A report last week by Media Research Center (MRC) revealed that social demolitionist billionaire George Soros has been funding 253 groups that influence global media.
One of those groups is The Poynter Institute, the world’s largest fact-checking giant and owner of PolitiFact. Between 2016 and 2020, The Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) received $492,000 from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation. Poynter is also funded by such notable organizations as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy, Ebay´s Omidyar Foundation, and others.
Global tech giants are also counted among Poynter’s main funders. Google and subsidiary YouTube announced this month a $13.2 million fund for “fact-checking” initiatives until 2025, which will be headed by the IFCN. Poynter said in a statement that the projects will “reduce misinformation.”
Poynter, which owns the Tampa Bay Times and other local media brands, also maintains close relationships with mainstream media outlets, coaching and training journalists and corporate media executives on certain narratives.
The Washington Post, for example, another of Poynter’s benefactors, hires Poynter to “develop their leaders through senior-level workshops.” Aside from The Washington Post, Poynter is also hired by NBC News, Newsweek and NPR, among other media organizations. Poynter’s Senior Vice President Kelly McBride also serves as NPR’s public editor.
Poynter’s IFCN reportedly works with 100 fact-checking organizations across the globe. Some of this work includes spreading pro-COVID-19 vaccine propaganda. According to its 2021 tax returns, Poynter spent over $300,000 in “vaccine grant programs” which aim “to support projects focused on increasing the distribution speed and capacity of fact checks to tackle COVID-19 and vaccine-related mis/disinformation.”
But Poynter’s PolitiFact is itself a known peddler of misinformation. In 2018, for example, PolitiFact fact-checked a claim by President Trump that Twitter was shadowbanning Republicans. Shadowbanning is when a social media platform quietly limits the reach of a post without notifying the poster. PolitiFact made a desperate attempt to cover for Twitter, saying the algorithm had a “glitch,” which was quickly fixed.
However, the recent release of a trove of internal Twitter documents called The Twitter Files revealed that President Trump was correct, and that the shadowbanning was neither caused by an algorithm nor was it fixed. Instead, Twitter executives pointedly and deliberately moved to silence conservative speech on the platform.
According to a study by Media Research Center, PolitiFact fact-checked Donald Trump 52 times during the first 100 days of his presidency, and just 13 times for Joe Biden in the first 100 days of his occupation of the White House.
Furthermore, Media Research Center found that PolitiFact is eight times more likely to defend Joe Biden than fact-check his statements.
“Overall, Biden’s PolitiFact page shows he’s been put on the ‘Truth-O-Meter’ 169 times in the website’s history beginning in 2007, and was found to be on the True/Mostly True side 67 times (almost 40 percent) and Mostly False or worse 78 times (46 percent),” notes Media Research Center. “By contrast, Donald Trump has 931 of these fact-checks, and 692 of them Mostly False or worse (74.3 percent). Trump has 161 ‘Pants on Fire’ ratings. Biden has six.”
In August 2021 the fact-checker came under fire for falsely claiming that a tweet by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) about arresting runaway legislators was false.
In May 2021 PolitiFact hosted a propaganda event called “United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking” featuring National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci. The event’s VIP Experience, priced at $100, included “a private virtual happy hour with CNN’s Brian Stelter and small group break-out sessions with PolitiFact fact-checkers.”
An independent analysis by Frontline News found that fact-checkers such as PolitiFact are not held accountable when making false and misleading claims, particularly regarding medical science.