionaire philanthropist George Soros; claims its goal is to highlight what it considers conservative “misinformation” in mass media organizations. Media Matters operates as a perpetual Clintonesque “war room” by targeting prominent conservative public officials, public television personalities, Fox News, and conservative talk radio.

Brock also works for American Bridge 21st Century, which he co-founded with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a former Lt. Governor of Maryland and eldest child of former US Attorney General and US Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Sidney Blumenthal, the original creator of the birther movement narrative aimed at demonizing Barack Hussein Obama on behalf of the Clinton organization, has also been closely associated with Media Matters.

Within the 90-page three-year strategic plan Media Matters distributed to its donor base and potential contributors, the document reveals that the non-profit entity has an “enemies list” which includes organizations like Fox News, Cato Institute, and Heritage Foundation. The list also targets numerous individuals and executives such as Rupert MurdochRoger Ailes, Peter Theil, and Richard Mellon Scaife.1

Further deviating from its tax-exempt status, a recently discovered internal strategy memo from Media Matters Senior Fellow Karl Frisch to David Brock and Eric Burns, suggests that Media Matters “hire private investigators to look into the personal lives of Fox News anchors, hosts, reporters, prominent contributors, senior network and corporate staff,” as well as “look into contracting with a major law firm to study any available legal actions that can be taken against Fox News, from a class action lawsuit to defamation claims for those wronged by the network. I imagine this would be difficult but the right law firm is bound to find some legal ground for us to take action against the network.”

Influence on the Mainstream and Left-wing Media

In addition to its website postings, Media Matters “works daily to notify activists, journalists, pundits, and the general public about instances of misinformation, providing them with the resources to rebut false claims and to take direct action against offending media institutions.” As the Capital Research Center reports, Media Matters “works in conjunction with liberal blogs, using sympathetic reporters and pundits to promote far-left messages to the mainstream media and to attempt to force right-leaning media figures out of the public debate.”

In February 2012 Media Matters was the subject of a damning exposé by Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller, which revealed the extent to which the organization had become successful in dictating the content of left-liberal media reports. As documented by the Caller, newspapers like the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times all took their editorial cues from Media Matters’ talking points.

The Caller further reported that by 2008, “Media Matters staff had the direct line of [cable television station] MSNBC president Phil Griffin, and used it. Griffin took their calls.” According to one Media Matters source: “If we published something about Fox in the morning, they’d [MSNBC] have it on the air that night verbatim.” “We were pretty much writing their [MSNBC’s] prime time,” added a former Media Matters employee. “But then, virtually all the mainstream media was using our stuff.”

Left-wing bloggers were likewise eager to serve as mouthpieces for Media Matters. “The entire progressive blogosphere picked up our stuff,” said a source for the organization, “from Daily Kos to Salon.” Media Matters considered Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent a particularly reliable dump for its content. As one source told the Daily Caller, “If you can’t get it [printed] anywhere else, Greg Sargent’s always game.” Along the same lines, a former Media Matters staffer recalls:

“The HuffPo guys were good, Sam Stein and Nico [Pitney]. The people at Huffington Post were always eager to cooperate, which is no surprise given David’s [a reference to Media Matters founder David Brock] long history with Arianna [Huffington]. Jim Rainey at the LA Times took a lot of our stuff. So did Joe Garofoli at the San Francisco Chronicle. We’ve pushed stories to Eugene Robinson and  E.J. Dionne [at the Washington Post]. Brian Stelter at the New York Times was helpful…. Ben Smith [formerly of Politico] will take stories and write what you want him to write.”

Modus Operandi: Characterize Conservatives as Liars and Racists

Media Matters has cultivated a well-earned reputation for portraying honest differences of opinion by conservatives as lies, smears, and even evidence of “racism.” According to Republican pollster Frank Luntz, “They are vicious. They only understand one thing: attack, attack, attack.” David Folkenflik, media reporter for National Public Radiosaid: “They’re looking at every dangling participle, every dependent clause, every semicolon, every quotation to see if there’s some way it unfairly frames a cause, a party, a candidate that they may have some feelings for.” And a Capital Research Center analysis states that Media Matters, in its effort to “stigmatize and marginalize conservative ideas,” “will typically isolate a small facet of a media story that can be twisted in such a way that suggests that the reporter or commentator is a liar or hypocrite. That tidbit is then used to suggest that everything the original source says must be false and deserving of censure.”

Intimidating Journalists Whose Reporting Is Unacceptable to Media Matters

One Media Matters source explains that when that organization focuses critical attention to certain journalists, they are intimidated into silence: “If you hit a reporter, say a beat reporter at a regional newspaper, all of a sudden they’d get a thousand hostile emails [in response to the criticism from Media Matters]. Sometimes they’d melt down. It had a real effect on reporters who weren’t used to that kind of scrutiny.”

Founder David Brock and Other Early Notables

In launching its aggressive attacks against conservatives, Media Matters takes its cues from its founder and CEO, the self-described former “right-wing hit man” turned leftist, David Brock. A reporter for the conservative magazine The American Spectator in the 1990s, Brock subsequently underwent a political epiphany, renouncing his past writings, which were critical of liberal figures such as Anita Hill and President Bill Clinton, as a confection of lies and slanders.

In Brock’s present judgment, the mainstream media have fallen under the sway of conservative ideology, thus explaining, in Brock’s view, the many discussions about “liberal bias” in prominent media outlets. “The right wing in this country has dominated the debate over liberal bias,” Brock says. “By dominating that debate, my belief is they’ve moved the media itself to the right and therefore they’ve moved American politics to the right.” Hence the supposed need for Media Matters: “I wanted to create an institution to combat what they’re doing.” The sense of urgency with which Brock approaches this task is amplified by the low regard he has for conservatives, whom he describes as people who “are simply willing to lie.”

