While doing research for a Newsbud video, I came across the Media Bias/Fact Check (MBFC) website. This is one of a growing number of “fact checking” websites designed to discredit news websites not following official narratives closely enough.
Here’s what the site has to say about Newsbud and my participation:
Newsbud (NB) is a right wing, conspiracy and anti-government site founded by, among others, Kurt Nimmo, the former lead editor and writer for Infowars. What sets NB apart from other sites of this type is that the stories are, for the most part, well written and contain numerous sources. The bias of the writing is also more subtle than sites such as Infowars, but just as prevalent. Both as an overtone to all the stories as well as the sometimes questionable sources and / or the conclusions drawn from the source material. Additionally, many of their sources are other NB stories, or work the author and editors have done elsewhere.
MBFC imparts misinformation in the first sentence. If it had done appropriate research, its ideologically driven checkers would have discovered Newsbud was established by Sibel Edmonds. I was invited to participate after the website was established and I am not a founder, as MBFC claims.
This error—more accurately described as shoddy and careless research—reveals the liberal bias of the site and its proprietor, Dave Van Zandt.
MBFC’s methodology is admittedly “subjective,” but this is not an issue for those working to destroy alternative media. In fact, it appears such subjectivity and bias are considered a plus in the effort the block sites deemed “dangerous,” as the performance artist Alex Jones and his website Infowars (which I indeed edited for eight years, almost exclusively focusing on geopolitics, neocon wars, and the surveillance-police state).
From Wikipedia, which MBFC has elevated as a fount of truth and unbiased information (see Wikipedia Is More Biased Than Britannica, but Don’t Blame the Crowd), we discover Dave Van Zandt’s project serves as a touchstone for AI “solutions” to “disinformation,” that is information that does not conform to the various mythologies and half-truths put out by the propaganda media at the behest of a corporate state.
From that liberal paragon of truth and objectivity, Wikipedia:
[MBFC] has been used by researchers at the University of Michigan to create a tool called the “Iffy Quotient”, which draws data from Media Bias/Fact Check and NewsWhip to track the prevalence of ‘fake news’ and questionable sources on social media. The site was also used by a research group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in initial training of an AI to fact check and detect the bias on a website.
You’d think MIT and those who run its computer and applied science departments would be a little more circumspect in choosing a source for censorship projects.
MBFC, despite its biased and wholly subjective list of no-go alternative media websites, is a bit actor in a larger scheme to eradicate dangerous media at odds with the state.
Front-running “fact checkers” include Snopes (mired in liberal bias like MBFC), PolitiFact (Poynter Institute and the Tampa Bay Times), Fact Checker (The Washington Post), FactCheck (the Annenberg Public Policy Center), and the Atlantic Council (flush with funding from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates to the United States, Facebook, Google, the US Department of State, Chevron, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Carnegie, CNN, the Pentagon, and dozens of other corporations and “philanthropic” foundations).
MBFC is an amateur operation. It is overshadowed by the likes of the Atlantic Council and the Washington Post (the latter a notorious disseminator of fake news and disinformation; case in point: publishing scary propaganda on WMDs in Iraq—Bush looked under his desk to find them—resulting in a neocon invasion and the death of more than a million Iraqis).
I can’t help but think Mr. Van Zandt’s little bias and defamation project will eventually be subsumed by larger players as the move to remove “dangerous” content from the internet intensifies.
MIT found MBFC “data” relevant, never mind the bias and subjectivity. This should say something about the larger effort and its reliability.
But then, of course, liberal bias (reflecting the bias of the state) is rampant across “fact checker” operations, big and small, so Van Zandt’s effort will be of use as the state works in “public-private” fascistic fashion with its corporate and institutional partners.