Google and its subsidiary YouTube just gave a $13.2 million grant to the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network to combat “misinformation,” in the Big Tech sites’ “single largest grant in fact-checking” yet and the latest instance of the medical, political, and media establishments tightening their grip on the free-flowing digital public square.
For years, the world’s elites have been trying to recapture the control they lost to the free flow of information on the internet. They’ve shelled out millions for celebrities like Prince Harry to slander the First Amendment and hand-wring about an alleged “disinformation” crisis. They’ve pressured individual tech companies to ban content, people, and entire platforms. The Biden administration even tried implementing its own, now-defunct “Ministry of Truth,” all to convince us that freedom of speech and inquiry is somehow dangerous and that the threat can only be neutralized by “trusted” experts seizing dominance of the information exchange.
In a Tuesday press release, Google stated the fund, which is expected to open early next year, seeks to “help fact-checkers to scale existing operations or launch new ones that elevate information, uplift credible sources and reduce the harm of mis- and disinformation around the globe.”
Essentially, the fund streamlines and centralizes the fact-checking industry on Google and YouTube. This is excellent news for the Poynter Institute, which for years has been attempting to cement the position of the world’s official arbiter of truth. Indeed, if you want to be a valid fact-checking organization, the institute insists you must get Poynter-certified.
Getting verified by Poynter doesn’t mean you abide by facts, though. The greatest silencers of opinions inconvenient for the elites in politics, health, and business are “verified” by Poynter. The website Lead Stories partnered with Facebook in 2021 to “fact check” and censor a peer-reviewed medical journal that published information about Covid-19 vaccine trials. The fact-checking organization even falsely labeled the respected medical journal as a “news blog” to discredit its Covid vaccine findings. This is one of many fake fact checks from Lead Stories, which is verified by Poynter and funded in part by Beijing-based ByteDance, the Democratic National Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
When nearly 60 Democrat representatives left Texas to block a GOP bill in July 2021, Sen. Ted Cruz said there was “clear legal authority” to arrest, “handcuff and put in leg irons” the legislators upon their return for obstructing the Texas legislature from doing its duties. Politifact falsely fact-checked the sitting senator, claiming it is “unclear how the use of the word ‘arrest’ should be interpreted in this context.” A month later, the Texas Supreme Court overturned an order protecting the lawbreaking legislators from arrest. In doing so, the Texas Supreme Court debunked the Politifact “fact check” in the most officious way possible. Yet Poynter-owned Politifact has refused — even to this day — to correct its “fact check.”
Predictably, Politifact’s fake fact-checking list doesn’t end there. In fact, nearly every one of the Poynter-verified fact-checking organizations has proven themselves to be pathological propagandists, including Reuters, Snopes, The Dispatch, The Washington Post Fact Checker, and AP Fact Check.
Poynter was outraged by Facebook and Twitter’s censorship rampage of the Hunter Biden laptop ahead of the 2020 election, but not because they care about left-wing election interference or the unprecedented silencing of anyone from the New York Post to the White House press secretary and the House Judiciary Committee. They were angry because they were blocked out of the censorship process when tech companies squashed the Hunter Biden laptop story of their own accord. As Federalist Senior Contributor Christopher Bedford has explained, fact-checking by both Big Tech and Poynter has the same end result: “partisan censorship.”
What makes Poynter significant is that it now offers elites a chance to pool their control into one organization. Consider who funds the Poynter Institute: Democrat mega-donor Craig Newmark; the Gannett Foundation (parent company of hundreds of newspapers across the country, including corrupt USA Today); tech millionaire Tim Gill who wants to “punish” Christians; Zuckerberg election interference donor, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and many more. The fact-checking giant’s newfound power sends a message to more multimillionaires and billionaires: if you want to control the digital sphere, write a check to Poynter.
Perhaps what’s most disturbing about Poynter’s new censorship powers is not simply the fact-checking but its plan to “uplift credible sources.” As the Google statement suggests, Poynter has the power to promote sources they like and presumably shadow-ban and algorithmically suppress users and sources they dislike. The goal is for censorship to be so effective and covert, you won’t even be aware it’s happening.
We know the Poynter-verified “fact checks” are subjective and targeted, and they cannot purport to combat “mis- and disinformation” when they themselves purvey it. The whole “disinformation” emergency is simply a coordinated effort to reclaim the gatekeeping powers the establishment lost to the free flow of information in the digital world. Once social media and the internet democratized information, societal elites were neutered by citizen journalists with iPhone cameras, whistleblowers, bloggers, and publications like this one. This resulted in regular citizens’ growing distrust of the American gentry class and its established narratives.
The rich and powerful want their control back, and the Poynter Institute offers them an opportunity to do just that. It effectively centralizes their control over information on two of the world’s biggest public squares: Google and YouTube. It signals to the world’s powerbrokers that if you want a say over the eyes, ears, and ultimately the minds of the global population, donate to Poynter; they are recapturing control of the masses.
Evita Duffy is a staff writer to The Federalist and the co-founder of the Chicago Thinker. She loves the Midwest, lumberjack sports, writing, and her family. Follow her on Twitter at @evitaduffy_1 or contact her at email@example.com.
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