In his 2004 book, The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy, Brock claimed that the “most important sectors of the political media—most of cable TV news, the majority of popular op-ed columns, almost all of talk radio, a substantial chunk of the book market, and many of the most highly trafficked Web sites”—provided a “structural advantage for the GOP and conservatism.” During a February 2005 talk at the Center for American Progress, Brock articulated a similar theme: “We have seen the mainstream media increasingly accommodating conservatism and this is not an accident. This is the result of coordinated and financed effort by the right wing to pressure, push and bully the media to do that. The media today is a political issue. I believe it is conservatives that have politicized it.”

When Brock applied for tax-exempt status for Media Matters, he told the IRS, in writing, precisely whom the targets of his organization would be:

“Media Matters for America (MMA) believes that news reporting and analysis by the American media, with its eye on profit margin and preservation of the status quo, has become biased. It is common for news and commentary by the press to present viewpoints that tend to overly promote corporate interests, the rights of the wealthy, and a conservative, Christian-influenced ideology.”

Prior to founding Media Matters, Brock consulted with a number of leading Democratic Party figures, including Senator Hillary Clinton, former Senator Tom Daschle and former Vice President Al Gore. He also pitched his idea to potential liberal-left funders, a number of whom promptly lined up to bankroll his cause. The fledgling Media Matters received more than $2 million in seed donations from a roster of affluent donors including Susie Tompkins Buell, co-founder of the fashion company Esprit and a close ally of Senator Hillary Clinton; New York psychologist and philanthropist Gail Furman; Leo Hindery Jr., a former cable magnate; James Hormel, a San Francisco philanthropist who nearly served as ambassador to Luxembourg during the Clinton administration; Peter Lewis, chairman of Progressive Corporation and a longtime consort of billionaire financier George Soros; and Bren Simon, a Democratic activist and the wife of shopping-mall developer Mel Simon. “It [Brock’s presentation] just made so much sense to me,” Buell would later recall. “All this garbage that’s coming out of the Right is like the worst contamination of this country…. He brought so much understanding of what goes on over there. He’s very articulate, and very, very bright.”

Also standing behind Brock was John Podesta, a former chief of staff in the Clinton administration and the head of the progressive think tank, the Center for American Progress. In 2004 Podesta provided Brock with office space for his new enterprise. Hillary Clinton played a key supporting role as well; she would later (in 2007) tell a YearlyKos convention of left-wing bloggers that she had “helped to start and support” Media Matters.

More than a few of the fledgling organization’s staffers were Democratic operatives. Among these were Katie Barge, Media Matters’ director of research, who had formerly presided over opposition research for Senator John Edwards‘ unsuccessful 2004 presidential campaign; Brock’s personal assistant, Mandy Vlasz, a Democratic pollster and a veteran consultant to Democratic campaigns, including the 2000 Gore/Lieberman presidential ticket; and Media Matters’ chief communications strategist Dennis Yedwab, who was also director of strategic resources at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Another notable figure at Media Matters was senior fellow Eric Boehlert, who remains with the organization to this day. Boehlert was among the most passionate defenders of University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian when the latter was accused of having been a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist operative. In a January 2002 article titled “The Prime-time Smearing of Sami Al-Arian,” Boehlert charged that: “In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, all four media giants, eagerly tapping into the country’s mood of vengeance and fear, latched onto the Al-Arian story, fudging the facts and ignoring the most rudimentary tenets of journalism in their haste to better tell a sinister story about lurking Middle Eastern dangers here at home.”

Targets of Media Matters

From its earliest days, Media Matters aggressively targeted individuals and groups that did not share its left-wing political orientation. For instance, in 2004 the organization tried to persuade chain book retailers to ban sales of Unfit for Command—a book critical of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Toward that end, Media Matters launched a month-long assault against Unfit for Command and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group responsible for the book. The Media Matters website featured a host of denunciatory articles that attempted to discredit the Swift Boaters as Republican shills and liars.

Driving Media Matters’ fusillades against the Swift Boat Veterans was its partisan support for Senator Kerry. Even as it stressed that “honest scrutiny of [Kerry’s] record might be ‘fair game,’” Media Matters spent the months leading up to the 2004 presidential campaign dismissing conservative criticisms of Kerry as nothing more than “distortions.” To take one example, Kerry’s critics disproved his claims that he had spent Christmas of 1968 “sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia.” Rather than making a concession to this reality—which was generally conceded—Media Matters portrayed all attacks on Kerry’s record as “unfounded, contradictory, and discredited.” The Tides Foundation, meanwhile, gave Media Matters $100,000 in 2004 for what it described as the latter’s “voter education” efforts.

Media Matters also waged a negative-publicity campaign against the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, a Republican-leaning media outlet that broadcast the documentary film Stolen Honor: Wounds that Never Heal on its 62 stations during the 2004 election cycle. Stolen Honor featured the testimony of former POWs in Vietnam who asserted that the cruelties to which their captors had subjected them during the war were exacerbated by the anti-war posturing in which John Kerry engaged after completing his tour of duty. When some of Sinclair’s largest advertisers subsequently pulled their ads from the company’s programming, Media Matters took “partial” credit for that outcome.

