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Tuesday, March 09, 2021

A Fact Checker with Propaganda Bias

by Dwain Deets

Our adult daughter was Skyping with my wife and me when she asked where we stood with getting our COVID vaccinations.  My wife responded with her frustrations at not being successful at finding an opening in any vaccination-center schedule to get hers. I responded with my intention of avoiding it for as long as I was able.

I saw the look of alarm on my daughter's face as I broke the unwelcome news. She asked why I was against getting the vaccination, and my wife spoke up, saying, "He's anti-vac." I jumped in, saying, "it's not that I'm anti-all vacs--It's how the whole government-industry went about bringing this about.”

The next morning, a text awaited me from my daughter, asking me to tell her more on why I was against getting vaccinated. My return text linked an article I thought described the reasons to question the  COVID vaccine quite well. Titled "Bio-Warfare Weaponization of Medicine Amid COVID" interviewing the former president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), Dr. Lee Merritt (thenewamerican.com/bio-warfare-weaponization-of-medicine-amid-covid/.)

She responded, "I haven't heard of The New American magazine. I will look into it.”

A few days later came another text. "Did you realize that magazine is right-wing, owned by The John Birch Society?" I responded to her that I have become less sensitive to whether a source is politically right or left. I pay more attention to if an article makes sense to me.

She continued, "May I suggest this non-partisan fact check service MediaBiasFactCheck.com which raised concern with this publication." (For convenience, they use when referring to themselves the acronym MBFC.) She added, it is non-biased left or right and receives its funding from third-party sources through on-line advertising.

Not having heard of this service, I checked out its website. It was immediately apparent the service evaluates publications and assigns each to a category or two. Political bias in a left-right direction from far left to far right. Another type of evaluation is on a reliability axis. Less reliability delegated to categories called "Conspiracy-Pseudoscience" and "Questionable Sources.”

A quick browse through "Conspiracy-Pseudoscience" brought such favorites of the 9/11 Truth community as Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. MBFC reasons, "their claims are not supported by the official 9/11 Commission Report that outlined how the buildings fell. While the arguments made are compelling, they simply are not the consensus among researchers. Therefore, their position is categorized a conspiracy theory until proven otherwise.”

I grasped immediately, this difference of opinion regarding what MBFC considers factual has to do with the difference between the real world and propaganda.

Returning to communicating my reasons for caution toward the COVID vaccines, I remembered a recent interview by the 21st Century Wire TV hosted by Patrick Henningsen, with guest Piers Robinson on the subject, "War & Pandemic Propaganda." Again, I found 21st Century Wire TV listed as "conspiracy-pseudoscience." This video defines the propaganda narrative as the one promoted by the transnational corporations and big finance to provide market stability for their investments. Their primary reference is, “Manufacturing Consent (2002),” by Edward S. Herman & Noam Chomsky.

Despite these cautions raised by MBFC concerning 21st Century Wire TV and anti-vaccinations, I sent a link to this interview, hoping my daughter would give it a look anyway.

MBFC explains its methodology for categorizing publications. In the case of positions on vaccinations, it states, "sources that take anti-vaccination positions we classify as pseudoscience." I find that shallow thinking. For example, this way of thinking overlooks that the FDA has not yet approved or licensed any COVID vaccination products across the various brands. If the vaccine is not licensed, federal law prohibits businesses from requiring their employees to take the vaccine.

In my judgment, the editor of MBFC thinks they are being conservative in judging publications, whereas they are really favoring those that carefully adhere to the Propaganda narrative.

Returning to my daughter's reaction to the two interviews, I have not heard further from her. For now, I will drop the subject. I do not know if she quietly watched the interviews or if she stood by her standards to keep her mind free of questionable sources.

One day in the future, she may surprise me by giving me feedback on what she decided to do with these interviews.

 

Dwain Deets is Vice President of the Truth Action Project.  He is also a member of the 9/11 Consensus Panel convened by David Ray Griffin and Elizabeth Woodworth.  The purpose of the 9/11 Consensus Panel is “to provide the world with a clear statement, based on expert independent opinion, of some of the best evidence opposing the official narrative about 9/11.”  More information about the Consensus Panel is available at:  http://www.consensus911.org

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