Facebook Partner POLITIFACT Appears To Pass Propaganda Off As A "Fact Check"

February 10, 2020





So let's get right to it. In this part of my blog series "Fact Checkers" we look at a "fact check" written by POLITIFACT "fact checker" Jon Greenberg.


What is he "fact checking" or not "fact checking" in this case? It is a video from an MSNBC segment of Hardball with Chris Matthews from March 5, 2019. The "fact check" is from June 6, 2019. 


Now, you may be thinking the same thing I was when I saw this "fact check" show up on someone else's Facebook posts and then immediately pop up on my Facebook page when I posted it as well. Which is the reason I posted it to begin with, I wanted it on my page. 


"Why in the hell is POLITIFACT "fact checking" MSNBC  to begin with? They both appear to be leftist puppets pushing the same narrative so why would they be at odds with each other on this? The short answer, it is not "fact checking" ANYTHING within this MSNBC segment or post. Nothing!


I know it can be very hard for many people to sit through these anti-Trump MSNBC segments but in order to see what I see, you must watch it. I also do not want anyone taking my word for anything. I want people to see both sides and make their own decisions. 


You can watch the full video of the 9:27 MSNBC segment HERE:


You Can read the full POLITIFACT "fact check" by Jon Greenberg HERE:


Now right off the bat, and the reason that I see this "fact check" as propaganda is that I can see nothing within this MSNBC segment that Jon Greenberg is actually "fact checking". He does not dispute any of the information within the MSNBC video itself. Which of course he would need to do if he was doing a true "fact check". The fact that he does not makes one wonder why this "fact check" was attached to this MSNBC video in the first place.


Lets look at that "fact check".


Starting with my Facebook post that triggered this "fact check" being attached.



So ok. I love the way they label these as "related articles" and then in a big blue box they call it a "fact check". So what is it, a "fact check" meaning it disputes information within the post? Or is it just a related article that has other information? If it is just a related article then why does Facebook put it here to begin with as a "fact check" stating something is "Half True"? The only reason that I can see would be to use it as means to influence peoples opinion of what this video or graphic states.


If it does not dispute any claims within the MSNBC video (which it does not) then its sole purpose is to influence people into believing a specific political narrative.


That is called Propaganda. 


We also can see that the POLITIFACT "fact check" claims that something is "half true" and then proclaims in bolded letters that "Trump inflates his support among GOP voters"


Now just looking at this graphic alone, what exactly is Jon Greenberg claiming? Is he disputing the posts graphic that shows Trump with an 88% approval rating among Republicans (at the time)? If so then he is disputing information from an NBC News Wall Street Journal poll. He is NOT disputing anything that Donald Trump says in this Facebook post or the MSNBC video because Donald Trump makes no claims at all in this video. He never even appears in the video.


So lets look at the title.


"Republicans support Donald Trump, but not as much as he said."


Now we have already established that this claim is never stated in the MSNBC video that this "fact check" is attached to. That means that as far as the MSNBC video is concerned, this "fact check" is irrelevant.


It becomes even more irrelevant by the fact that the "fact check" itself makes no mention of the MSNBC video segment or graphic at any time. That means that this MSNBC video and this "fact check" are 100% unrelated to each other.


Thats essentially it. We do not even need to go any farther into this "fact check" by Jon Greenberg because we have already established that it is completely unrelated to what this MSNBC video segment or graphic states. 


This "fact check" by Jon Greenberg is therefore attached to this MSNBC graphic that shows Trump with a high approval rating among Republicans for one reason and one reason only in my mind.



It is biased because it is to me obviously anti Trump in nature. Why else would it be here except to make Trump look bad? It is misleading because it has absolutely nothing to do with the post it is attached to. That being the case I can see no other purpose for it being there except to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.


Lets take a quick look at a 2017 article by Selena Larson from CNN Business titled  "How Facebook is fighting back against propaganda"


In the article Facebook refers to the practice as "Information Operations."


The RAND corporation and others that I looked at discribe "Information Operations" in the following way; (wording may not be exact from other sources)


Information operations and warfare, also known as influence operations, includes the collection of tactical information about an adversary as well as the dissemination of propaganda in pursuit of a competitive advantage over an opponent. RAND research has enabled military leaders and policymakers to develop strategies and policy frameworks to address the challenges of these military operations.


"Dissemination of propaganda in pursuit of a competitive advantage over an opponent."


Sounds exactly like what this "fact check" by Jon Greenberg is trying to accomplish does it not? His opponent being the opposing political viewpoint that would be pro Trump. He is not allowing the reader to make up their own mind without influencing what they read. 


The CNN article makes the following statement about what Facebook is claiming to fight.


Information operations include strategies like using fake accounts to spread false information, hijacking popular topics or manipulating likes on Facebook posts. Bad actors can turn the platform we use to connect with friends and read news into a tool to manipulate our opinions.


Now it seems to me that this is exactly what this "fact check" by POLITIFACT's Jon Greenberg has done with this post.


He apears to have hijacked the MSNBC post by attaching a "fact check" to it that has nothing to do with the post itself. He then used his "fact check" as a tool to manipulate peoples opinion about Donald Trump and his approval rating.


So he appears to essentially be doing exactly what Facebook claims to fighting against does he not?


Facebook may want to take a hard look at it's own "fact checkers" if they are truly committed to fighting propaganda as they claim that they are.


Well, thats my case against this "fact check" by POLITIFACT's Jon Greenberg. The way I see it he is not only using propaganda to promote a biased political cause or point of view, he is doing so using the exact same tactics that Facebook claims to be fighting against.


You can see everything for yourself and I have given my opinion of what I see going on here. Unlike Facebooks "fact checkers" I have no intention of telling anyone what they must think or believe. I offer my perspective and you can take it or leave it, it is your decision what you choose to believe based on all of the information.


This blog series titled "Fact Checkers" Truth, Lies, or Propaganda is my opinion of what I see and nothing more. It is only intended to give people a different perspective that they can use to make a well informed and independent decision of how they themselves see Facebooks "fact checks". 













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