‘Working with Facebook makes us look bad…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) After reports surfaced that Facebook hired a firm that discredited critics by linking them to extreme leftist billionaire George Soros, many of the so-called journalists hired to help it with fact-checking following the 2016 election are now thumbing their noses.
The irony? They, themselves, may have Soros financial ties, or at least strong sympathies in his favor.
When Facebook first unveiled its consortium of “fact-checkers,” an effort driven largely by the Poynter Institute’s International Fact Checking Network that currently includes around 50 partner outlets worldwide and five in the United States, conservatives scoffed.
In fact, the social-media giant’s sole conservative token for U.S. news, The Weekly Standard (which recently said it would be shutting down) was hardly a representative of contemporary conservative thought, having early on assumed a strong NeverTrump stance.
To make matters worse, it was revealed that the IFCN had accepted considerable amounts of funding from extreme leftist groups, some of which were tied to billionaire George Soros.
But despite one disclosure after another revealing the serious questions about bias and doubts about the efficacy of its fact-checking operation, it wasn’t until November 2018 that the story gained steam.
That was when The New York Times published a highly critical report that linked Facebook to a PR firm that used Soros ties to bludgeon criticism and that Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg had encouraged employees to research Soros’s finances.
Now, the embattled company has faced everything from charges of anti-Semitism (a familiar trope for those critical of the Soros family) to complaints from its fact-checkers that they don’t value facts enough.
“They’ve essentially used us for crisis PR,” whined Brooke Binkowski, a former managing editor at Snopes, to The Guardian. “They’re not taking anything seriously. They are more interested in making themselves look good and passing the buck … They clearly don’t care.”
Another journalist, whom The Guardian allowed to speak anonymously—although standard journalistic conventions on transparency would frown upon it—said the unfavorable position on Soros had created a mistrust of Facebook.
“Why should we trust Facebook when it’s pushing the same rumors that its own factcheckers are calling fake news? It’s worth asking how do they treat stories about George Soros on the platform knowing they specifically pay people to try to link political enemies to him?”
Conservative charges against Soros have long been dismissed as conspiratorial, despite a preponderance of evidence that links him to dark-money campaigns and shell organizations that are designed to sway American politics toward his globalist, open-borders agenda.
During the lead-up to the 2018 midterm, including the highly contentious Brett Kavanaugh confirmation, many protest groups—some advocating incivility and violence—were linked back to his Open Society Foundations.
However, a review of Snopes’s fact-checking claims against him show a consistently sympathetic approach, often using the debunking of outlandish claims to gloss over the realities of Soros’s efforts by painting him as a mythical boogeyman for the Right.
The fervor with which the journalists dismissed negative Soros stories suggests, however, that they themselves may have a conflict of interest, more concerned with their own prestige than with the journalist’s primary goal of pursuing truth.
Simply questioning the leftist dogma was, in their minds, an attack on journalism.
As the anonymous fact-checker complained to The Guardian, “Working with Facebook makes us look bad.”