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"Fact-Checkers"

August 7, 2020

If you’ve read my newsletter for a while, you won’t be surprised that I put the term “fact-checkers” in quotes. That’s because many “fact-checkers” these days don’t check facts so much as reinforce leftist opinions by citing biased sources to brand anyone who disagrees with them as being misinformed or a liar. We know this because what we do is check actual facts. For instance, if a story claims that a prominent person said something outrageous, we track down the original quote in context, in its entirety. Sometimes, that means we correct or don’t use a story from a conservative news source. But most often, it means we correct a liberal news source. Or sometimes, a so-called “fact-checker.”

The bias of “fact-checkers” is something that many conservatives have come to hold as conventional wisdom, but now, Sharyl Attkisson of Real Clear Investigations has taken a deep dive into their backgrounds and dug up solid evidence that all those assurances of non-partisan objectivity are anything but factual.

The study confirmed that media “fact-checkers” (surprise!) lean left. The claim of objective fact-checking is largely “illusory” and amounts to a “circular feedback loop of verification” in which “like-minded journalists or often Silicon Valley gatekeepers” rely on a small group of partisan news sources and political activists to control narratives and shape and censor information. One obvious example: for monitoring media bias, the far-left activist group Media Matters is treated as a trustworthy, reliable source for “fact-checkers” such as NewsGuard, while the conservative Media Research Center is ignored.

Facebook uses the World Health Organization as a source to fight “disinformation” about the coronavirus, even though we know the WHO has engaged in multiple incidents of spreading misinformation itself. Facebook also claims that members of its new oversight board “were chosen for their expertise and diversity” and “must not have actual or perceived conflicts of interest that could compromise their independent judgment and decision-making.” Yet 18 of the 20 have ties to George Soros’ far-left Open Society Foundations, while none have taken conservative stances on any controversial issue.

Google’s “fact-checking” group First Draft was not only started by the extremely liberal parent company, but it’s also supported by liberal nonprofits, including the Soros groups, and it routinely cites biased news sources to discredit non-leftist views. Its digital director frequently tweets and retweets “anti-American rhetoric and progressive positions.” First Draft even referred readers to an article that pushed the false claim that President Trump encouraged people literally to drink bleach.

This study simply confirms what anyone who’s been paying attention already knows: a great deal of today’s so-called “fact-checking” is just leftist advocacy in camouflage. This is why we have to spend so much time here fact-checking the “fact-checkers.”

Important Education Story

August 7, 2020

Here’s an important education story that I can’t find anywhere in the mainstream media:

Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul introduced the SCHOOL (Support Children Having Open Opportunities for Learning) Act. Since teachers’ unions are refusing to let schools reopen but expect taxpayers to keep funding them anyway, Paul’s bill would reallocate federal education funds directly to parents. Parents would get their own tax money back to use to educate their children however they see fit, whether in public schools, private schools or for supplies, tutoring and other expenses of home-schooling.

This is such a great idea that the media will surely try to bury it, as will Democrats, who depend heavily on teachers’ unions to get them reelected. I’m sure it will be assailed, just as school choice and vouchers are, as an assault on our sacred public school system.

Sorry, but I’ve studied theology, and I see nothing sacred about any governmental “system.” I think the public school system is a great and noble idea, and I have nothing but respect for the many dedicated teachers who are a part of it and who give their all (and sometimes spend their own paychecks on supplies the schools won’t provide.)

But the devil’s bargain between the union leaders and the Democratic Party has perverted that system. Our sole focus should be on how to provide the most effective learning experience for every student. Instead, we see failing schools kept open, students forced into them at detriment to their futures, political indoctrination substituted for real history and civics, and incompetent teachers protected, as if their job security were more important than our children’s futures. Just as with any other government system, I support the public school system as long as it works. When it starts doing more harm than good, then like a broken-down car, you either need to fix the problems or trade it in on something new that will get you where you need to go.

