The arbiters of truth 5

From now on, when you write news on Facebook, it will be judged by certain people – specially talented, it is implied, in being totally uninfluenced by their own likes and dislikes – and if they reject it as untrue, it will be …

Deleted? Banned? Demoted? Obscured?

Discredited, anyway.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Facebook Inc. is inching closer to fact-checking the news on its platform, a role that Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg shunned a month ago, by rolling out steps to weed out “the worst of the worst”, the social media platform said on Thursday.

It has inched all the way. It is commissioning fact-checking.

Facebook said it has identified several markers of sites that consistently peddle fake news, and it will demote posts from those sites in people’s news feeds.

It is also outsourcing the delicate task of determining whether individual stories are true or false to a few external organizations and tweaking its news feed algorithm based on their rulings. It is unusual for Facebook to entrust outsiders with this much power to influence the way posts are played in the news feed, the central stream of information that is customized for each user by Facebook’s algorithm. …

Mr. Zuckerberg initially dismissed concerns over fake news, but later backed away from that stance. Still he remains wary of Facebook becoming the “arbiters of truth” … 

By drafting the help of a network of fact-checking groups affiliated with the Poynter Institute, a journalism nonprofit based in St. Petersburg, Fla., Facebook is seeking to keep the task at arm’s length. …

(More about Poynter below.)

The fact-checking organizations — Snopes.com, PolitiFact, ABC News, Factcheck.org and the Associated Press — will sift through the flagged stories to determine if they are fake. It will be up to those organizations to determine whether or not to fact-check them. …

Facebook’s partnerships immediately sparked questions among users and conservatives on the neutrality of the fact checkers themselves.

“Fact checkers all seem to be from the left,” said a Twitter message from the account of Republican strategist Evan Siegfried. “Not good for conservatives.”

If a fact checker determines articles are untrue, those stories will appear lower in Facebook’s news feed and publishers can’t promote them with Facebook ads, the company said. The links will also carry a warning label to indicate that their accuracy is in dispute.

ABC news and the Associated Press (AP) as arbiters of truthful reporting? Orwell, your Ministry of Truth exists, and rules over us! Both are notoriously left-biased. (Read about ABC’s bias here. As for AP – Google “Associated Press misreporting” and see instantly on page one just some of the topics they’ve lied about.)

But wait! Worse is to come.

Aaron Klein writes at Breitbart:

The organization partnered with Facebook to help determine whether a certain story is “disputed” is financed by billionaire George Soros and a slew of other left-wing funders.

The partnering organization is Poynter. It has set up a new subsidiary for this task, the International Fact-Checking Network, and yes, it is funded by George Soros, the ideal man to head Orwell’s Ministry of Truth!

The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) drafted a code of five principles for news websites to accept, and Facebook yesterday announced it will work with “third-party fact checking organizations” that are signatories to the code of principles.

Facebook says that if the “fact checking organizations” determine that a certain story is fake, it will get flagged as disputed and, according to the Facebook announcement, “there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why. Stories that have been disputed may also appear lower in News Feed”.

IFCN is hosted by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. A cursory search of the Poynter Institute website finds that Poynter’s IFCN is openly funded by Soros’ Open Society Foundations as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, and the National Endowment for Democracy.

Poynter’s IFCN is also funded by the Omidyar Network, which is the nonprofit for liberal billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. The Omidyar Network has partnered with the [Orwellian-named] Open Society on numerous projects and it has given grants to third parties using the Soros-funded Tides Foundation. Tides is one of the largest donors to left-wing causes in the U.S.

Another significant Poynter Institute donor is the Craig Newmark Foundation, the charitable organization established by Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark. On Monday, just days before the announcement of the Facebook partnership, Poynter issued a press release revealing that Newmark donated $1 million to the group to fund a faculty chair in journalism ethics.

States the press release:

The gift will support a five-year program at Poynter that focuses on verification, fact-checking and accountability in journalism. It’s the largest donation Poynter’s ever received from an individual foundation.

The Newmark Chair will expand on Poynter’s teaching in journalism ethics and develop certification programs for journalists that commit to ethical decision-making practices. The faculty member will also organize an annual conference on ethics issues at Poynter and be a regular contributor to Poynter.org.