Media Matters has long nursed a special contempt for the conservative, nationally syndicated talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh. In the aftermath of the initial revelations of prisoner-abuse that had occurred at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Limbaugh likened the antics of the guilty U.S. soldiers to fraternity initiations where the perpetrators were merely “blowing off steam.” Media Matters responded quickly, launching an anti-Limbaugh campaign that included expenditures of $100,000 to broadcast ads denouncing the broadcaster on Fox, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and ESPN. David Brock personally wrote a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, asking that Limbaugh’s program be removed from the American Forces Radio and Television Service. Brock claimed that Limbaugh had “condoned torture,” and that his program “divides rather than unites Americans.”

In June 2005 Media Matters again excoriated Limbaugh, this time for his opinion on the so-called Downing Street memo, which accused the Bush administration of manipulating evidence and otherwise fudging facts in order to promulgate its policies. “Limbaugh baselessly suggested Downing Street memo ‘may be a fake,’” read a Media Matters headline. Yet, as Media Matters was forced to acknowledge in the compass of its attack, Limbaugh’s remarks, far from being “baseless,” were actually derived from a report that had appeared in the Associated Press.

In 2007 Media Matters falsely claimed that Limbaugh had characterized anti-war Iraq veterans as “phony soldiers.” In fact, Limbaugh was referring only to left-wing activists who fabricated military credentials in order to lend an air of perceived authority to their anti-war arguments. Media Matters, however, edited out the full context of Limbaugh’s remarks and emailed a doctored transcript to liberal-left journalists nationwide. Once the actual transcript became available, the controversy ended.

In 2007 as well, veteran broadcaster Don Imus also felt the wrath of Media Matters. Though not a conservative by any means, Imus had long been in Media Matters’ crosshairs because of his repeated, harsh criticisms of Hillary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton was a particular favorite of David Brock and his watchdog group, which not only had been building a dossier on Imus for some time, but had assigned a young, Washington, DC-based researcher named Ryan Chiachiere to monitor Imus’s program on a daily basis. On April 4, 2007, Chiachiere heard the shock-jock refer to black players on the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hoes” and promptly posted a 775-word blog, along with a video clip of the offending comments, on the Media Matters website; in addition, Media Matters swiftly dispatched a news release about the incident to hundreds of reporters nationwide. It also notified organizations like the NAACP, the National Association of Black Journalists, and Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, all of which joined the anti-Imus campaign. The Daily Caller reports what happened next: “Over the course of a week, Media Matters mobilized more than 50 people to work full-time adding fuel to the Imus story. Researchers searched the massive Media Matters database for controversial statements Imus had made over the years. The group issued press release after press release. Brock personally called the heads of various liberal activist groups to coordinate a message. By the end of the week, Imus was fired.”

When Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News distinguished herself as one of the few mainstream media reporters willing to investigate the Obama administration’s false claims regarding the genesis of the infamous September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks against a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Media Matters condemned Attkisson for her “shoddy reporting.”

_
Training Program for Left-wing Media Pundits_

In August 2009, Media Matters launched its Progressive Talent Initiative (PTI), a boot camp designed to train progressive pundits to maximize their effectiveness at articulating their positions during media appearances. David Brock conceived of PTI as a means of further countering what he perceives as the “chronic imbalance” favoring conservatives in the media, and as a way to “professionalize the training and booking” of media spokespeople for the left. During its first 19 months, PTI trained nearly 100 pundits who appeared some 800 times on television and radio.

Media Matters’ Ties to George Soros, and the “War on Fox”

From its inception, Media Matters was careful to obscure the financial ties it had to the controversial billionaire financier/philanthropist George Soros. But in March 2003, the Cybercast News Service (CNS) detailed the copious links between Media Matters and several Soros “affiliates”—among them the Center for American ProgressMoveOn.org, and Peter Lewis. Confronted with this story, a spokesman for Media Matters explained that his organization “has never received funding directly from George Soros” (emphasis added), a transparent evasion. Nor were the groups cited by CNS the only connection between Media Matters and Soros. As investigative journalist Byron York noted, another Soros affiliate that bankrolled Media Matters was the New Democratic Network. In addition, Soros was a central figure in the Democracy Alliance, which news reports identified as yet another major benefactor of Media Matters. To summarize, Soros and his Open Society Institute poured millions of dollars into the coffers of groups like the Center for American Progress, the Democracy Alliance, MoveOn, and the New Democratic Network. In turn, these organizations funneled some of that money to Media Matters.

In October 2010 Soros decided to stop concealing his ties to Media Matters, when he openly announced that he was donating $1 million to the organization—money that would be used to hold “Fox [News] host Glenn Beck and others on the cable news channel accountable for their reporting.” Said Soros:

“Despite repeated assertions to the contrary by various Fox News commentators, I have not to date been a funder of Media Matters. However, in view of recent evidence suggesting that the incendiary rhetoric of Fox News hosts may incite violence,[1] I have now decided to support the organization. Media Matters is one of the few groups that attempts to hold Fox News accountable for the false and misleading information they so often broadcast. I am supporting Media Matters in an effort to more widely publicize the challenge Fox News poses to civil and informed discourse in our democracy.”

David Brock, for his part, confirmed that Beck would now be Media Matters’ chief target:

“From the moment in early 2009 that Roger Ailes enlisted Glenn Beck to the Fox News Channel’s new agenda—a battle to overturn the 2008 election results that Ailes likened to the ‘The Alamo’—Fox has transformed itself into a 24-7 GOP attack machine, dividing Americans through fear-mongering and falsehoods and undermining the legitimacy of our government for partisan political ends. Worse still, in recent months, Fox has allowed Glenn Beck’s show to become an out-of-control vehicle for the potential incitement of domestic terrorism. No American should be quiet about these developments—the degradation of our media and the reckless endangerment of innocent lives.”

