If you want to see just how politically warped and weaponized the use of so-called ‘fact-checking’ has become in the national media, look no further than Univision, the United States’ leading Spanish-language broadcaster.
Between Inauguration Day 2017 and April 6, 2018, President Trump, along with members of his administration and Republicans in Congress, have been the subjects of 59 of 62 (or 95%) of the analytical posts featured on Univision’s online fact-checking platform. Among the three remaining Univision ‘fact-checks’ reviewed by the Media Research Center during this period, none were focused on statements by Democrat Party politicians, and only one (examining conflicting claims about the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch) evenly evaluated both Republican and Democrat statements on the matter.
The findings buttress data reported by pollsters such as Rasmussen, which indicate that an astonishing 62% of American voters believe fact-checkers are biased. In the case of Univision, the bias is most evident in its wildly disproportional targeting of Republicans and conservatives for fact-checking.
The pattern also seriously belies the stated claims of Univision’s fact-checking platform which, following its launch in March of 2016, pledged to “verify what is being said by the principal protagonists of the most relevant public issues in the United States and Latin America” and specified that the operation would “follow President Donald Trump, his team, his opponents, political party leaders, opinion leaders, analysts and distinct organizations that participate in the national (U.S.) discussion.”
Univision’s fact-checking operation is evidently selling its audience a distorted bill of goods that explicitly serves the interests and agenda of only one side (the liberal Democrat side) of the political spectrum. The study of Univision’s fact-checking operation was done as part of the Media Research Center’s new “Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers” project, which aims to bring much-needed accountability to the media’s “fact-checking” sector.
It is also worth noting that MRC separately examined Univision’s online ‘fact checks’ from the platform’s debut in March of 2016 to the last day of the Obama administration, and that during this period President Obama was, tellingly, not the subject of a single ‘fact check.’
With track records like these, it is little wonder that Univision and other liberal media-driven ‘fact-checking’ operations have not only abjectly failed to stem the public’s loss of confidence in the fairness and impartiality of the national media, but contributed to its further erosion.
Going forward, MRC Latino will continue to analyze individual Univision ‘fact-checking’ content that is one-sided or that contains inaccuracies and mischaracterizations that are also common throughout the American ‘fact-checking’ industry, such as nitpicking presidential tweets that often use political shorthand.