Newmark funds scores of liberal groups also financed by Soros, including the Sierra Club, the New America Foundation, and the Sunlight Foundation.

Newmark also finances the investigative journalism group called the Center for Public Integrity, where he serves on the board.  Soros’s Open Society is another Public Integrity donor.

Soros has earned his megafortune in part by short selling currencies and causing economic crises. He is credited with breaking the pound on September 16, 1992 in a day that became known in Britain as “Black Wednesday.” He reportedly made $1.2 billion from that crisis.  In 2002, he was convicted for insider trading.

And that’s the least of his offenses. See the very long list of the organizations through which he works his evil will, and read what their principles and purposes are.

Poynter, meanwhile, has hosted controversial journalism programs in the past, including one that was accused of downplaying the threat of global Islamic terrorism. FoxNews.com reported the course suggested reporters “keep the death toll from Islamic terrorism in ‘context’ by comparing that toll to the number of people killed every year by malaria, HIV/AIDS and other factors”.

It is typical of the Left to compare terrorism to accidents and diseases, as though no moral decision is involved in the committing of random murder. This amounts to a condoning of terrorism, which positively encourages it.

The course taught reporters that the term “jihad” means internal struggle, and it discussed what it claimed was the issue of “right-wing activists” attempting to link American Muslims to terrorism.

As examples of fact-checking, the propagation of such blatant lies does not inspire confidence.

The section includes the good-journalism tip that reporters should check to see if experts they’re interviewing “have a bias or a stake in the story you are covering.” But then it only cites examples of anti-Muslim groups.

The course in Islam, Fox News reported, was supported by a group calling itself the Social Science Research Council, which has received funding from Soros-financed groups.

In response to the report, the Poynter Institute explained that it created the course “as a tool for journalists who want to be accurate in educating their audience about the religion and culture of Islam, Muslim communities in the U.S., and the distinctions between Islam as a political movement and the radical philosophies that inspire militant Islamists”. 

As there is NO distinction to be drawn between “Islam as a political movement and the radical philosophies that inspire militant Islamists”, those journalists who long to achieve strict accuracy will be teaching a lie from the get-go.    

“We believe there is a need to better understand the complexities of Muslim societies and the online course offered by Poynter and Washington State University is a vital resource toward that end,” Poynter added.

The values underpinning the course are truth, accuracy, independence, fairness, minimizing harm and context — the core journalistic values on which we build all our teaching here at Poynter.”

No one should be surprised at Poynter’s capacity for self-deception. It is what makes Leftism possible.

What of the other “fact-checkers”  on which Facebook will rely?

Poynter owns the Tampa Bay Times, and the Tampa Bay Times owns Politifact,

Politifact declares about itself:

PolitiFact is a project of the Tampa Bay Times and its partner news organizations to help you find the truth in American politics. …

Control of the newspaper and its operations, however, lies with a single executive. Upon retirement, that leader picks a successor. …

We received a grant from the Democracy Fund that has assisted us in expanding to new states. …

For our PunditFact project — which fact-checks talking heads and opinion leaders – we have received grants from the Ford Foundation and the Democracy Fund. Seed money for the project was provided by craigconnects. …

The Democracy Fund is administered by the iniquitous United Nations. The Ford Foundation funds such causes as Black Live Matter.

 When it comes to the question of “Who is PolitiFact?” or “Who pays for PolitiFact?”, we can assure you that no one is behind the scenes telling us what to write for someone else’s benefit. We are an independent, nonpartisan news organization. We are not beholden to any government, political party or corporate interest. We are proud to be able to say that we are independent journalists. …

Sorry, but we find that really, really hard to believe.

Then there is Snopes.com. It too is heavily left leaning(Read about it here and here.)

And what of Factcheck.org?

We quote from (conservative) Free Republic, which investigated it:

The “Truthfulness” website called FactCheck.org is itself decidedly BIASED toward the LEFT …

Among several proofs of this assertion, it cites this:

The sponsoring agency behind FastCheck.org, is itself supported by the same foundation, the ANNENBERG FOUNDATION, that Bill Ayers secured the 49.2 million dollars from to create the Chicago ANNENBERG Challenge “philanthropic” organization in which Barack Obama was the founding Chairman of the Board for and Ayers served as the grant writer of and co-Chair of for its two operating arms.

That’s Bill Ayers the terrorist. Read here how he and Barack Obama tried to “push radicalism in schools” through the Annenberg Challenge.

Free Republic concludes its report on Factcheck.com with a question:

Does the LEFT have no conscience at all?

Answer: Absolutely none.

Has all this been revealed to Mark Zuckerberg? Does he not know or not care?

Facebook is a global platform. With this ploy, the lying Left has brought off a power-grab of immeasurable proportions. From now on it will be the arbiter of truth, all over the world.

And for the Left, “truth” equals political correctness.

But does anyone over there on the Left know what you stand for now? Where you’re going, or why?

Health derangement syndrome 1

If starving isn’t unhealthy, what does the word ‘unhealthy’ mean?

There are powerful persons who believe with fanatical conviction that (other) people should starve to death rather than eat something ‘unhealthy’.

As a result, millions are deprived of food.

Even Bill Gates protests about this state of affairs. We say ‘even Bill Gates’, because he usually goes along with the thinking of those who believe in government control of individual lives, aka socialists. (See in the quotation below a list of lefty organizations he supports.)  He doesn’t seem to realize that he is one of the greatest benefactors of mankind ever, through supplying billions of people with something they want: the products of Microsoft, which are put to trillions of productive uses throughout the world. Doing so –  as a model capitalist – has rightfully made him rich, and he has no moral obligation to redistribute his wealth in a secondary and much feebler attempt to do good. But he apparently thinks there is, perhaps out of some unwarranted feeling of guilt.

Whatever prompts him, he has undertaken to alleviate the chronic hunger of whole populations in Africa. And he has run into an impediment: the adoption, by stupid African rulers, of two Western ‘progressive’ notions: that people must be made to eat healthy food, and that genetically modified foods are unhealthy.

This article is from FrontPageMag:

The left-of-center philanthropist says starving Africans should be allowed to eat genetically modified foods.

Bill Gates took on the Famine Lobby while addressing a forum on the world food supply in Iowa. Speaking at the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Gates took aim at the chorus of environmental leftists and organic food advocates who believe Africans should starve rather than eat genetically modified (GM) foods. “Some voices are instantly hostile to any emphasis on productivity. They act as if there is no emergency, even though in the poorest, hungriest places on earth, population is growing faster than productivity,” he said.

The opposition is significant, because Gates is left-of-center himself. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with assets of $29 billion as of 2005, has focused on the “population” side of the “problem” in the past, sending billions of dollars in grants to such pro-abortion groups as Planned Parenthood; Population Action International, Population Services International, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, and the Population Resource Center. Gates has also financed such organizations as the [Soros supported] Tides Center, the Tides Foundation, the National Council of La Raza, and has supported a gun control initiative in Washington state.

However, Gates announced he will issue a $120 million grant to increase food productivity in sub-Saharan Africa through the planting of genetically modified seeds. In Des Moines, Gates cited a Stanford study from 2008 concluding African farmers will lose one-quarter of their productivity within 20 years if they continue to plant the same strains of corn. However, “If the seeds perform well, African farmers can expect to produce two-million more tons of maize in a year of moderate drought.” Radio Iowa reports Gates has “committed more than a billion dollars” in all.

In proposing this initiative, he is standing up to the Green Left, which has long favored environmental “purity” [over] human well-being. Greenpeace cooked up the term “Frankenfood” to demonize genetically modified foods a decade ago. …

Dire predictions aside, GM foods not only potentially increase food production but have replaced the need to spray crops with chemical pesticides, which sickened or killed Africans. Those farmers who spray can now streamline the process, saving them much time and money. The modified crops are more resistant to cold, drought, herbicides, pests, and disease. They also supplied nutritional gaps in the consumption patterns of the poor. For instance, so-called “golden rice” spliced Vitamin A into rice, which could stave off blindness among the world’s poor who eat little more than rice. …

Greenpeace has long claimed GM foods increase allergies; however, the World Health Organization – hardly a corporate, capitalist shill – concluded, “No allergic effects have been found relative to GM foods currently on the market.” Although six EU nations ban GM foods, Jaap Satter, a senior policy adviser at the Dutch Agriculture Ministry, has said, “You cannot say anymore that there is a scientific reason to be against genetic modification.” The National Research Council summed up the situation: “no conceptual distinction exists between generic modification of plants and microorganisms by classical methods or by molecular techniques that modify DNA and transfer genes.”