In March 2011, Politico.com reported that Media Matters had “all but abandoned its monitoring of newspapers and other television networks,” preparing instead to wage “what its founder, David Brock, described … as an all-out campaign of ‘guerrilla warfare and sabotage’ aimed at the Fox News Channel [FNC] … and a handful of conservative websites, which its leaders view as political organizations and the ‘nerve center’ of the conservative movement.” Brock explained that whereas previously “[t]he strategy that we had had toward Fox was basically a strategy of containment”—i.e., challenging FNC’s factual claims and trying to keep them out of the mainstream media—the new strategy would be an unrestrained “war on Fox.”

In that “war” effort, said Politico, Media Matters: (a) was “assembling opposition research files not only on Fox’s top executives but on a series of midlevel officials”; (b) had “hired an activist who has led a successful campaign to press advertisers to avoid Glenn Beck’s show”; (c) was “assembling a legal team to help people who have clashed with Fox to file lawsuits for defamation, invasion of privacy or other causes”; (d) had “hired two experienced reporters … to dig into Fox’s operation to help assemble a book on the network”; (e) was planning, in collaboration with an executive from MoveOn.org, “to run a broad campaign against Fox’s parent company, News Corp.”; and (f) planned to “disrupt [the] commercial interests” of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch.

According to the Daily Caller, Brock’s animus against Fox was so extreme that Media Matters considered harassing individual Fox News employees at their homes, hiring private investigators to look into their private lives, and hiring a law firm to pursue lawsuits against the network. In February 2012, Brock and co-author Ari Rabin-Havt released a book titled _The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine.

_In 2014 Media Matters came to the defense of MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, a key architect of Obamacare, when newly uncovered videos showed Gruber boasting that he and congressional Democrats had knowingly and repeatedly lied about key aspects of the health-care legislation so as to deceive American voters who were “too stupid” to realize what was happening. When Fox News explored the scandal in depth, headlines and stories on the Media Matters website derided Fox for “dishonestly” conducting a “fraudulent media campaign” to promote a “manufactured … scandal.”

When IRS officials in 2014 claimed to have no knowledge of the whereabouts of key emails containing evidence that the agency had unjustifiably delayed or denied the processing of applications for tax-exempt status by hundreds of conservative organizations during 2010-12, a Media Matters report charged that “Fox News personalities baselessly accused the Obama administration of engaging in a cover-up following reports that the IRS lost emails connected to the alleged targeting of organizations seeking tax-exempt status, ignoring the fact that government agencies regularly lose emails due to antiquated computer systems and policies.”

Expenditures Designed to Influence 2012 Elections

Also in early 2012, as the presidential election season was gearing up, Media Matters was planning to spend $20 million—double the organization’s reported $10 million annual budget—on efforts to influence media coverage prior to the election.

Ties to Al Jazeera

In contrast to its “war on Fox News,” Media Matters has had some notable friendly ties to Al Jazeera, the anti-American, Qatar-based Arabic television station and satellite network. For example, in March 2012 it was reported that M.J. Rosenberg, a senior foreign-policy fellow at the Media Matters Action Network (a sister site to Media Matters), had a profile on Al Jazeera’s website, where his articles attacking Israel and the United States regularly appeared. As told by the Daily Caller, Rosenberg represented Media Matters at the first Al Jazeera “Unplugged” forum on social media in Qatar in May 2010. At that event, he praised Al Jazeera as a “mainstream network” and a “factual” source, while attacking Fox News as a “very, very dangerous force in the United States.” Rosenberg also charged that Al Jazeera had been “bombed by orders of the United States government.” That same year, Al Jazeera’s then-director general, Wadah Khanfar, visited Media Matters’ offices in Washington, where he met with David Brock and the organization’s president, Eric Burns.

Media Matters and Israel

In December 2011, the aforementioned M.J. Rosenberg ignited controversy when he referred to supporters of Israel as “Israel firsters.” The use of that term, which implied loyalties to Israel first and America second, was widely panned by the Jewish community and by newspapers like the Washington Post. But neither Rosenberg nor Media Matters disavowed the slur.

According to Breitbart.com journalist Ben Shapiro, Media Matters senior fellow Eric Boehlert “once downplayed genocidal anti-Semitism, routinely suggests that media coverage is too pro-Israel thanks to intimidation by nefarious forces …, and defended terrorist professor Sami Al-Arian.”

Another Media Matters figure, research fellow Oliver Willis, has accused Israel of “playing games with American lives” by building settlements on lands occupied by the Jewish state during the 1967 Six-Day War. Further, Willis writes that he “can’t wait for the day when we can tell both sides [of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict] to go to hell”; that “the Democratic Party will be at its best” only after pro-Israel, AIPAC-affiliated liberals are “marginalized”; and that conservatives consistently attack “everyone who doesn’t march in lockstep with Israel.”

Media Matters’ Influence on the Obama Administration

A February 2012 Daily Caller exposé revealed that Media Matters had “regular contact with political operatives” inside the Obama White House, in part through its weekly strategy calls with members of the administration. In June 2010, for instance, David Brock and Media Matters president Eric Burns met at the White House with Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett and the President’s former communications director, Anita Dunn, who had recently (in November 2009) stepped down from that post amid controversy. Dunn, for her part, parroted Media Matters’ claim that Fox News is “more a wing of the Republican Party” than a media outlet. When Fox News host Glenn Beck had accurately revealed, in 2009, Dunn’s self-professed admiration for Mao Zedong, Media Matters condemned the broadcaster for what it called his “ridiculous smear of Anita Dunn.”