Deadly inaction

August 7, 2020

There was a massive explosion in Beirut this week that killed at least 135 people, injured 5,000 more and caused devastating damage that’s left up to 300,000 people homeless. Investigators have been trying to ascertain if it was an attack, a hidden weapons cache or what? Now, it appears that it might have been due to Russian fertilizer.

A Russian ship called the MV Rhosus that was carrying agricultural fertilizer with 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate came into port in Beirut in 2013. It had technical and financial problems, was abandoned by its owners, and the crew sent back to Russia. It’s been there for years, despite multiple warnings from the customs director to the judiciary that it was a “floating bomb,” warnings that were apparently ignored. So the explosion wasn’t due to a deadly action by a foreign government, but deadly inaction by Lebanon’s own government. And yet some people still insist that we need to entrust every important aspect of our lives to the care and efficiency of government bureaucrats.

Gallup and the Knight Foundation just released a massive poll on Americans’ views of the media. No wonder people weren’t as outraged as the media thought they should be when President Trump called them “the enemy of the people!”

The survey of more than 20,000 adults found pessimism about the news media delivering factual, nonpartisan information deepening. A staggering 86% of Americans see at least a “significant” amount of bias in the media (49% see “a great deal” of it), and 73% say there’s “too much bias in the reporting of news stories that are supposed to be objective.” They don’t buy that it’s unintentional or just their subjective perceptions: 54% believe the media knowingly misrepresent facts, and 28% think they make up facts entirely (believe me, I could do a “Fake News” feature every day.)

As for all the divisiveness that the media blame on Donald Trump: 48% of Americans say the reporters deserve “a great deal” of blame for our deep political divisions, while another 36% let them off easy with only “a moderate amount” of the blame.

Of course, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that Republicans express more negative sentiments about every aspect of the media’s performance than Democrats. Maybe that’s because you’re less likely to be negative about people who are biased toward your side. But then, to approve of their bias is to admit they’re biased. And since 86% of Americans agree they are (and 86% aren’t Republicans), that means a lot of Democrats must know the news they’re watching isn’t objective or trustworthy, but they approve of it anyway. These Americans are known as “MSNBC viewers.”

Here’s Stephen Kruiser of PJ Media, with some bluntly-expressed examples of the most egregious recent media bias and why it’s so dangerous to America.

From Carol:

If you won the lottery, would you mail in your ticket or take it in person? Some things are important enough to do in person. For me voting is one of them.

From the Gov:

I couldn't have made the case for in-person voting better than you just have. Everyone pushing for mail-in ballots should have to answer your question.

Then, there was this, from Kathi:

Governor, I agree with your entire column up to the point that you started mask pandering by telling people to mask up and go vote. A virus with a 99+% recovery rate no longer requires and actually never did require a mask. Free Americans need to be free to vote as free Americans, and that includes having the CHOICE to mask up or not. I ask you to please #StopMaskPandering! #StayFree

From the Gov:

Kathi, if (when!) you go to the polls, and they insist that you put on a mask before you can come inside --- and they will --- what are you going to do? Elbow your way inside and demand a ballot? I guarantee, that will not get you anywhere. You will be made to leave, by force if necessary, and your voice in the 2020 election will not be heard.

No, if the mask issue is all-important, you will just have to vote absentee or, in the states that institute it, with a mail-in ballot. I suggest you think about Carol's letter, above, before deciding.

Is winning that one "mask" argument on that all-important day so vital to you that you will risk your vote not counting, or walk away rather than vote at all?

If you don't like the intrusion of "mask" rules, remember that if the Democrats take the White House, we will face intrusion into our lives such as we have never seen. If you don't want to put on the mask for any other occasion, we can have that discussion, but in this one case, I will say again, put on the doggone mask and vote.

An unintended positive consequence of the pandemic is that college students who have to attend online will not be getting their standard fall dose of leftist, anti-American brainwashing.

And here’s a piece by a New York City nurse who points out that she has spent months working directly with COVID-19 patients, and grocery store employees kept working, so why should teachers be considered any less “essential?” Her husband, who is a public school teacher, opposes a strike and feels it’s his duty to serve in the classroom. My observation: some of those grocery workers are no doubt high school students themselves, so even the kids continued working while their teachers’ unions are fighting going back to work.

(FYI, that’s in the Atlantic, so of course the writer blames New York’s problems on the federal government and President Trump, who made sure New York had no shortage of ventilators or hospital rooms, and not on her own local and state Democratic leaders, who made every possible wrong decision and turned nursing homes into killing fields.)

From James (with slight editing):

The only bad thing about President Trump's [agenda] is that the Democrats keep finding ways to...lie about it to the nation...They don't ‘mislead’ the people of this country –- they create intentional falsehoods and present them as fact. Then, if someone is foolish enough to repudiate their lies, that individual is destroyed in public, shamed, and labeled as a vile character.

Sir, I understand that you and some on FOX News present the truth in his defense, but how are we to combat this constant barrage of lies? Sometimes I lose hope. And people I have known for years have begun to spew this unsubstantiated drivel as gospel. When I ask them for corroboration, they look at me like I'm a fool and shake their heads and refer me to the nightly news. I might quote you or Fox News in response, and they laugh, because "everybody" knows those are not reliable sources.

...How can an individual battle a horde of sanctimonious [media] mouthpieces for a radical, insidious faction bent on usurping our rights?

Maybe I am asking too much of you, but I know you have many contacts who could help us in this quest. Will you reach out to them, bring their voices to the rescue, and lift our spirits before this most integral election of the age?

We hear too many voices from the Left. It is time for us to start hearing a barrage of voices from the Right, to reinforce our belief in a just cause. Without a chorus, the voice of "Truth" will be lost under the clatter and mumbling from the balcony.

From the Gov:

You voice the frustration and worry of millions of Americans. It often feels as though WE’RE the ones stuck in the balcony, high up in the nosebleed seats, while the leftist narrative takes center stage and the prime orchestra seating as well. Our message gets crushed. What to do?

First, some historical perspective. The left has always done this. I’m old enough to barely remember the infamous LBJ anti-Goldwater campaign ad with the little girl playing with a daisy as the atomic bomb goes off, painting Goldwater as a warmonger. That ad was largely credited for Goldwater’s spectacular loss, and Lyndon Johnson, ironically, went on to dramatically escalate the Vietnam War.

The lies intensified when Reagan got into office. And the left has never stopped with the outrageous whoppers, whether it’s a paid ad showing “Paul Ryan” literally throwing a wheelchair-bound granny over a cliff --- in case you didn’t see this, I am not exaggerating --- or the media right now trying to make us fear Trump will refuse to leave office if he loses. They never, never stop lying. And now they use so-called “fact-checkers,” who are themselves typically anti-Trump, to try to make it look as if WE are lying.

I’m sure the worst part of this is seeing people you know buying into the lies and becoming “pod people." They mindlessly tar FOX News as “faux news” when FNC, aside from clearly-designated opinion shows, has been shown statistically to be far more balanced than the major left-leaning outlets. If you’ve suffered through segments with certain DNC-connected FOX News contributors, you know FOX isn't all that conservative. But people have been trained --- yes, trained --- to automatically discount anything from FOX News.

It’s gotten so bad, we can’t let the left get away with it any longer. This is no time to be “shamed” or intimidated into silence. Some tips: Be sure you have the facts on your side when you make a point, and then if someone says you’re wrong, calmly tell them why you’re not.

Be polite, but don’t back down even if someone calls you names, even “racist.” Just tell them: they have no more right to their judgment calls than you do to yours. Name-calling is a pathetic way of saying they have nothing else. Also, you don’t have to stay on the defensive; put it on them to back up what they say.

As for me, believe me, I do what I can. And tell your “pod” friends that they may disagree with the opinions expressed on MikeHuckabee.com, but I doubt anyone has a better record than we do on getting facts right. They should try reading it. They might not like our conclusions, but they can’t say our information is incorrect. Come to think of it, this recent piece in which we answered the accusations of a leftist reader might help you talk to the “pods.”

Finally, you say you want your spirit lifted? Well, let me tell you that I believe conservatism is quietly making headway right now, largely because the far-left, after gaining control of the Democrat Party, has finally shown itself to be what it is, which is to say full-out, batwing crazy communist. Also, millions won’t talk about this, but they are dismayed by the new fanatical religion of anti-“racism” and will not stand for being labeled as racist by people who are themselves obsessed with race. If that weren’t enough, they’ve seen how leftists run cities --- into the ground. They SEE the shocking destruction and anarchy and want it stopped.

They will turn out in force on Election Day. Of course, we can take nothing for granted and must make it an INCONTESTABLE LANDSLIDE to make up for whatever voter fraud there is, and there may be a lot this time. So tell everyone you know who’s not a leftist “pod” person how important it is to vote to keep the crazies from running (ruining) America. And vote in person!

A new Gallup poll found that 61% of black Americans want the police to maintain the same amount of time they currently spend in their communities. Another 20% of blacks want the police to spend MORE time in their communities. Only 19% want the police to spend less time in their communities.

A large majority of blacks think that we need police reform, and 37% aren’t confident that they’d be treated with courtesy and respect if they interacted with the police. But that doesn’t mean they want the police to go away. In short, they think there are problems, but you don’t solve them by doing away with the police and leaving citizens to the mercy of gangs and criminals and the protective abilities of unarmed social workers.

To put it in even fewer words: unlike a leftist city council, they’re not nuts.

Imagine if President Trump had written an op-ed or gone on TV with a message to those who might be subpoenaed by, say, Adam Schiff or Jerrold Nadler: REFUSE TO COOPERATE.

Can you even imagine the fevered cries of “Obstruction!!”? Of course, in the chess game that was the phony “Trump/Russia” investigation, they managed to set it up so that virtually anything Trump said or did, even it it was well within his authority as President, could be viewed as obstruction of justice.

But Andrew Weissmann, former special counsel Robert Mueller’s infamous “pit bull” whose specialty is withholding exculpatory evidence, has quite arguably obstructed justice himself. Here’s the story from Daniel Chaitin in THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER.

In an op-ed in THE NEW YORK TIMES (where else?), he and co-author Ryan Goodman, a former Defense Department special counsel, urged Justice Department officials to consider not cooperating with two investigations being overseen by Attorney General Bill Barr. There’s the wide-ranging John Durham investigation, and also the John Bash investigation into all that unmasking of American citizens. (Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was one of those unmasked, but there were many more.)

The reason Weissmann and Goodman are making a stink is that they don’t want either of the reports to come out before the election. So they maintain that putting it out before the election would be political --- an attempt to interfere with the election. But I say that keeping a completed report under wraps until AFTER the election would be political --- a calculated attempt to interfere with the election by keeping voters in the dark. Likewise, interfering with the investigation so that the report can’t be completed in time would be political. Sounds like obstruction to me.

"What can be done if Mr. Barr seeks to take actions in service of the President’s political ambitions?” they wrote. “...Employees who witness or are asked to participate in such political actions –- who all swore an oath to the Constitution and must obey Department policies –- can refuse, report and, if necessary, resign. Other models include speaking with Congress under subpoena or resigning and then communicating directly to the public. Reputable organizations are at the ready to advise whistle-blowers about the risks and benefits of pursuing these paths."

They’re probably talking about that same law firm that protected the “anonymous” whistleblower that kicked off Trump’s impeachment. How conveeeeenient. Of course, if Barr does anything at all that happens to benefit Trump, it must have been done “in service to the President’s political ambitions.”

One big take-away from Weissmann’s behavior is that he must think these investigations found some really, really bad stuff.

By the way, if you’re interested in a book not to buy, Weissmann has a book coming out in September, purported to explain why the Mueller team could have “done more” in their Russia investigation. Well, let’s see...according to Sidney Powell, they sure could have “done more” to get exculpatory documents to defense attorneys! A lot more.