A Field Guide to Dubious Fact Checking
It’s now 2024—the Associated Press says so.
In case a claim was made that it’s still 2023, the Associated Press wants to assure everyone that that is false.
Now, that’s a fact-check.
What isn’t a fact-check is most of what is produced by the fact-check industry. PolitiFact, FactCheck.org, and each of the in-house media organizations like CNN’s Facts First are merely confirmation machines, apparatus that reinforce the original lie, like putting lipstick on a pig.
They are the ultimate deceptive “third party validator.”
To simplify deception detection, here are a few very common and very slippery techniques the fact-checkers use to twist the truth into a lie—and vice versa—to always look out for.
Let’s start with position. Oprah using a space laser to burn down Maui to build a smart city is stupid, but questioning the impact smart cities will have on society is not.
Lumping crazy with sane makes sane look crazy, so having any concerns about fifteen-minute or smart cities is just as crazy as thinking Oprah used her space laser to burn Maui—easy peasy.
Then, there is asking the same people the same question that has been raised by someone else to make sure you get the same answer. That is an incredibly simple ploy:
“Joe says you’re guilty.”
“I am not guilty.”
Fact-check headline: Joe Is a Liar!!
Safety in numbers works well too. A claim is made but called wrong by a bunch of people. The fact-checkers only ask those people whether or not the claim is true, and one or two of their number—typically those with the most letters after their name—confirm their belief that the claim is not true.
This technique is the primary fact-check of everything climate and covid. Egregious terms like “settled science” spring from this, that and that the vast majority of media types did not take even a basic “Golden Book of Science” overview class in school and never asked anyone what exactly the “scientific method” is because it sounded too hard (the same goes for anything involving math).
Article from Mises Wire
The Mises Institute’s website is a treasure trove for enthusiasts of Austrian economics, libertarian philosophy, and classical liberalism. Serving as both an educational platform and a research resource, the site offers a vast array of articles, academic papers, books, and multimedia content aimed at advancing the principles of individual liberty, free markets, and limited government. Whether you’re a scholar, student, or just someone interested in libertarian thought, the Mises Institute provides invaluable insights and tools for exploring the intellectual foundations of a free society.