In November 2014 the Obama White House nominated Matthew S. Butler, the former CEO and president of Media Matters, to serve as a commissioner on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). As Heritage Foundation scholar Hans von Spakovsky writes: “The EAC serves as a national clearinghouse and resource for information about the best practices in election administration. It is also responsible for the accreditation of testing laboratories and the certification, decertification, and recertification of voting systems, like the electronic voting machines many people use when they vote in their precincts.”

Collaborating with NOW, Against Rush Limbaugh

In early May 2012, Media Matters and the National Organization for Women held a secret, narrowly focused strategy session to brainstorm ways of getting the conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh off the air. According to Media Matters online outreach director Jay Carmona, the key would be to target Limbaugh’s advertisers in local radio markets. “[M]ost local station affiliates make the bulk of their profit off of these local advertising dollars,” said Carmona, “so targeting your local advertisers really is how you get those local stations to drop Rush.”

Collaborating with the Justice Department

On September 18, 2012, The Daily Caller reported that dozens of pages of internal Department of Justice (DOJ) emails (obtained via the Freedom of Information Act) showed that Media Matters had secretly collaborated with the communications staff of Attorney General Eric Holder in an effort to discredit and suppress further news stories about scandals that were plaguing Holder and his agency. Among those scandals were DOJ’s infamous dismissal of voter-intimidation charges against the New Black Panther Party, and the role Holder and other DOJ officials may have played in Operation Fast and Furious.
For further details about these collaborations between Media Matters and DOJ, click here.

Media Matters’ collaboration with DOJ is significant because the former enjoys tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This not only exempts Media Matters from paying federal tax on its income, but also permits its donors to claim income-tax deductions for their contributions to the organization. However, 501(c)(3) status is typically reserved for groups that do not engage in partisan politicking, a criterion that Media Matters clearly does not meet.

Involvement in Gun-Related Felonies

In January 2013 the Daily Caller reported that former Media Matters staffer Haydn Price-Morris, who lacked a permit to carry a concealed firearm, had “committed numerous felonies in the District of Columbia and around the country” by carrying a fully loaded Glock handgun to protect David Brock during the latter’s travels. According to the Daily Caller, “multiple firearms used to protect the Media Matters founder were purchased with Brock’s blessing—and apparently with the group’s money.” Records show that the Glock was purchased with cash in Maryland, so as to prevent the transaction from appearing in the tax-exempt group’s financial books.

Stephen Halbrook, a D.C.-area attorney who had practiced gun law for more than 35 years, said that Price-Morris “could be looking at some substantial prison time because if we use the low-end felony sentence of five years, you could get five years for the non-registration, five for the carrying, and then [more for] the second offenses of the magazine being over 10 rounds and then the cartridges.” Halbrook also said that Brock himself could possibly be charged as “a conspirator, or maybe an aider or abettor of a crime.”

“Misinformer of the Year” Award

Media Matters annually presents a “Misinformer of the Year” award to the journalist, commentator, and/or network that was, by Media Matters’ reckoning, responsible for the most numerous and/or grievous inaccuracies. Past recipients include Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly (2004); MSNBC’s Chris Matthews (2005); ABC (2006); Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity (2008); Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck (2009); Fox News Channel’s Sarah Palin (2010); and Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation (2011).

Media Matters’ “Progressive Talent Initiative”

In 2009 Media Matters launched its Progressive Talent Initiative (PTI), a sort of boot camp/training ground for young progressives who wish to help push the media ever-more leftward. By December 2014, its graduates had appeared at least 800 times as commenters or interviewees on TV and radio. According to a Washington Post report: “Media Matters uses that metric to pitch donors for more contributions.

Budget, Staffing, and Funding

MMfA began with the help of $2 million in donations. According to Byron York of the National Review, additional funding came from MoveOn.org and the New Democrat Network. In 2004, MMfA received the endorsement of the Democracy Alliance, a partnership of wealthy and politically active progressive donors. The Alliance itself does not fund endorsees, but many wealthy Alliance members acted on the endorsement and donated directly to MMfA.

Media Matters has a policy of not comprehensively listing donors. In 2010, six years after the Democracy Alliance initially endorsed MMfA, financier George Soros — a founding and continuing member of the Alliance — announced that he was donating $1 million to MMfA. Soros said his concern over “recent evidence suggesting that the incendiary rhetoric of Fox News hosts may incite violence” had moved him to donate to MMfA. During a 2014 CNN interview, David Brock stated that Soros’ contributions were “less than 10 percent” of Media Matters’ budget. 

The Gateway Pundit reported that in January 2017, after Hillary Clinton was shellacked in the November 2016 election, top Democrat operatives at Media Matters, Share Blue, American Bridge, and CREW came together and released their two-year plan to take back power in Washington DC.

A leaked memo obtained by The Free Beacon documents how George Soros funded groups plotted with Google, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to eliminate conservative “right wing propaganda.” The confidential, 49-page memo for defeating Trump was presented in January 2017 by Media Matters founder David Brock at a retreat in Florida with about 100 donors, the Washington Free Beacon reported at the time. The recent wave of censorship of conservative voices on the internet by tech giants Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Apple mirrors a plan concocted by a coalition of George Soros-funded, progressive groups to take back power in Washington from President Trump’s administration.

