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Wednesday, May 19, 2021
MRC Thinks It Can Critique The Research Of Others
Topic: Media Research Center

Despite lacking any credibility in conducting legitimate research -- and despite said alleged "research" being filled with bias -- the Media Research Center think it can judge the research of others. Kayla Sargent wrote in a March 5 post:

A New York University-affiliated organization has joined the left-wing bandwagon to attack conservative media on Facebook. In so doing, it ignored the social media platform’s obvious bias against conservatives.

A study from Cybersecurity for Democracy claimed that “far-right” news sources received greater engagement on Facebook than news sources from other political parties. “When we look only at the far-right, we see that misinformation sources significantly outperform non-misinformation sources,” the authors of the study claimed. “Being a consistent spreader of far-right misinformation appears to confer a significant advantage.”

Essentially, the study claimed that right-leaning news sources outperform left-leaning or “center” sources in an attempt to ignore or downplay Facebook’s constant barrage of censorship against conservative voices.


Unsurprisingly, the study did not mention the obvious bias against conservatives on Facebook. Facebook fact-checkers attacked a meme about Dr. Seuss, and the platform deleted content from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Yes, the MRC really is mad that Facebook pointed out that a meme falsely portraying "The Cat in the Hat" was containing "inappropriate content" was flagged for missing context. Of course, the discredited narrative of a "constant barrage of censorship against conservative voices" is something the MRC has been pushing for years, and this study discredits it further. Knowing that, Sargent has to distract by attacking the organizations cited as sources in the study, NewsGuard and Media Bias Fact Check:

The two sources that the study used teemed with liberal bias. NewsGuard co-CEO contributed four times more money to Democratic candidates than Republicans in 2018. 

Media Bias Fact Check’s liberal bias was astounding. The organization said that the liberal Soros-funded Poynter Institute is “a leader in distinguished journalism and produce[s] nothing but credible and evidence based content.” It also called PolitiFact, a Facebook fact-checker affiliated with the Poynter Institute, “simply the best source for political fact checking.”

The MRC loves to dismiss media organizations that don't parrot its right-wing agenda as "liberal."

On March 16, Heather Moon attacked a study claiming that Instagram uses its recommendations to promote "dangerous misinformation and conspiracy theories," complaining that "the study was vague about what that even means." Moon then went after the allegedly "leftist" Center for Countering Digital Hate, which issued the study: "The leftist group responsible for the study has been pushing to deplatform sites like The Federalist and ZeroHedge. It was founded by a self-described 'expert in online malignant behaviour' who is unabashedly anti-free market. Exemplifying the study’s lack of objectivity, the leftist group behind the study decided what constituted “'dangerous misinformation' and selected Instagram accounts that might generate the most concerning recommendations." Because the study cited fact-checkers to identify stories with misinformation, Moon issued a typical anti-fact-checker rant:

There are many problems with fact-checkers. Facebook’s fact-checkers are all part of the liberal Poynter Institute's International Fact Checking Network (IFCN), which received $1.3 million from liberal billionaires George Soros and Pierre Omidyar. A report from December 2020 also revealed that one of the certifiers working at IFCN was a highly partisan Clinton supporter. Lead Stories, which has performed a significant percentage of the fact-checks on Facebook at times, is run by eight former CNN alumni. USA Today, reportedly used college interns to help with its fact-checking.

College interns work at the MRC. Does that mean the MRC is even more discredited? Moon didn't say.

Moon went on to complain that "some examples of suggested posts that the study deemed “dangerous” instead appear to simply be contrary to the left’s narrative," citing as an example of this a post about COVID tests that claimed "It’s now common knowledge that PCR tests produce absurd numbers of false positives, so the data we have is severely inflated." In fact, the rate of false positives for COVID PCR tests are close to zero, with most false-positives attributable to how the test was conducted rather than the test itself -- making this a poor example for Moon to cite, as she seems to be arguing that misinformation is a conservative attribute.

Nevertheless, Moon devoted a March 29 post to bashing another study she didn't like:

A new study from a George Soros-funded group used flawed methodology to claim Facebook failed to prevent more than 10 billion views of so-called “misinformation.” 

The study used Facebook’s fact checkers, shown to be inaccurate and biased, to compile a list of “misinformation” posts. It then jumped through some convoluted hoops in order to arrive at an attention-grabbing 10.1 billion preventable views of so-called “misinformation.” The group behind the study wouldn’t even release the lists of posts or pages used in the study because the focus of the study is Facebook’s algorithm. Withholding such information prevents the study from being objectively and thoroughly reviewed, giving the impression of a pseudo-scientific study that wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny.

We would remind Moon that her employer conducts "studies" that fail to make underlying data public about the subjective judgments it makes about the content being reviewed. By Moon's definition, the MRC is putting out pseudo-scientific studies that won’t stand up to scrutiny.

Moon recycled her "problems with fact-checkers" rant, then went after the group that issued the study, Avaaz, as having supported "highly divisive, radical leftist causes.Later, she was in the uncomfortable position of quoting Facebook itself criticizing the Avaaz study.

So Facebook is suddenly trustworthy and not evil because the MRC needs it to advance its attack against Avaaz? No wonder nobody trusts the MRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:33 PM EDT

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