Saturday, July 21, 2018

Facebook Fact Checkers -- Just More Fake News

Apparently, I am now part of the "alt-right"/"alt-media" cadre.  Facebook has decreed the page I have to help publicize this blog as contributing to the spread of "fake news.":

First, some background.  I maintain a Facebook page of the same title as this blog, "A Voice Of Liberty", and in addition to using it to promote my various postings and pages here, I also post links to news stories that I consider to be interesting and relevant to the political discourse at large. I also share a substantial number of these postings to various Facebook groups.

On July 17, 2018, I posted an article from TruePundit which highlighted an alleged assertion by Lisa Page that Chinese hackers penetrated Hillary Clinton's email server:

The embattled Page tossed James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok and Bill Priestap among others under the Congressional bus, alleging the upper echelon of the FBI concealed intelligence confirming Chinese state-backed ‘assets’ had illegally acquired former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 30,000+ “missing” emails, federal sources said.
As I have done countless times, I shared this article among several Facebook groups. Yesterday, on July 20, 2018, I received the notification in the graphic above, that Factcheck.org reviewed the TruePundit article and labeled it "false".

Unfortunately for Factcheck.org, what's "false" is its review and rating--that is provably false.

Factcheck's "rebuttal" is in reality a rather ham-handed red herring argument, centering on an assertion by Lisa Page's lawyer, Amy Jeffress:
“These stories are completely false,” Amy Jeffress said in a statement provided to FactCheck.org. “In nearly ten hours of testimony before the Committees, Lisa did not say a single word about China hacking the DNC server, and this conspiracy theory about the FBI instructing her to cover up such a story is nonsense. Her testimony was consistent with the intelligence community’s unanimous assessment: the evidence demonstrated Russian interference in the election.
Except the TruePundit article did not mention the DNC server, but Hillary Clinton's email server. Factcheck.org even quotes TruePundit and explicitly mentions that Lisa Page's assertion was in regard to Hillary Clinton's server, and not the DNC server, yet focuses on the alleged hack of the DNC server. The quoted statement from Lisa Page's attorney, Amy Jeffress, makes no mention of the Hillary Clinton server; it has no bearing on the TruePundit article.

Factcheck.org is disputing a claim TruePundit did not make. Factcheck.org is thus itself demonstrably guilty of producing "fake news". Facebook is guilty of disseminating "fake news" by attaching Factcheck.org's red-herring rebuttal to my sharing of the TruePundit article.

Additionally, the possibility--even probability--of China having hacked Hillary Clinton's email server has been reported upon by the legacy media, including the New York Times and Politico. The Washington Times reported in 2016 on indications that at least the US Secret Service was aware that Hillary Clinton's email server had been hacked.

The "revelation" in the TruePundit article is not Lisa Page's claim that China hacked Hillary Clinton's email server--which has been rather widely reported in the past--but that the FBI knew this and chose to cover it up. Even that assertion is not without some historical precedent thanks to the aforementioned Washington Times report.

Factcheck.org is demonstrably guilty of producing fake news. Facebook is guilty of disseminating fake news.

The facts prove it. The links prove it.

A few disclaimers and disclosures in the interests of transparency:
  • I have no affiliation with TruePundit. I read their content from time to time, and share links to their content when I find it interesting and relevant to the larger political discourse in this country. The only way I can vet their content is by comparing it to other content from other sources--which is what all well-informed citizens should strive to do.
  • I have no affiliation nor conflict with Factcheck.org. 
  • I have no affiliation with Facebook other than I maintain a Facebook page.
  • TruePundit's article may prove to be inaccurate or completely wrong. Until Lisa Page's congressional testimony is made public--or, preferably, that she give actual testimony in an open forum without redactions--we cannot know absolutely the accuracy of the article. However, this is the case with all news articles, and it is only when we have access to primary sources that we may plausibly hope to actually fact check any news article.  Skepticism and a focus on the facts are virtues to be cultivated, particularly in regards to political reporting.

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