The document obtained by The Free Beacon states that Media Matters and other Soros funded groups have “access to raw data from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites” so they can “systemically monitor and analyze this unfiltered data.”

WND reports that the memo spells out a four-year agenda that deployed Media Matters along with American Bridge, Shareblue and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) to attack Trump and Republicans. The strategies are impeachment, expanding Media Matters’ mission to combat “government misinformation,” ensuring Democratic control of the Senate in the 2018 midterm elections, filing lawsuits against the Trump administration, monetizing political advocacy, using a “digital attacker” to delegitimize Trump’s presidency and damage Republicans, and partnering with Facebook to combat “fake news.”

The Gateway Pundit pointed out that in 2016, Google carried out that plan on the Gateway Pundit blog and other conservative sites, including Breitbart, the Drudge Report, Infowars, Zero Hedge and Conservative Treehouse. President Donald Trump himself was affected, with his engagement on Facebook dropping by 45 percent. A study in June by Gateway Pundit found Facebook had eliminated 93 percent of the traffic of top conservative news outlets.2

Additional Information

For additional information on Media Matters, click here.

NOTE:
Soros was referring to Media Matters senior fellow Eric Boehlert’s assertion that Glenn Beck’s rhetoric had motivated a deranged gunman named Byron Williams, a multiple-felon who had twice been convicted for bank robbery, to aspire to kill employees at the San Francisco-based Tides Foundation and “start a revolution.” Williams, who engaged in a 12-minute shootout with police on a California freeway, never reached his destination (Tides), but he cited Beck, who had recently criticized the work of that Foundation, as his inspiration. Boehlert wrote that Beck “has routinely smeared the low-profile entity [Tides] for being staffed by ‘thugs’ and ‘bullies’ and [being] involved in ‘the nasty of the nastiest,’ like indoctrinating schoolchildren and creating a ‘mass organization to seize power.’” Boehlert added that “nobody knew” about Tides “until Glenn Beck started targeting it.” During the weeks that followed the Williams incident, Media Matters posted dozens of stories about the gunman, all of them mentioning the alleged influence of Glenn Beck.

Source: https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/organizations/media-matters-for-america-mmfa/

Lead Stories

Described as “a web-based fact-checking platform that identifies false or misleading stories, rumors, and conspiracies by using its Trendolizer technology to identify trending content that is then fact-checked by their team of journalists.” The platform, founded in 2015, serves as one of Facebook’s partners for fact-checking content shared by users. According to The National Pulse, 50 percent of Lead Stories’ staff have been affiliated with CNN, totalling more than 100 years of experience with Cable News Network and many, including the top brass, are Democratic Party donors and former CNN employees.

According to their about page “Lead Stories is mainly written by Maarten Schenk and Alan Duke. Maarten is based in Europe (Belgium) while Alan is in the United States of America (California). Administrative and legal affairs are handled by Perry R. Sanders of Sanders Law Firm in Colorado Springs.” The founder of Sanders Law Firm, Perry R. Sanders Jr., is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Lead Stories LLC, and it appears Sanders’ son, Perry R. Sanders III, is the Social Media Manager for Lead Stories LLC.

What separates them is the use of a specific engine called the Trendolizer, which tracks story trends that allows Lead Stories to quickly debunk “fake news” (ie: truth and non-propaganda) before it becomes viral. Lead Stories does not use loaded language and factually sources all fact checks with credible information. All fact checks reviewed were accurate.

The National Pulse discovered Lead Stories’ strong left-wing bias after the group marked as “partly false” an article examining Black Lives Matter’s ties to the Democratic Party, despite BLM’s assertion of political neutrality. The article noted that the Black Lives Matter website partners with the Democrat fundraising platform ActBlue, which also serves as a top donor to Joe Biden. Lead Stories claims in its “Hoax Alert” section that The National Pulse’s reporting falls short of the truth because ACtBlue is merely a “payment processor” and is thus not affiliated with Joe Biden for President.

But as the article points out, ActBlue exclusively works with Democrats; Black Lives Matter’s use of the platform, rather than a more neutral option such as GoFundMe, shows a clear partisan alignment. The National Pulse contacted Lead Stories’ editor-in-chief Alan Duke, who told the outlet he could not discuss the issue of the fact-check over the phone, saying only that appeals must be made by e-mail (but without providing an e-mail address). Now whenever someone shares that story on Facebook, they see a message that reads “Independent fact-checkers at Lead Stories say information in your post is partly false. To stop the spread of false news, we’ve added a notice to your post.
The message then goes on to say, “All fact-checkers who partner with Facebook must be signatories of the International Fact-Checking Network and follow their Code of Principles.” A look at IFCN’s Code of Principles reveals that in the very first principle, fact-checkers are required to make “a commitment to non-partisanship and fairness.” Despite that commitment, the makeup of Lead Stories’ staff is the very essence of “partisanship.”

As The National Pulse notes:

While many on the left and the establishment right insist “big tech bias” is non-existent, the background of and individuals involved with Lead Stories suggests otherwise.
Lead Stories Chairman and founder Perry Sanders is a devout Democrat, donating over $10,000 to political campaigns — every penny going to Democratic candidates.
Sanders donated $3,700 to Hilary Clinton‘s presidential campaign and gave $4,000 to Obama’s 2008 presidential effort.
The left-wing connections go beyond Sanders, who is also known as Michael Jackson’s family lawyer.

