Study Delivers Bad News To ‘Fact-Checkers’ … The Public Isn’t Buying What They’re Selling

Written by Wes Walker on May 11, 2022

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Various supposedly impartial 3rd-party fact-checkers have been doing the dirty work of Dem apologists by putting the squeeze on anyone who dares deviate from acceptable talking points.

A recent study looked into the impact of one such fact-checking organization, NewsGard, and found that they weren’t quite all that effective in changing public opinion on which news is or is not reliable. It’s almost as though the credibility of fact-checkers themselves is being taken with a grain of salt.

Despite previous research that reported generally positive assessments (28) of browser-based tools designed to reduce users’ reliance on misinformation, evidence from a preregistered randomized field experiment among a large representative sample of Americans reveals that the particular intervention studied here—providing dynamic, in-feed source reliability labels—does not measurably improve news diet quality or reduce misperceptions, on average, among the general population. Our estimates, based on both survey and behavioral data collected over an extended period, are precise and rule out even modest effect sizes by conventional standards. —Science(dot)org

Unsurprisingly, their idea of ‘reputable’ news sources tend to be the very same ones that suppressed the Hunter Biden laptop story, pushed the Steele Dossier as verified, retracted their reporting on Trump’s call with Raffensperger (but only after it was used as justification for impeachment 2.0), pushed the Russian bounty story, called Covington Kids white supremacists, and thought Jussie Smollett was a victim.

…Online domains with score of 60 or higher are considered reliable (green shield), while scores below 60 are considered unreliable. More than 41% of the more than 5000 news domains rated received a red suspect rating. Reassuringly, the NewsGuard list contains most of the fake news publishers identified by Allcott et al. (53); 88% of the online news domains in this list are rated as unreliable by NewsGuard. In addition, 99% of the mainstream online news domains identified by Microsoft Project Ratio are rated as reliable by NewsGuard. A histogram of NewsGuard scores for most online news domains can be found in section SB. Over the course of 2020, NewsGuard rated 2144 additional news domains and partnered with the World Health Organization to report misinformation as well as flagged 371 websites that spread misinformation about COVID-19 in the first months of the pandemic.

Newsguard, for it’s part, takes a particular interest in policing any speech that deviates from acceptable C-19 medical narratives. Calling Rogan’s medical treatment ‘horse-paste’, despite it being a Nobel Prize winning medication? That’s A-OK. Suggesting that data might support its use as a valid treatment? Straight to social media jail with you.

When you look under the hood at their conflicts of interests, such a lockstep defense of official narratives is exactly what you would expect. But NewsGuard’s ideological conflicts were not what the study was measuring.

The Federalist described the study’s findings this way:

A team of academics at New York University’s (NYU) Center for Social Media and Politics studied the news rating agency with a survey of more than 3,000 participants that downloaded the extension. The researchers found readers with “high-quality” news diets in line with NewsGuard’s ratings were no more likely to answer questions related to the Black Lives Matter movement or Covid-19 accurately than those who otherwise relied on “lower-quality” sources.

All respondents were asked to “judge the veracity of five widely circulated statements” across the two topics, where three were false and two were true. NewGuard’s intervention, however, “had no effect on belief in misinformation about the BLM movement and COVID-19, and it did not measurably affect belief in the true statements.”

…NewsGuard’s credibility scores remain subjective, reliant on “trained journalists” who’ve deemed dissident views unacceptable. Websites declared unreliable include organizations that correctly reported on the biggest scandal of the 2020 election, the Hunter Biden laptop, while groups that dismissed the story as Russian disinformation maintain perfect ratings. Politico, NPR, and The New York Times maintain a 100/100 favorability score on their “nutrition label” while CBS comes in 95/100, docked five points for merely concealing author names on select pieces. The New York Post, on the other hand, suffers a failing grade of 69.5/100, and The Federalist comes in even lower at 12.5/100.

NewsGuard is being promoted in schools as a means of media literacy despite the service downranking websites found more reliable than legacy institutions on major stories, from the Hunter Biden laptop to cooked-up stories of 2016 Russian collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, for which The New York Times and The Washington Post won Pulitzers.

What is NewsGuard’s real agenda? Here’s a clue:

“To the degree that we can empower people with more information about which sources are trustworthy and to the degree that we can help advertisers stop subsidizing misinformation on the internet, we think we can make a real contribution to the news environment and to increasing trust in sources that deserve trust,” Crovitz said. —CNN

Help advertisers stop subsidizing. This is just a formalized mechanism for pushing cancel culture to silence voices they don’t like. Is it any wonder so many Conservative websites have ‘gone dark’ since the internet started purging the right in 2018 or so?

‘Fact-checkers’ like NewsGuard have been putting a financial squeeze on people reporting stories that run contrary to the MSM-approved narratives — by going after advertising dollars.

The report comes after multiple recent revelations about the staggering scale at which advertisers inadvertently support misinformation through their advertising revenue. A NewsGuard report earlier this year found more than 4,000 top brands had advertised on websites publishing COVID-19 misinformation. Another NewsGuard report found that 1,668 top brands had placed ads on election misinformation in the period surrounding the 2020 U.S. presidential election leading up to the riot at the capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. — NewsGuardTech

That sure sounds an awful lot like the stated agenda of Media Matters when Democrats got their asses kicked in 2016, and they vowed never again to lose the internet information war.

Clinton Flunkies like David Brock are supposed to speak in partisan terms it’s what they do and who they are. But supposedly 3rd party ‘fact-checkers’ with an obvious preference for the same press sources that even a Harvard study once called more than 90% pro-Democrat/Anti-Trump? That’s another matter entirely.

Revolver did a little digging into who the players in NewsGuard are, where their funding has come from, and where their potential conflicts of interest might lie. The article is both long, and detailed, but here is a little teaser:

Newguard’s special concern for policing Covid information might have something to do with the fact that its third largest investor is a multi-billion dollar global communications company called Publicis Group. An excellent investigative report on Newsguard conducted by MintPress News revealed not only Publicis’ shadowy ties to the government of Saudi Arabia, but the fact that pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Bayer/Monsanto are some of Publicis’ top clients.

…That Newsguard chose this self-described “chief propagandist” of the Obama era to sit on its board is deeply troubling, and destroys any semblance of neutrality or credibility that would be needed in a company that insists on adding “nutrition labels” to determine which news site the cattle are allowed to consume. —Revolver

Covid Misinformation being policed by someone with indirect financial connections to Pfizer?

Obama loyalists on the NewsGuard board? Open disdain for the First Amendment?

Who’s fact-checking the fact-checkers?

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