Topic: Media Research Center
Facebook has slapped an unfair fact-check label on yet another post from the Media Research Center.
Facebook fact-checker Health Feedback fact-checked a video from MRCTV Managing Editor Brittany Hughes for “Partly False Information.” Health Feedback particularly took issue with a statement made by Hughes concerning comments by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Health Feedback claimed that “The claim that Fauci knew ‘masks don’t work’ commonly referred to his response to Sylvia Burwell, a former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, sent on 5 February 2020.
Facebook slapped a label on the MRCTV video that stated: “Partly False Information: The same information was checked in another post by independent fact-checkers.”
In an email to the Media Research Center, Health Feedback called Hughes’ characterization of Fauci’s statement “inaccurate.” It claimed: “The spread of viruses can be reduced by masks in two ways: one is by protecting the wearer from other people’s infectious material; the other is by protecting other people from an infected person’s respiratory droplets, also known as source control. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends mask-wearing primarily as a means of source control.”
Fauci’s comments about masks originated in a collection of thousands of his emails that were released via a Freedom of Information Act request. Fauci said: “Masks are really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection.”
At no point did Sargent explain what, exactly, was "unfair" about Health Feedback's ruling -- but also notice that she didn't directly quote what Hughes said that got her in trouble with the fact-checker. Here's what Hughes ranted:
Meanwhile, [Fauci] was busy covering his own butt in telling the public that [coronavirus] originated naturally, all while telling them to smother themselves with face masks that he was also telling his own co-workers didn't actually work. Now, we learned all this from a giant email dump that's come out while the administration is busy trying to bribe half the country to get a vaccine that millions of people have already decided they don't want to get. Why? Well, see, billy goats don't like being bossed ardound by little narcissistic trolls who think the run the universse, and the American people are really sick of being lied to.
Sargent also failed to tell what, exactly, Health Feedback said about the claim that Fauci was lying about the effectiveness of masks:
It is important to note that Fauci’s statements above are consistent with mask-wearing guidance at that point in time, when masks weren’t recommended for the general public. This was because health authorities were concerned about a potential shortage of masks, which are needed to protect healthcare workers at high risk of contracting the disease.
But in early April 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed its stance on community mask use, after scientists discovered that seemingly healthy people could spread the virus.
In keeping with the change in guidance spurred by the emergence of new scientific evidence, Fauci has since encouraged mask-wearing numerous times in the media (see here,here, and here), as Reuters pointed out in their fact-check.
In other words: Hughes is attacking Fauci for old guidance that evolved as new facts about COVID were uncovered. She's mad he changed his mind as the situation changed. So, yes, there's nothing unfair about this fact-check -- it's well deserved.
Because Sargent doesn't have a case, she decided to attack Facebook and its fact-checkers, rehashing old talking points:
Facebook clearly has not learned its lesson from censoring information about COVID-19. Early in the pandemic, Facebook and its “fraudulent” fact-checker program censored claims that COVID-19 was manufactured in a laboratory in Wuhan, China. However, the platform later reversed course and confirmed that it would no longer censor the Wuhan laboratory theory in light of new information. “In light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that COVID-19 is man-made from our apps,” a Facebook spokesperson told MRC Free Speech America in a statement.
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell said in a tweet: “Facebook, which claims to be fighting ‘misinformation’ essentially admitted today that THEY have been spreading misinformation for over a year. Yet another reason to remove the protections Facebook and others receive from section 230.”
Facebook’s fact-checkers are all part of the liberal Poynter Institute's International Fact Checking Network, which received $1.3 million from liberal billionaires George Soros and Pierre Omidyar. Facebook’s fact-checkers must be approved by the Poynter Institute[.]
Hughes is not known for her honesty. We caught her a few years back making a Fox News appearance in which she hyped a claim that illegal immigrants committed a crime, but she refused to apologize when the claim turned out to be false.