Victoria Eavis, a writer for the site, has also donated via ActBlue, writer Alexis Tereszcuk donated twice to the Clinton campaign in 2016 totaling $500, $25 via ActBlue, and $250 to failed Democratic congressional candidate Nick Leibham. Writer Gita Smith appears to have donated 99 times amounting to $1,839.82 to Democratic campaigns.… Smith also donated to Swing Left, a hard-left political group formed in reaction to the election of President Trump intent on “defeating Trump.” Notably, no donations from Lead Stories staff were made to Republicans.

Then there’s Lead Stories’ managing editor Eric Ferkenhoff, who has implied President Trump is a “white nationalist” and openly criticized him.

Editor-in-chief Alan Duke worked as a CNN reporter and editor for nearly 30 years, Senior Editor Monte Plott was also a former news editor for CNN digital news for more than a decade, and six other writers and fact-checkers have also worked for the left-leaning cable news outlet. The National Pulse reached out to Facebook about the clear bias of its fact-checking partner. The social-media giant responded that their fact-checkers are certified by IFCN. The Poynter Institute, which runs IFCN, is funded by various progressive entities, such as George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.

Duke would also blatantly lie to cover up for the UN hiring of disarmament officers in NY. National File was the first news organization to break news about a job listing for a Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Officer posted by the United Nations’ New York office. Lead Stories published an article by Alan Duke which claimed National File’s reporting, again, was “Fake News” claiming, with no proof, that the job listing was “NOT FOR USA” in garish red font and Lead Stories watermarks stamped over a screenshot of the original National File article.

At this point, earnest truth-seekers are almost better off reading stories the establishment fact-checkers have labeled “false” than those marked “true.”

Source: https://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/computers/item/36080-fb-fact-checker-is-staffed-by-democrat-donors-ex-cnn-employees

Disinformation

intentionally false or misleading information that is spread in a calculated way to deceive target audiences. The English word, which did not appear in dictionaries until the late-1980s, is a translation of the Russian дезинформация, transliterated as dezinformatsiya. Disinformation is different from misinformation, which is information that is unintentionally false. Misinformation can be used to define disinformation — where disinformation is misinformation that is purposefully and intentionally disseminated in order to defraud.

Disinformation is a warfare tactic mainly used by governments. The purpose of disinformation is to discredit an enemy or political dissenters. It has been well documented that intelligence agencies in the past have been behind numerous successful disinformation operations. Intelligence agencies keep a very close eye on all activities and movements. The heads of intelligence agencies know very well that they are there to protect the elite at all costs.

The elite foresaw the coming digital age and devised effective strategies to counter all threats to them in this coming information age. They know the future, because they create it. With the advent of the internet and the free flow of information they realized the danger of getting exposed by individuals who would for sure form a truth movement that would certainly unmask them. They devised the strategy to counter this danger by spreading disinformation. They set up individuals and groups in advance to lead the (fake) truth movement. Giving the public leaders themselves, who in reality are misleaders.

One of the main goals of intelligence agencies like the CIA and MI6 became to discredit the alternative news and information that exposes the existence of this ruling elite and their plans.

How Disinformation Works

Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. A common disinformation tactic is to mix  truth and facts with lies and misleading conclusions. Disinformation is an act of deception.

Joseph W. Caddell discusses five types of deception in his December 2004 monograph Deception 101 – Primer on deception:

  1. Strategic Deception: Deception which disguises your basic objectives, intentions, strategies, and capabilities.
    Operational Deception: Deception which confuses or diverts an adversary in regard to a specific operation or action you are preparing to conduct.
  2. Tactical Deception: Deception which misleads others while they are actively involved in competition with you, your interests, or your forces.
  3. “A” Type Deception: “Ambiguity Deception” geared toward creating general confusion.
  4. “M” Type Deception: “Misleading Deception” designed to mislead an adversary into a specific and preconceived direction.
  5. All above five types of deception are used in the truth movement.

The method of operation : Mixing of facts with fiction

The primary goal of disinformation in our context is to discredit and misdirect. They set up individuals and groups in advance to lead the (fake) truth movement. These individual are very well funded and are helped to get a large audience. That’s why many of them also get mainstream media coverage. If someone is telling the complete truth then he will likely never be on mainstream media.

Discredit

Discrediting the alternative media is an essential task that these disinfo agents have to accomplish. These disinfo agents help to do so by flooding the internet with nonsensical stuff like aliens , reptiles and so on. Mixing it with legitimate and genuine information regarding the Illuminati and the New World Order. They mix facts with fiction. They write and speak about the federal reserve, plans for a global government, false flag operations, corporate media deception etc but then they talk about aliens, reptilians, new age mumbo jumbo and other ludicrous stuff. When the moment people hear them talk about aliens, reptile shape shifters or that moon is an alien spaceship they immediately stop listening to them any further. People lose all their curiosity and interest. Many people then consider everything they have spoken on as also some kind of meaningless rubbish. This way they successfully turn people away from believing in the true parts of their speech like the federal reserve being a private central bank or global governance agenda.

Misdirect and Confuse

Another goal that is accomplished by these disinfo agents is that they misdirect the people who still believe in them. These fake truthers make a fool of their followers and after telling some truth they spin them off into a wrong direction.  Their followers are left reading and discussing aliens, reptilians, new age doctrines, free energy pseudosciences or some other distraction.

We are going to fight and defeat these dynastic elite families by exposing who they are, what they believe in, how their system works and where they are taking us, only then something can be expected to change. Talking about aliens or reptiles or new age teachings is not the solution. We should discuss serious topics like Bilderberg group, CFR, Trilateral commission, BIS, IMF, global governance, central banking, free trade, privatization, police state, Orwellian smart cities, geoengineering , microchipping, Agenda 21,  transhumanism, fake wars, poisonous GMO food, Biometric ID cards etc.

