The Truth about Facebook’s ‘fake news’ Filters

Facebook has decided to protect Americans against “fake” news.  Facebook will now use filters so that only “reputable” articles can appear at the top of users’ trending news stories.  And Facebook is going to media fact checkers for help (initially ABC News, The Associated Press, FactCheck.org, Politifact and Snopes).  You know…the usual fact checkers used by liberals.  These fact checkers have their biases usually the same liberal biases that we see in the rest of the mainstream media.

I can see now Facebook will soon be an outdated news source and it is the time we start looking for a different source.  Before Facebook, the mainstream media had a monopoly on the news. Then came the rise of talk radio, then came Fox News, and the internet. Freedom of information flourished. Facebook has already faced a scandal for having “filtered out stories on conservative topics from conservative sites.”

But to get an idea of how bias also affects fact, checkers, just consider a few evaluations from Politifact.

— “We’re the highest taxed nation in the world. Our businesses pay more taxes than any businesses in the world. That’s why companies are leaving.” Donald Trump on “Meet the Press” on May 8, 2016

Donald Trump was clearly talking about tax rates for businesses.  But in rating the claim as “False,” Politifact focuses on total federal tax burden as a share of GDP. Trump was correct that the U.S. has the world’s highest corporate income tax rate (combined federal and state).  In 2016, that rate was 38.9 percent  France came in second with 34.4 percent.  But Politifact conveniently overlooks state taxes, which are really what put the U.S. over the top compared to so many other countries.

— On November 9, California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom claimed that his state’s gun control laws were responsible for a “56 percent decline in the gun murder rate” since the 1990s.  Politifact rated this statement as only “mostly true,” but only because the drop in murders was even greater than 56 percent between 1993 and 2014.

Bizarrely, Politifact didn’t question the claim that this drop was due to California’s gun control laws. Pete Wilson, who was the Republican governor from 1991 to 1999, did very little on gun control.

Probably the only significant new regulation was the 1994 California Gun Free School Zone law, but this didn’t even forbid permit holders from carrying on school property.

The major gun regulations only started after Democrat Gray Davis took office in 1999.  During the first five years of the period Politifact studied when there was little change in gun laws, gun murders fell by 54 percent, over 80 percent the total 67 percent drop between 1993 and 2014.

Politifact ignores all of the other major crime legislation that was enacted by the Republican governor.  For instance, California passed the 1994 Three Strikes law, which doubled the penalty for a second felony if the first one was serious or violent.  A third felony carried a prison sentence of 25 years to life.  Much research showed that significantly higher criminal penalties likely played a role in reducing crime rates.

— “Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day.”  Donald Trump on Monday, October 17th, 2016 in a tweet

Politifact didn’t just say that this claim was false, they deemed it worth the designation: Liar, Liar “Pants on Fire.”  While the term “large scale” fraud might be in the eye of the beholder, voter fraud in 2008 gave Al Franken the Senatorship in Minnesota and even control of entire state legislatures have been determined (e.g., the Pennsylvania state Senate in 1994).  From California to Pennsylvania to Virginia to Indiana, many thousands of illegal aliens, dead people, and just non-existent ones were caught being registered to vote just a month or so before November election.

Through the 2016 presidential campaign, fact checkers continually defended Hillary Clinton from claims that she wanted the Supreme Court to reverse itself and allow complete gun bans.  But the reasoning was always strained. Fact checkers just argued that Clinton wasn’t trying to revise the Constitution. But the real concern was the impact that Clinton would have on the Supreme Court and its interpretation of the Second Amendment.

The bias here could include dozens of additional examples.  Facebook will also be relying on fact-checking by ABC News, Factcheck.org, and the Associated Press.  Yet all have shown similar left-wing bias (here, here, and here).

There is a way to deal with these supposedly dangerous “fake” news stories.  Good journalism is a way to combat fake news.  Liberals love to resort to attempts at censorship instead of dealing with the truth.

h/t  John R. Lott at Fox news

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