Ideological diversity is crucial when it comes to building a well-balanced fact-checking team. But the left won’t accept anyone who isn’t on their side.
Facebook’s controversial fact-checking program announced on April 17 that it had added two more partners to its United States branch, Science Feedback and Check Your Fact. Check Your Fact is the Daily Caller’s fact-checking subsidiary, replacing the now defunct Weekly Standard as the conservative fact-checker. The other five members of this group are decidedly left-wing, and have a clear majority. But that wasn’t enough for liberal journalists, who slammed the Caller as “pro-Trump” and “facing repeated accusations of running false and offensive content.”
The Guardian ran a piece criticizing the Caller for “publishing propaganda about George Soros” and generally “aligning with President Trump’s agenda.” Guardian journalists were upset about the decision as well. Jason Wilson characterized the site as being full of “conspiracy theories” about “cultural Marxism.”
Google employees, who always seem up for protesting conservatism in general, launched attacks on the site. Google Open Research lead Meredith Whittaker called the Daily Caller a “hate site.” Google Brain’s Adam Lasnik said, “#DailyCaller as a paid FB fact checker is like Roseanne Barr as a judge on The Sing-off.”
Academics were, to say the least, upset with Facebook’s decision. Georgetown University professor Don Moynihan tweeted that the choice was like “adding an arsonist to the fire department.” Author Michael Diebert, who calls himself a journalist, wrote, “This is misguided not b/c @DailyCaller is on the right (whatever that means these days) but b/c it repeatedly runs false content & wouldn’t know a “fact” from a hole in the ground.”
Dan O’Sullivan, who has been published in Rolling Stone and Vice, called the Daily Caller an “explicitly white power publication.”
Facebook’s argument in response to the onslaught of criticism was that “any news organization can apply to join the program after it gains certification from the non-partisan International Fact Checking Network, run by the journalism institute Poynter.” Poynter had verified Check Your Fact.