Phony baloney: The 9 fakest fake-news checkers
Category: News & PoliticsVia: xxjefferson51 • 4 years ago • 40 comments
He ranked the news organizations as “Garbage Left (not worth it),” “Hyper-Partisan Left (To Confirm Your Beliefs),” “Leans Left (Not Horrible),” “Neutral (What Journalism Should Be),” “Leans Right (Not Horrible),” “Hyper-Partisan Right (To Confirm Your Beliefs)” and “Garbage Right (Not Worth It).”
Healy labeled WND, the Drudge Report, the Blaze, Accuracy in Media, the Family Research Council, Breitbart and other organizations as “Garbage Right (Not Worth It).”
However, Healy considers the following to be “Neutral (What Journalism Should Be)”: Reuters, USA Today, the Texas Tribune, Financial Times, Associated Press, C-SPAN and the Economist. Even NPR is located partially in the “neutral” category on his chart.
One Twitter user named Nigel Fenwick asked Healy : “Hi Will – is this your own graphic? What’s the basis of this analysis? What data was used? Is it objective or subjective?”
Healy simply replied : “[M]ost of this was from mediabiasfactcheck.com but note this is just the first draft. I plan on a final version later.”
WND’s request for comment from Healy concerning his news ranking methodology and expertise in evaluating news organizations hadn’t been returned at the time of this report.
He appears to have some anti-Trump views. On Election Day, Healy tweeted: “Anyone who voted third party should hold their head high. They didn’t vote for a horrible candidate. That they voted their conscience. In May 2016, he tweeeted his support for former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson , who was the Libertarian Party nominee in the race for the White House: “I side 82% with @GovGaryJohnson. Just reaffirms my choice this November.”
Media Bias Fact Check
MediaBIasFactCheck.com describes itself as “the most comprehensive media bias resource in the Internet.” The site is owned by Dave Van Zandt from North Carolina, who offers no biographical information about himself aside from the following: “Dave has been freelancing for 25+ years for a variety of print and web mediums (sic), with a focus on media bias and the role of media in politics. Dave is a registered Non-Affiliated voter who values evidence based reporting” and, “Dave Van Zandt obtained a Communications Degree before pursuing a higher degree in the sciences. Dave currently works full time in the health care industry. Dave has spent more than 20 years as an arm chair researcher on media bias and its role in political influence.”
WND was unable to locate a single article with Van Zandt’s byline. Ironically, the “fact checker” fails to establish his own credibility by disclosing his qualifications and training in evaluating news sources.
Asked for information concerning his expertise in the field of journalism and evaluating news sources, Van Zandt told WND: “I am not a journalist and just a person who is interested in how media bias impacts politics. You will find zero claims of expertise on the website.”
Concerning his purported “25+ years” of experience writing for print and web media, he said: “I am not sure why the 25+ years is still on the website. That was removed a year ago when I first started the website. All of the writing I did was small print news zines from the ’90s. I felt that what I wrote in the ’90s is not related to what I am doing today so I removed it. Again, I am not a journalist. I simply have a background in communications and more importantly science where I learned to value evidence over all else. Through this I also became interested in research of all kinds, especially media bias, which is difficult to measure and is subjective to a degree.”
WND asked: Were your evaluations reviewed by any experts in the industry?
“I can’t say they have,” Van Zandt replied. “Though the right-of-center Atlantic Council is using our data for a project they are working on.”
Van Zandt says he uses “three volunteers” to “research and assist in fact checking.” However, he adds that he doesn’t pay them for their services.
Van Zandt lists WND on his “Right Bias” page , alongside news organizations such as Fox News, the Drudge Report, the Washington Free Beacon, the Daily Wire, the Blaze, Breitbart, Red State, Project Veritas, PJ Media, National Review, Daily Caller and others.
“These media sources are highly biased toward conservative causes,” Van Zandt writes. “They utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage conservative causes. Sources in this category may be untrustworthy.”
His special notes concerning WND link to Snopes.com and PolitiFact.com, websites that have their own questionable reputations and formulas as so-called “fact checkers.” (See the “Snopes” and “PolitiFact” entries below.)
Asked if his own political leanings influence his evaluations, Van Zandt said: “Sure it is possible. However, our methodology is designed to eliminate most of that. We also have a team of 4 researchers with different political leanings so that we can further reduce researcher bias.”
Bill Palmer of the website Daily News Bin accused Van Zandt of retaliating when the Daily News Bin contacted him about his rating. Palmer wrote :
“[I]t turns out Van Zandt has a vindictive streak. After one hapless social media user tried to use his phony ‘Media Bias Fact Check’ site to dispute a thoroughly sourced article from this site, Daily News Bin, we made the mistake of contacting Van Zandt and asking him to take down his ridiculous ‘rating’ – which consisted of nothing more than hearsay such as ‘has been accused of being satire.’ Really? When? By whom? None of those facts seem to matter to the guy running this ‘Media Bias Fact Check’ scam.
“But instead of acknowledging that he’d been caught in the act, Van Zandt retaliated against Daily News Bin by changing his rating to something more sinister. He also added a link to a similar phony security company called World of Trust, which generates its ratings by allowing random anonymous individuals to post whatever bizarre conspiracy theories they want, and then letting these loons vote on whether that news site is ‘real’ or not. These scam sites are now trying to use each other for cover, in order to back up the false and unsubstantiated ‘ratings’ they semi-randomly assign respected news outlets. …“‘Media Bias Fact Check’ is truly just one guy making misleading claims about news outlets while failing to back them up with anything, while maliciously changing the ratings to punish any news outlets that try to expose the invalidity of what he’s doing.”
But Van Zandt accused Palmer of threatening him , and he said MediaBiasFactCheck welcomes criticism. If evidence is provided, he said, the site will correct its errors.
“Bottom line is, we are not trying to be something we are not,” he said. “We have disclaimers on every page of the website indicating that our method is not scientifically proven and that there is [sic] subjective judgments being used as it is unavoidable with determining bias.”
Fake News Checker
FakeNewsChecker.com is another self-appointed “fact checker” run by anonymous individuals. The website offers no contact information.
As WND reported , the site is publishing “fake news,” specifically “fake news” about WND. It claims that WND’s founder and CEO, Joseph Farah, “received donations from the Donald Trump superPAC “Great America “PAC” (sic) calling into further question the motives behind the ‘fake’ and conspiratorial nature of the content.”
But there’s one major problem with the site’s purported “fact.”
WND didn’t get any donations from any superPACs, “not this one or any other,” company officials confirmed.
FakeNewsChecker.com effectively categorizes as “fake” virtually all news resources except those in the “mainstream media,” which surveys reveal are enjoying less and less consumer trust these days.
The website states:
Fake news has become a catchall term for news sources that lack journalistic integrity. These sites use sensational headlines, make false claims, exaggerate the editorial spin to reflect a bias, are misleading, are conspiratorial, are anti-science, promote propaganda, are written in satire or just plain hoaxes. Many of the sites are untrustworthy because they begin with a premise that is close to a truth and build a false story around it. Please check your sources and your emotions as you read the articles on these sites.