Some environmentalists seem concerned the foods will be too successful at feeding the poor. Al Gore has worried, “The most lasting impact of biotechnology on the food supply may come not from something going wrong, but from all going right…we’re far more likely to accidentally drown ourselves in a sea of excess grain.” Given the environmentalist movement’s hatred of population – best exemplified by Obama Science Czar John Holdren’s justification of compulsory abortion in the United States – this may be the real locus of their disdain.

So deep is the Green Left’s hatred of GM foods that even an organization Gates founded has given genetically modified food a chilly reception. “The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa was established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” and the Rockefeller Foundation in 2006 “with the objective of improving agriculture in Africa.” However, its leader, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, vowed in 2007: “We in the alliance will not incorporate GMOs [genetically modified organisms] in our programmes. We shall work with farmers using traditional seeds.”

The scare tactics and shunning of American and Euro-socialist leftists is theoretical and faulty – but their mania has reaped a deadly harvest among the world’s most vulnerable people.

In 2002, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa refused to accept tons of U.S. food aid for his starving nation, because the aid contained genetically modified food (maize, specifically). “Simply because my people are hungry, that is no justification to give them poison, to give them food that is intrinsically dangerous to their health,” he said. The deluded president continued, “I will not allow Zambians to be turned into guinea pigs no matter the levels of hunger in the country.”

The levels of hunger were staggering. Nearly one-third of Zambia’s 10 million people faced famine. Some 14 million Africans faced starvation region-wide. Nonetheless, the president privately upbraided officials in the UN World Food Programme for distributing GM foods, which fed 125,000 people in five camps. The WFP reported some impoverished Zambians “resorted to eating little more than twigs and ash from the fire in a brown soupy concoction.” Desperate, rural villagers broke into the palace where the stockpiles were rotting and stole 2,000 bags of maize.

In response, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in 2002, signed a “statement of solidarity” with Zambia. Charlie Kronick of Greenpeace went further, alleging the humanitarian aid constituted a sick capitalist ploy. “There is a constant drip of pressure from the U.S. government and biotech industry to make sure Africa is softened up for GM,” he theorized. “Europe is closed to them and they need a market for it.”

Others offered more than ideological support. Zimbabwe joined the boycott, preventing GM grain’s importation. Angola followed suit in 2004. Lesotho and Mozambique milled all such grain so it would not be planted and “infect” other crops.

Not all were limited to the EU and Africa. In 2004, Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez passed “possibly…the most sweeping restrictions on transgenic crops in the western hemisphere.”

At home, the opposition has been remarkably well-heeled. National Review’s Deroy Murdock found:

In 2001, the 30 leading anti-biotech groups…spent $341.4 million, including Greenpeace USA’s expenditure of $23,748,737, Environmental Defense’s $38,794,150 and the Natural Resources Defense Council’s $41,625,882. Between 1996 and 2001, this crusade’s lavish underwriters included the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($11,906,500), the Ford Foundation ($39,978,020) and the Pew Charitable Trusts ($130,996,900).

It also included a large portion of the organic food market. Somehow, this story of an industry trying to spike a competitor did not make MSNBC or the pages of Mother Jones.

Whatever the dangers, the prohibition of GM foods is a moral issue. As Velasio De Paolis of the Pontifical Urban University has said, it is “easy to say no to GM food if your stomach is full.” However misled he is on other issues, Bill Gates deserves credit for standing up against the Green Left on this point.

But on another, closely related, issue he has so far failed to take the right stand:

The question remains, will he do so on the issue that seems closest to his heart: the eradication of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa? In a recent speech on the topic Gates admitted, “two tools helped to bring the death rate down: One was killing the mosquitoes with DDT.” Before Rachel Carson’s crusade – based entirely on scientific theories that never panned out – DDT use had nearly eradicated malaria. Now, according to one report, “there are approximately 350 to 500 millions cases of malaria, killing close to one million people” annually. “Every day, malaria takes the lives of 2,000 children in Africa alone.” Yet instead of backing DDT use, Gates has sought to find a vaccine.

If Gates truly wants to put the well-being of Africans above political correctness, DDT is the best place to start.