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Poynter retracts list of ‘unreliable news sources’ after listed sites prove it to be unreliable

By Helen Buyniski | RT | May 3, 2019

Journalism nonprofit Poynter has retracted a long list of supposedly unreliable news websites, admitting the list itself was unreliable – a fact ironically brought to its attention by several of the outlets it calls untrustworthy.

“We regret that we failed to ensure that the data was rigorous before publication, and apologize for the confusion and agitation caused by its publication,” Poynter’s managing director Barbara Allen wrote after removing the list from its website. Allen notably didn’t apologize for compiling the list in the first place, and it is unlikely we’ve heard the last of Poynter’s unreliability index, given that mainstream media gatekeepers have been trying to convince the public it needs an exalted class of media-whisperers to interpret the news for years.

Before deleting entirely, Poynter apologized to the Washington Examiner and FirstPost, two of several sites included on the blacklist who politely inquired as to why they’d been included. Baybars Orsek even told the Examiner that “the total number of complaints is less than 2 percent of the whole database.” By Thursday night, however, the page had vanished, and “inconsistencies between the findings of the original databases… and our own rendering” were blamed, with a promise that a “more consistent and rigorous set of criteria” was on its way. We can hardly wait!

RT made the “unreliable” list, hardly a surprise given the notable bias of neocon-affiliated “fact-checkers” like the folks at NewsGuard, but the other 515 sites held a few surprises. In addition to about 30 well-known conservative outlets like the Daily Caller (“bias,” “clickbait”) and Drudge Report (“bias”), popular progressive pages like Common Dreams (“clickbait”) and Activist Post (“conspiracy,” “unreliable”) are listed side by side with apolitical platforms like Liveleak (“fake”) among the obvious fakes (including joke sites like Clickhole and Reductress ). The list thus appears to be a PropOrNot-style “wrongthink”-tracker designed to tar legitimate dissent and other inconvenient voices with the ‘fake news’ brush.

Poynter apparently doesn’t think much of its audience’s intelligence, as the list included “satire” among the otherwise somewhat interchangeable terms it used to smear included sites – “bias,” “unreliable,” “fake,” “clickbait,” and “conspiracy.” Never mind that some conspiracies are real – Watergate, anyone? – or that their definition of “clickbait” would condemn most of the internet (“sources that provide generally credible content, but use exaggerated, misleading, or questionable headlines, social media descriptions, and/or images”). Blacklisting “satire” because you assume readers are too dim to “get it” enshrines the lowest common denominator in the driver’s seat.

The blacklist was supposedly “built from pre-existing databases compiled by journalists, fact-checkers and researchers around the country,” though Poynter admits that more than half the domains in those databases were no longer active as of November 2018. Most of the data came from OpenSources, a database run by Merrimack University’s Melissa Zimdars, whose academic work, as Breitbart (“bias, unreliable”) noted, centers almost exclusively on obesity (“Watching Our Weights: The Consequences and Contradictions of Televising Fatness in the ‘Obesity Epidemic’”), despite her self-styled credentials as a ‘fake news’ analyst.

The absence of any mainstream voices from the list despite numerous instances of fake stories parading across their pages just in recent months – Covington Catholic students harassing peaceful protesters, the hate crime against Jussie Smollett, Maduro’s government burning humanitarian aid, Donald Trump’s campaign colluding with the Russians – says all that is necessary about the real purpose of Poynter’s list, which is less about protecting readers from fake news than protecting readers from dissenting views.

May 3, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

US Fact-Checking Institute Sponsored by Soros on War Path Against ‘Fake News’

Sputnik – 26.01.2017

The fake news “hysteria” has recently resulted in a number of initiatives to fight against the so-called misleading information and false statements. The campaign has been launched by such Internet giants, as Facebook and Google.

For instance, Google has permanently blocked 200 publishers which are labelled by the search engine giants as fake news content sites. In its turn, German Facebook tasked the fact-checking Correctiv research center with filtering out fake news in its news feed.

In an interview with Sputnik Germany, experienced freelance journalist Paul Schreyer revealed some surprising facts about fact-checking teams.

According to Schreyer’s research, the fake news campaign was originally born in the US in a journalist school called the Poynter Institute in Florida. The school had been running a so-called International Fact Checking Network for over a year, consisting of journalists working for such major media outlets like AP or ABC.

“The Poynter Institute’s network is indirectly sponsored by the US government via a think tank, but also by the Bill Gates foundation, Google, George Soros and some other foundations. So you see in the background of the campaign against fake news there is a network of very financially strong elites and the government. You should keep in mind that there are not just journalists who are concerned about the reputation of the industry, but also very influential financiers in the background,” the journalist told Sputnik Germany.

In particular, Schreyer found out that the German Correctiv team also receives a lot of money from influential supporters.

“Correctiv has existed since 2014 and is, according to own data, an independent research center. It is funded by the Brost Foundation, a foundation of a well-known journalist, who built the WAZ media group in the post-war period. Correctiv receives about one million euros every year according to official figures, and there are also funds from private sponsors, from the Federal Center for Political Education and some media groups,” Schreyer stated.

The journalist also pointed out that the members of the team have not yet worked out certain criteria which they will use to fact-check the information and define false statements.

Although Correctiv consists of professional journalists, who worked for major German media outlets, like Der Stern und Der Spiegel, exactly this can be a problem during their work. In particular, it is not quite clear what kind of approach they will use to independently and unbiasedly check the content of large media groups with whom they have connections with. According to Schreyer, it is very difficult to define what fake news, actually, is.

“David Schraven [Correctiv team member] repeatedly said that they do not want to assess opinions, but rather check factual statements. This sounds quite reasonable, but when you think about it, you realize that you can’t separate opinions and factual statements so clearly at all. There can be statement in the middle of the two. For example, “Putin jeopardizes the security of Europe.” Is this now an opinion or a factual statement? Can this be checked? What criteria should be used to check it? There you have a grey zone which can very fast fall into the area of the censorship,” the journalist said.

Earlier, it was reported that German Facebook will trial a fake news filtering system for German users of the site, allowing individuals to fact-check and report stories they suspect to be untrue. The users will be able to flag any story that appears in their newsfeed they suspect is fake news.The story will then be dispatched to Correctiv and if the team determines the story to be fake, it will be marked as false and users seeing it in their feeds will be warned about its doubted authenticity. It will also be blocked from being promoted in users’ feeds.

Commenting on the new initiative, Schreyer stated that it sounds to him, like censorship and added that “the whole fake news topic has turned into an incredibly hysterical debate at the moment.”

Facebook representatives, in their turn, stated that by adding additional context to stories deemed fake, it gives people an opportunity to decide for themselves what to believe and what information they share.

See also:

Google Blacklists 200 Publisher Sites to Quell ‘Fake News’

UK University Scientists Consider ‘Vaccine’ Against Fake News

‘Neo-Liberals’ and ‘Fake News’: The West’s Campaign Against Free Speech

January 26, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment