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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.”

The mayors of such big blue cities as New York, Chicago and L.A. don’t seem willing or able to stop their residents from rioting or shooting each other, but they are going medieval on anyone who violates their coronavirus rules (unless they do it to protest the police, of course.)

It’s ironic that New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio is instituting checkpoint stops on in-bound travelers, quarantines and other strict rules that will make it even harder to come to New York at the same time that Gov. Cuomo is practically begging people who’ve bugged out to come back. Cuomo even pleaded, “I’ll buy you a drink!” Where? Aren’t the bars closed? And how do you drink through a mask? Well, he also promised to cook.

But let’s get real: New York has been losing its tax base for years as productive residents flee to other states like Florida. It isn’t just the Chinese virus that’s diving them out; it’s the virus of leftist policies that’s bringing back the bad old days of high crime, gangs, drugs, homelessness, filth and sky-high taxes.

I have sympathy for New Yorkers for all they’re having to endure right now (although they lost a lot of my sympathy when they voted to reelect DeBlasio.) But I have to assure them that they won’t have to worry about me coming anytime soon. The one negative about doing my former Fox TV show was that every weekend, I had to go to New York. You have no idea how much I love being on TBN and doing our show from our beautiful theater in Hendersonville, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville.

I’ve often wondered what would happen to New York (or to San Francisco and other big blue cities) if people ever realized that these days, much of the work they do, including stock trading, can be conducted via computer, out of an office in a beautiful spacious home overlooking the ocean in Texas or Florida, where there are no income taxes and the mortgage is less than what they were paying to rent an apartment the size of a Toyota. A gradual exodus from these cities may have been inevitable, but thanks to the necessity for all white-collar employees to work at home and all the arts and nightlife shutting down anyway, the coronavirus has pressed the accelerator to the floor.

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.

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!

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.

Many Trump supporters are frustrated that the President seemed unprepared for some of the tough questions about the US coronavirus response in his Axios interview with Jonathan Swan. So he might want to take a cue from Matt Margolis at PJ Media, who has some advice for him on how to explain it in clearer terms.

Margolis points out that in comparing the US negatively to Germany and South Korea in terms of deaths per million, Swan cherry-picked two nations but left out a lot of others. In fact, the US is not #1 in deaths per million, but tenth.

Also, the US isn’t a small, homogenous nation with one all-powerful central government; it’s a collection of 50 states that the federal government can only offer aid and advice to as they make their own local decisions, and with Constitutional rights for individuals that must be accommodated (even if they are trampled in some blue states.) Because of that, many of the COVID-19 deaths have been in a small handful of Northeastern blue states. If you lifted New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and DC out and lumped them together as if they were a nation, they would lead the world in deaths per 100,000, while the entire remaining states together would come in 18th.

Liberal media outlets would like us to believe that Trump is somehow responsible for the bad decisions made by local Democratic officials, like forcing nursing homes to take in COVID-19 patients. Trump didn’t run the New York State or City response to the virus, but he did insure that the predicted deadly shortages of ventilators and hospital rooms (remember that scare story?) never materialized.

If Swan wants to know who was in charge of the response in New York, maybe he should interview New York City’s Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. Wait, I’m sorry: she’s now the former Health Commissioner. She just resigned and blasted Mayor DeBlasio on her way out the door. She wrote, “I leave my post today with deep disappointment that during the most critical public health crisis in our lifetime, that the health department’s incomparable disease control expertise was not used to the degree it could have been.” There had been longstanding conflicts between her and DeBlasio, who said he needs team players: “It had been clear in recent days that it was time for a change. We need an atmosphere of unity. We need an atmosphere of common purpose.” (Can you imagine the media's reaction if Dr. Fauci had resigned and blasted Trump, and he replied that he needed team players?)

Please note that I’m not even going to comment on which side is right here. I may think that DeBlasio has done a terrible job, but that doesn’t mean that he should have done whatever Dr. Barbot said. Way back in April, when there were reports of dust-ups between Trump and Fauci, I said I wouldn’t be surprised, since they both have different jobs. Fauci has only the health issue to deal with, and if he thinks we could prevent even only COVID-19 death by shutting down the economy for two years, he might think it’s worth it. But Trump is more like a general overseeing a battlefield: he has to consider all the ramifications and unintended consequences; he can’t focus solely on one platoon if it’s going to cost him the war in the long run.

We have pandemics all the time (remember swine flu in 2009?), but we can’t shut down the world for a year or more until we develop a vaccine for all of them. Maybe DeBlasio thought he was protecting both New York’s health and its economy. He simply failed on both counts.