Fake news

The epidemic of “fake news,” those reports that are unconnected to the facts and often appear disguised as real news – such as all those claims that President Trump’s travel ban is a ban on “Muslims” even though it actually targets terror-producing countries – has reach an all new level.

Now there’s a self-appointed “fact checker” that is publishing “fake news,” specifically “fake news” about WND.

The site is called FakeNewsChecker.com, and it claims that WND’s founder and CEO, Joseph Farah, “received donations from the Donald Trump superPAC “Great America “PAC” (sic) calling into further question the motives behind the ‘fake’ and conspiratorial nature of the content.”

Fake-News-Checker-screenshot

But there’s one major problem with that site’s purported “fact.”

WND didn’t get any donations from any superPACs, “not this one or any other,” company officials confirmed.

FakeNewsChecker.com effectively categorizes as “fake” virtually all news resources except those in the “mainstream media,” which surveys reveal are enjoying less and less consumer trust these days.

The website states:

Fake news has become a catchall term for news sources that lack journalistic integrity. These sites use sensational headlines, make false claims, exaggerate the editorial spin to reflect a bias, are misleading, are conspiratorial, are anti-science, promote propaganda, are written in satire or just plain hoaxes. Many of the sites are untrustworthy because they begin with a premise that is close to a truth and build a false story around it. Please check your sources and your emotions as you read the articles on these sites.

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The Hill reported only days ago that an Emerson College poll revealed the Trump administration is more trusted than news media among voters.

The report said, “The administration is considered truthful by 49 percent of registered voters and untruthful by 48 percent. But the news media is less trusted than the administration, with 53 percent calling it untruthful and just 39 percent finding it honest.”

And the “checker” site lacks contact options, as most websites and certainly all legitimate news outlets have. That move leaves the “fact checker” completely unaccountable.

WND had reported about the time of the 2016 presidential election that a list of so-called “fake news” websites, including WND, Breitbart, Red State, the Daily Wire, Project Veritas and other well-known and accountable organizations, was being circulated in mainstream media reports.

It was produced at that time by Merrimack College assistant professor Melissa Zimdars, a 30-something self-identified feminist and activist who has expressed great dislike for President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Melissa "Mish" Zimdars is an assistant professor of communication at Merrimack College in Massachusetts

Melissa “Mish” Zimdars is an assistant professor of communication at Merrimack College in Massachusetts

She explained then that her list was compiled because she didn’t approve of the sources students were citing.

The problem?

In addition to some satirical and bogus sites, her list attacked the credibility of well-established news organizations such as Breitbart, BizPac Review, Red State, the Blaze, the Independent Journal Review, Twitchy, the Daily Wire, WND and James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas. In many cases (such as with her WND listing), she offered no explanation for why the news organizations were included on the list.

Mainstream media outlets such as the Los Angeles Times circulated Zimdars’ growing list. The Times headlined its story, “Want to keep fake news out of your newsfeed? College professor creates list of sites to avoid.” The Times offered no details concerning Zimdars’ qualifications or background. News organizations such as CNN, the Washington Post, Boston Globe, New York Magazine, USA Today, Business Insider, the Austin American-Statesman, the Dallas Morning News and others spread the list like gospel and cited it in their reports.

But nearly none of them considered Zimdars’ political leanings or questioned her criteria or qualifications for determining which news sources should be included on her list.

She almost immediately removed her list in November, and while the FakeNewsChecker appeared at almost exactly that time, she told WND on Friday she didn’t know anything about the new list at FakeNewsChecker.com or who runs the website.

In response to that first list, PJ Media’s Stephen Kruiser wrote, “It’s no surprise that a college professor compiled this list; what’s galling is that the Los Angeles Times ‘reported’ on it without mentioning that it’s complete garbage.”

Zimdars’ social-media accounts were protected from public view, leading tweeter Vanessa Beeley to note that Zimdars “can’t take the heat. Named ‘fake media’ & then protected all her own media sites.”

But Newsbusters found tweets from Zimdars harshly criticizing then-President-elect Trump and Vice-President elect Mike Pence during the vice-presidential debate in October.

The new “checker” site also explains it relies on among other sites, Wikipedia and Snopes for “verification,” not explaining the left-leaning positions those groups routinely adopt.

The new FakeNewsChecker’s list of fake sites is similar to the original list published by Zimdars, although many leftist publications have been added.

The overall claim of “fake news” has left left-leaning interests literally shouting about it.

When Trump slammed CNN as “fake news,” again, Chris Cuomo lashed out.

WND’s CEO, Joseph Farah, warned, “The ‘fake news’ wars are getting more intense every day – and more confusing for people who don’t have the time, energy and discernment to determine who’s really telling the truth and who isn’t.”

He said the new “unknown, mysterious, shadowy” organization “makes stuff up. In other words, it’s a ‘fake fake news checker.'”

He notes the claim, made without substantiation, that WND publishes information that cannot be validated and that is “anti scientific (sic).”

He pointed out his own 40 years of experience in journalism and said the editors and reporters at the site have “have collectively hundreds of years of experience doing similar things in the news media.”

 

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