Fact-checking the fact-checkers
Chris Field: The idea behind fact checks is to keep the media and elected officials accountable.
Over the last several years, fact-checking has grown into an industry with power to sway news coverage, elections, and policy debates, and to impact a company’s financial well-being.
With the growth of these fact-checking outlets have come accusations of bias and instances of infamous failures.
Who can forget:
Barack Obama: “If you like your current insurance, you will keep your current insurance.”
Field: Politifact repeatedly defended President Barack Obama’s claims about health care plans, and then turned around and declared his statement to be the “lie of the year.”
Hillary Clinton’s claims about her private email had fact checkers jumping to her defense —
Hillary Clinton: “I never received nor sent any material that was marked classified.”
Field: — only to later recant and label the claims “false.”
And early reports of the coronavirus lab-leak theory were dinged by fact-checkers who later admitted the theory was viable.
Many of these same fact-checkers now have deals with social media companies that allow them to severely limit and even halt the reach and monetization of people and businesses they might ideologically oppose.
People want to know: Who checks the fact checkers?
Welcome to Fact Check Check™.