Talking about aliens, reptilians, nibiru, chakras, free energy pseudosciences is not going to change anything. The only result of mixing it all up and presenting it in this way is that others won’t take you seriously and everything you say will be considered as a joke.

Another major thing disinfo agents do is that they create massive confusion.
They keep their followers in a state of confusion. Their followers lack a good understanding and nothing is clear to them.  There is no manifesto, no  coherent information, no context,  no outline, no framework, just lots of random, disconnected and unrelated data. They mix all kinds of disconnected, unrelated information together and talk on hundreds of different topics in order to create confusion.

True Researchers Disregarded.

Once their shills have hijacked the truth movement then it doesn’t matter even if someone is telling the complete truth because the truth is lost in the web of disinformation. Disinfo agents outnumber true researchers and their work is ignored. They are also not taken seriously by the general public. People assume they also must be believing in wacky alien theories. True researchers lose reliability and credibility just because people associate them with these disinfo agents and not because they are wrong or making errors but because these fakes use many same terms and speak on topics they do, people then also associate them with these disinfo agents and consider them just like one of these disinfo lunatics.
Now we have these buzz words and slang like “conspiracy theorists”, “tin foil hat”, that’s a famous label now, anyone holding an alternative viewpoint is now called as a tin foil hat guy.

The Debunkers

Once the truth movement has been hijacked by these disinfo agents and implants and they have successfully built this ridiculous image of the alternative media and turned the movement into some kind of circus then what intelligence agencies do is that they set their agents who act as debunkers. So they create both the disinformation agents and the debunker agents. They also set up individuals who act as skeptics, rationalists, conspiracy psychologists and write lengthy material debunking the conspiracies across the internet. The debunkers run skepticism and rationalism websites and they try to debunk the endless conspiracy theories. With the fictional theories they also attack the real ones applying fallacious reasoning and twisted logic. People fall for the lies of these pseudo skeptics just because of the outlandish theories perpetuated by the fake truthers. The only reason people reject the legitimate information is because of these bogus and absurd theories that are mixed with them.

Sourcehttps://endalltyranny.wordpress.com/category/disinformation/

Fake News

Fake News is an attack by the Deep State and their controlled mainstream media to discredit the truth and those trying to expose their lies. A secret cabal, the Illuminati, conspired more than 200 years ago to use their resources to control the world. In 1917, Representative Oscar Callaway entered into the Congressional Record his findings of JP Morgan’s purchase of several large and influential newspapers. JP Morgan’s newspapers later began publishing false news stories to change opinions of the American people and bolster support to enter WW1. Among these fake news stories were that Belgian babies were having their hands cut off, being impaled by bayonet’s, and even being nailed to a door. Also, that a Canadian had been crucified by German soldiers, and that dead bodies were being boiled down by “corpse factories” to be used for ammunition and pig food. These fake news stories were highly successful in engendering hatred toward the Germans.

A few years earlier, in 1908, later revealed by an investigation by the House of Representatives in 1953 of the tax exempt foundations, that in the archived minutes of meetings in 1908 – the Carnegie Endowment’s trustees asked themselves this question: “Is there any way known to man more effective than war, to so alter the life of an entire people?”

For a year the trustees sought an effective “peaceful” method to “alter the life of an entire people.” Ultimately, they concluded that war was the most effective way to change people. Consequently, the trustees of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace next asked themselves: “How do we involve the United States in a war?” And they answered, “We must control the diplomatic machinery of the United States by first gaining control of the State Department.” Norman Dodd stated that the trustees’ minutes reinforced what the Reece Committee had uncovered elsewhere about the Carnegie Endowment: “It had already become a powerful policy-making force inside the State Department.”

§ r. CALLAWAY: … “In March, 1915, the J.P. Morgan interests, the steel, ship building and powder interests and their subsidiary organizations, got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press in the United States.

“These 12 men worked the problems out by selecting 179 newspapers, and then began, by an elimination process, to retain only those necessary for the purpose of controlling the general policy of the daily press throughout the country. They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers. The 25 papers were agreed upon; emissaries were sent to purchase the policy, national and international, of these papers; an agreement was reached; the policy of the papers was bought, to be paid for by the month; an editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information regarding the questions of preparedness, militarism, financial policies and other things of national and international nature considered vital to the interests of the purchasers.”

“This contract is in existence at the present time, and it accounts for the news columns of the daily press of the country being filled with all sorts of preparedness arguments and misrepresentations as to the present condition of the United States Army and Navy, and the possibility and probability of the United States being attacked by foreign foes.

“This policy also included the suppression of everything in opposition to the wishes of the interests served. The effectiveness of this scheme has been conclusively demonstrated by the character of the stuff carried in the daily press throughout the country since March, 1915. They have resorted to anything necessary to commercialize public sentiment and sandbag the National Congress into making extravagant and wasteful appropriations for the Army and Navy under false pretense that it was necessary. Their stock argument is that it is ‘patriotism.’ They are playing on every prejudice and passion of the American people.”

This media control continued to grow, especially aided by the Alan Dulles created CIA, and was able to manipulate and control many journalist and most news outlets. In fact, it was revealed in 1975 congressional hearings that Operation Mockingbird was a CIA covert operation to infiltrate and control the media and had more than 400 CIA agents actually working for the media and dispersing government propaganda.

Today, most people get their news online via sources like Google and Facebook, and these are both ‘in bed’ with the deep state government.

Videos: