Facebook fact-checkers are quick to jump on when they claim conservative media gets it wrong. But what happens when CNN and NBC get stories wrong?
On April 1, Bloomberg News reported that the U.S. intelligence community believed that China lied about the number of people who died from the coronavirus. Two unnamed U.S. officials told the media outlet that the report concluded that China’s numbers were fake. However, all nine of Facebook’s independent fact-checking partners failed to use this information when the liberal media claimed that the United States had more coronavirus deaths than China on April 12.
NBC News stated on April 13, “The United States now has the lead with the most deaths from the coronavirus outbreak of any nation worldwide with nearly 22,000 lives lost.” CNN wrote that the United States had “more reported deaths than any country in the world.” Reuters, Democracy Now, and the Intelligencer wrote similar pieces.
But none of these pieces focused on China’s numbers, which were reported to be at 3,341 officially.
The Washington Post had stated that “evidence emerging” from the city of Wuhan “suggests that the real death toll is exponentially higher.” One funeral home in Wuhan “received 5,000 urns,” according to one report.
Radio Free Asia claimed that the death toll in Wuhan alone would have been closed to 46,000. The Associated Press said that “exactly how many died from the coronavirus may never be known.” The New York Times wrote on April 3 that “The C.I.A. has warned the White House for weeks that China vastly understated its epidemic.” The Chinese government has been attempting to “control the narrative.”
Where were the independent fact-checkers when NBC News and CNN misstated the fact that China’s numbers are most likely fake?
Facebook has nine independent fact-checkers, all verified by liberal journalism institute Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network (funded by liberal billionaire George Soros.) In 2019, the institute published an advertising “blacklist,” compiled by a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center. This blacklist targeted 29 conservative media outlets. The list caused such an outcry that Poynter had to publicly apologize and remove it from its site. All of Facebook's fact-checkers must be approved by Poynter.
These fact-checkers include Reuters, USA Today, Lead Stories (run by 8 former CNN employees), Check Your Fact, Factcheck.org, Politifact, Science Feedback, The Associated Press, and AFP Fact-Check.