Poynter Institute's Hilarious Face-Plant About Website Mocking Them (It Wasn't Us!)

March 29th, 2023 3:06 PM

The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is best known as the parent organization of PolitiFact. But guess what? They're not so great at figuring out the facts. 

On March 20, the Media Research Center received a threatening letter from the institute's lawyer, Dean A. Kent of Trenam Law in Tampa/St. Petersburg. "This firm is intellectual property counsel to Poynter Institute for Media Studies, Inc, a not for profit journalism school and research organization with a website of www.poynter.org."

Yes, we know that. That's where you can find liberal-puffing scribblings from this writer Tom Jones, the guy I have called "Brian Stelter's identically thinking twin." Wrote the lawyer: 

It has come to our attention that Media Research Center d/b/a mrcNewsbusters ("MRC") has recently obtained and controls a publicly available website with a domain name of www.poynterinstitute.com....

MRC's registration and use of this newly created, confusing website...to divert traffic to MRC's Poynter articles and publications....is improper. 

There's just one serious problem with this claim. We looked into this. The MRC had nothing to do with it -- at all. They would be laughed out of court.

But the lawyer blustered that his client Poynter is "entitled to recover up to three times its actual damages, including an profits you have made from improper use of the Poynter Marks and recover statutory damages of between $1,000 and $100,000 per domain name." Don't go away mad, just go away. 

The comedy here is that Poynter never thought to buy the alternative URLs like Poynterinstitute.com. They failed to stop impersonators from mocking them.

Whoever made this site is clearly mocking Poynter's "fact-checking," since it says "It's our job to censor you." The home page also says: 

The media have abandoned all pretense of objectivity to become a pro bono ad agency for the progressive movement, infusing left-wing talking points into every issue, from the pandemic to the “cultural revolution.” “Truth in journalism,” once a reporter’s credo, is now a relic of a bygone era. Make no mistake - the "Fact Checkers" are the propagandists.

It's true that clicking on the green words on this satirical site gives you a NewsBusters link, to a Jeffrey Lord column from 2019 titled "Censoring Conservative Media: The Unreliable Poynter Institute." Poynter had trashed conservative media outlets as "unreliable" -- unlike Stelter, Mr. "Reliable Sources."

Like Poynter couldn't have but their own political operatives at PolitiFact to research how this website came to be before sending empty threats to one of PolitiFact's most energetic critics? This lowers their credibility even further.