It describes itself as a “nonprofit ‘consumer advocate’ for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics,” however the trojan horse project is a deep state propaganda outlet used to manipulate public opinion and add false credibility to their lies and cover ups. The site monitors TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, news releases, as well as subjective things like political rhetoric that are not susceptible to fact-checking.
FactCheck.org was established by the nonprofit Annenberg Public Policy Center which has been its main benefactor, but also recieves significant funding from Facebook and Google. Though FactCheck.org is the granddaddy of fact checkers, it was eclipsed in 2017 by PolitiFact in attention from mainstream media outlets, which use the two sites along with Snopes and other left wing organizations.
In April 2016 during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, PolitiFact weighed in on the controversy regarding the public restrooms law in North Carolina. The law required people in the state to use the public restroom that corresponds to their sex at birth.
PolitiFact ruled it objectively false to describe a person by his or her birth sex if that person identifies with another sex. The ruling came in response to an attack ad launched by then-Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz against frontrunner Trump, who said he opposed the North Carolina law. On the famed “Truth-O-Meter,” PolitiFact determined that Cruz’s ad was “mostly false.” But not because it falsely accused Trump of anything. Rather, PolitiFact adopted a radical position in vogue in academia and declared, “it’s not accurate to say that transgender women are men.”
A firestorm erupted. Writing in Mediaite, Alex Griswold said PolitiFact was being irresponsible. “What’s not fair is erasing a serious, highly contested debate out of existence because you want to nail a Republican presidential candidate as ‘wrong’ on an issue,” Griswold wrote. The website that enjoys framing itself as the final arbiter of what is and is not factually true ended up having to add an editor’s note:
“After we published this item, we heard from readers and others who said our description of a transgender woman made it sound as if there is no public debate over transgender issues or how gender is defined. We did not mean to suggest that, and we have edited our report to more fully reflect that ongoing debate. Our rating still stands, however, because the ad distorts Trump’s views on access to public bathrooms.”
The fact-checking website doubled down on its conclusion after it was backed into a corner. In the amended post, the phrase “it’s not accurate to say that transgender women are men,” became, “it’s not entirely accurate for Cruz to define a transgender woman as ‘a grown man pretending to be a woman.’”
Annenberg Public Policy Center
Its parent organization, the Annenberg Public Policy Center, was established by Walter H. Annenberg, the former publisher of TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer, President Richard Nixon’s ambassador to Great Britain, and a Republican. But over time the organization moved to the left.
An affiliated organization, the Annenberg Foundation, was also established by Ambassador Annenberg. The Annenberg Foundation gained notoriety in the 2008 presidential race for its commentary related to Barack Obama’s professional ties to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, with whom Obama ran the Chicago Annenberg Challenge from 1995 through 2001.
During that period, Obama was an Illinois state senator who wasn’t widely known. But the Chicago Annenberg Challenge most certainly knew who it was aligning itself with in Ayers, a notorious former leader of the Weather Underground group that took credit for bombing the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon in the 1970s.
The Annenberg education program turned out to be a colossal failure in Chicago. The goal of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge was to distribute millions of dollars to the Windy City’s government-run schools in partnership with other nonprofit groups. Similar Annenberg Challenge programs were established in other cities. The Chicago Challenge doled out $49.2 million over five years as a means of leveraging matching grants from public and private sources. Seventeen other school districts across the country received Annenberg Foundation funding as well, for a grand total of $500 million over five years.
In Chicago, the program assumed a decidedly ideological slant, which shouldn’t be shocking considering the involvement of Obama and Ayers. Millions of dollars were lavished on the Peace School, which taught K-12 pupils about peace organizations; the Global Village school, which promoted “global citizenship” and the United Nations; the Al Raby School with a “focus on community and the environment”; the Cesar E. Chavez Multicultural High School, named for the farm workers’ leader; and Grassroots School Improvement, which was operated by the now-bankrupt Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
Founding of FACTCHECK.ORG
It’s tough to imagine 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis inspiring much of anything. Yet FactCheck.org co-founder Brooks Jackson said the genesis of media fact-checking can be traced to the frustration journalists experienced over the supposedly unfair coverage of Dukakis during his failed presidential bid (Weekly Standard, Dec. 9, 2011).
Jackson was a journalist with the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, and CNN. He has covered national politics since 1970 and was the “Ad Police” for CNN during the 1992 presidential campaign. A decade later, in 2003, the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s director, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, recruited him to found FactCheck.org—which was online by the end of the year, in time for the 2004 presidential campaign. Jackson and Jamieson co-authored UnSpun in 2007 to explain how to see through lies and spin. Jamieson has also served on the board of the Center for Public Integrity, a left-leaning investigative journalism nonprofit that receives funding from left-wing hedge fund manager George Soros.
FactCheck.org features “Ask FactCheck,” where users ask questions based on ads or speeches; “Viral Spin,” which targets online myths and rumors; “Party Lines,” which focuses on talking points repeated by multiple members of either party; and “Mailbag,” which is basically a letters to the editor section.
In the Dec. 5, 2003 column that launched FactCheck.org, Jackson to his credit went after both parties’ candidates for president. “Our goal here can’t be to find truth—that’s a job for philosophers and theologians. What we can do here is sort through the factual claims being made between now and election day, using the best techniques of journalism and scholarship,” Jackson wrote.
In 2013 Jackson handed over the reins to Eugene Keily, formerly of the Philadelphia Inquirer and USA Today. Jackson remained as director emeritus.
FactCheck.org made news in the 2004 presidential campaign when Vice President Dick Cheney incorrectly cited it during the debate with Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards. Cheney said “FactCheck.com”— rather than “.org”—had defended his actions while he was CEO of Halliburton. The website leaped in to say Edwards was “mostly right” in his criticism of the Vice President. Pouncing on the “.com” slip from the vice president, the firm Name Administration, Inc. used the domain FactCheck.com to direct people to a George Soros-funded, anti-George W. Bush website (Washington Post, Oct. 7, 2004). The Post is now owned by leftist Amazon.com CEO, Jeff Bezos.
During the election cycle eight years later, FactCheck.org angered Democrats. In June 2012, the Obama campaign charged that while Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney worked for Bain Capital the company was heavily involved in outsourcing jobs to other countries. The Obama ad called Romney the “outsourcer-in-chief.” Yet FactCheck.org “found no evidence to support the claim that Romney—while he was still running Bain Capital— shipped American jobs overseas.” That’s because Romney wasn’t working at Bain when the outsourcing occurred; he was off running the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Unaccustomed to being challenged by mainstream media gatekeepers, the miffed Obama re-election campaign wrote a six-page letter denouncing the website. “The statement that Gov. Romney ‘left’ Bain in February 1999—a statement central to your fact-check—is not accurate,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter wrote. “Romney took an informal leave of absence but remained in full legal control of Bain and continued to be paid by Bain as such” (ABC News, July 2, 2012).
Both sides stuck to their guns in this case. Writing about the “10 Worst Fact Checks of the 2012 Election,” Forbes opinion editor Avik Roy only cited one from FactCheck.org. That check regarded former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s assertion that food stamp usage has gone up under Obama. Roy said a proper calculation shows Gingrich was correct, even though FactCheck.org claimed it was false.
Still, Roy gave the site the benefit of the doubt for a faulty calculation, a more generous analysis than he gave other fact checkers, and added, “FactCheck.org only makes one appearance on this list, and I generally consider them the best of the bunch in terms of the fewest obvious errors” (Forbes, Nov. 5, 2012).