Journalism Watchdog Scraps Blacklist Targeting Legitimate Conservative Sites Amid Backlash
A journalism watchdog backed by liberal billionaire George Soros has been forced to throw out a massive list of supposedly “unreliable” news sources — which included numerous conservative sites, including The Gateway Pundit — because it turned out to be fake news.
The Poynter Institute, which operates the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) that is funded by Soros’ Open Society Foundations, put out a list of 515 websites it deemed “unreliable” and called for an advertising boycott. The list included TGP, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, Washington Free Beacon, The Daily Wire, and many others. But after an outcry from the publications, as well as advocates of the First Amendment, Poynter has thrown out the blacklist.
In a wonderfully ironic “letter from the editor,” Poynter’s managing editor Barbara Allen said the list of “unreliable” sites was itself not so reliable.
On Tuesday, April 30, Poynter posted a list of 515 “unreliable” news websites, built from pre-existing databases compiled by journalists, fact-checkers and researchers around the country. Our aim was to provide a useful tool for readers to gauge the legitimacy of the information they were consuming.
Soon after we published, we received complaints from those on the list and readers who objected to the inclusion of certain sites, and the exclusion of others. We began an audit to test the accuracy and veracity of the list, and while we feel that many of the sites did have a track record of publishing unreliable information, our review found weaknesses in the methodology. We detected inconsistencies between the findings of the original databases that were the sources for the list and our own rendering of the final report.
Therefore, we are removing this unreliable sites list until we are able to provide our audience a more consistent and rigorous set of criteria. The list was intended to be a starting place for readers and journalists to learn more about the veracity of websites that purported to offer news; it was not intended to be definitive or all encompassing. We regret that we failed to ensure that the data was rigorous before publication, and apologize for the confusion and agitation caused by its publication. We pledge to continue to hold ourselves to the highest standards.
— Barbara Allen, managing editor, Poynter.org
“Since the election of Donald Trump the liberal mainstream press has been pursuing the fake news story that Trump colluded with Russia. This was a complete hoax. Meanwhile, at The Gateway Pundit we have consistently reported on the fact that Donald Trump’s campaign was targeted and spied on by the U.S. government. We were 100% accurate in our reports. And yet we were included on this fake news list.
“The fact that the left today is going after our livelihood is just pure evil. If they could beat us in the battleground of ideas they would not be so afraid of our voice. Thank goodness the conservative community spoke out against this despicable act. Poynter should get into a different business,” Hoft said.
Meanwhile, the Examiner’s executive editor, Philip Klein, lauded the move.
“I am glad to see the error of the Examiner’s inclusion corrected, but I still believe it is worrisome to call for advertisers blacklisting news organizations, especially given the opacity of the process and arbitrariness of many of the judgements,” he wrote.
I am glad to see the error of the Examiner's inclusion corrected, but I still believe it is worrisome to call for advertisers blacklisting news organizations, especially given the opacity of the process and arbitrariness of many of the judgements.
— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) May 1, 2019
Brent Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center, noted that Soros is behind the operation. “Busted: George Soros is the man behind a “journalism institute” that is blacklisting conservative media organizations. Typical radical left dishonesty. Fake media rides again!” he wrote on Twitter.
Busted: George Soros is the man behind a "journalism institute" that is blacklisting conservative media organizations. Typical radical left dishonesty. Fake media rides again! https://t.co/InlIgvwEpS
— Brent Bozell (@BrentBozell) May 2, 2019
And Jon Gabriel, Editor-in-chief of Ricochet, pointed out the irony of the fact-checking Poynter getting it all wrong. “With this error, @Poynter needs to include itself in any future ‘unreliable’ website lists.”
— jon gabriel (@exjon) May 3, 2019