Guess Which Stories Media Literacy Firm Ad Fontes Didn’t Rate After Gaza Hospital ‘Bombing’

November 3rd, 2023 9:57 AM

Editor’s Note (Jan. 19, 2024): An earlier version of this article reported that Ad Fontes did not rate The New York Times’ infamous hospital hoax story. However, Ad Fontes did rate The Times’ story, giving it a relatively low score of 23.67 for reliability and 0 for bias. Ad Fontes’ highly favorable ratings for innocuous articles such as the obituaries remain on the media ratings firm’s page for The Times.

Media ratings firm Ad Fontes turned a blind eye to several of the leftist media outlets that infamously ran the Hamas-driven Gaza hospital hoax, thus shielding their favorable ratings.

Ad Fontes, the self-anointed arbiter of truth and facts, has thus far refused to rate media outlets’ stories that preemptively accused Israel of bombing a Palestinian hospital in Gaza. Leftist outlets like Politico, Time Magazine and Reuters carelessly reported Hamas’s since-discredited claims that Israel caused the deaths of over 500 Palestinians after bombing a hospital. Outrageous headlines — like Politico’s “Hundreds killed in Israeli airstrike on Gaza City hospital, Health Ministry says” — dominated early coverage and numerous homepages despite a lack of evidence to back such claims. Yet, ratings from the alleged premiere media ratings and reliability firm, Ad Fontes, were nowhere to be found when it came to the hospital hoax written by Politico Time Magazine and Reuters.

The pro-Hamas-driven headlines, which were plastered all over the homepages of the aforementioned liberal media outlets, mired President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel and influenced vile anti-Israel protests around the globe. Amid the backlash, Ad Fontes was missing in action despite stating specifically on its website that “[f]or each news source, we pick a sample of articles that are most prominently featured on that source’s website over several news cycles.” Ad Fontes did rate coverage of The New York Times, whose headline, “Israeli Strike Kills Hundreds in Hospital, Palestinians Say,” ignited widespread criticism. The media ratings firm, however, inexplicably missed Politico’s, Reuters’ and Time Magazine’s shoddy reporting.

The Times’s reporting on the hospital hoax relied on Hamas’ false claims that Israel had bombed the hospital  Ad Fontes gave the infamous story a relatively low score of 23.67 for reliability but gave it a perfect score of 0 for bias. Ad Fontes similarly rated a hospital-related The Times follow-up story headlined, “What We Know About the Explosion at the Hospital in Gaza.” The piece, as expected, served as a mea culpa for The Times, with the leftist newspaper giving both Israel's and Hamas’s side of the story. 

Ad Fontes’s “Media Bias Chart” places Politico, Time Magazine and Reuters on the political left-of-center. It also considers all four of these media outlets reliable sources for information, with highly favorable scores above 40. As explained in our Sept. 21 exposé of Ad Fontes, the company selects a sample of articles from media entities and gives each media entity a score between 0 and 60. MRC exposed Ad Fontes, using its own data and statements, to show how it habitually abandons its methodological framework to pursue its founder’s aggressive bias favoring the left. And here, a little over a month later, Ad Fontes’s failure to rate the bad reporting of leftist outlets further underscores our study's accuracy.

Related: MRC ORIGINAL: Media Literacy Firm Rigged to Favor Left-Wing Media

Despite scathing criticism against the leftist outlets for running with Hamas’s disproven claims, Ad Fontes has since refused to rate any of the original articles by Politico, Reuters and Time Magazine. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) assessed that the parking lot bombing “was the result of a failed rocket launch by militant terrorists and not the result of an Israeli airstrike.” The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence similarly concluded that the bombing “was not the result of Israeli military action.” 

Moreover, Ad Fontes picked other seemingly innocuous articles from The Times, including obituaries from 2015 and 2018, as samples to rate, thus allowing the infamous leftist outlets to maintain its relatively high score. At the time of this reporting, the seemingly latest Times piece that Ad Fontes bafflingly rated was an obituary of the late Lee Kuan Yew, the first premier of Singapore, who passed away in 2015. Yes, Ad Fontes resuscitated an almost nine-year-old Times story and gave it a perfect score for bias of 0 and a high-reliability score of 48.67. Before that, the media ratings company also tapped another obituary of former professor Saba Mahmood, who passed away in 2018, giving it a 0 for bias and a high-reliability score of 46.33. Ad Fontes also rated an article about a humanitarian aid deal for the Gaza Strip, giving it a relatively neutral bias score of -1.67 and a favorable score of 51 for reliability.

Ad Fontes did not stop there, however. It also cheered a Times article that painted Harvard students who signed an infamous pro-Hamas letter as victims. One of the most recent Times pieces Ad Fontes rated since the hospital hoax was a smear campaign against House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH). The piece — which was rated as a left-leaning, reliable news piece (-7.67 for bias and a 43.67 for reliability) — relied entirely on Democratic politicians and anti-Jordan Republicans to claim that if Jordan ascended to House Speaker, the GOP would be cemented as “an extreme group that is composed of Mr. Trump’s loyal foot soldiers.”

At the time of this review (Oct. 25), Ad Fontes had only rated three Reuters articles since the bombing hoax, including one that reported on Russia and China vetoing a U.S. push to call for the United Nations Security Council to respond to the Hamas terror attack in Israel. As expected, Ad Fontes gave the veto report a relatively neutral bias score of 1.33 f and a favorable reliability rating of 47.33. The other two articles Ad Fontes rated were rather innocuous. One was about the Russian Duma seeking to revoke a nuclear test ban treaty, and the second piece was on Google’s artificial intelligence. The two articles received identical scores of 0 for bias and 48.67 for reliability respectively. Strikingly, the Duma article was initially published on the day of the alleged bombing.

The so-called media ratings company has not rated any news articles on Time Magazine and Politico since the outlets ran Hamas’s anti-Israel propaganda.

Both Politico and Time Magazine posted a syndicated news piece from The Associated Press (AP) to further push pro-Hamas propaganda. “Hundreds killed in Israeli airstrike on Gaza City hospital, Health Ministry says,” AP’s original headline read. Adding to the pro-Hamas sensationalism, the news outlet added, “If confirmed, the attack would be by far the deadliest Israeli airstrike in five wars fought since 2008.” Politico and Time Magazine appear to have stealth-edited their pieces to reflect new information published by AP.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact ABC News (818) 460-7477, CBS News (212) 975-3247 and NBC News (212) 664-6192 and demand they report on Ad Fontes’s egregious left-wing bias.