Just Facts and its leader, James Agresti, is a fact-checker the Media Research Center and its "news" division, CNSNews.com, really likes -- which should be a red flag as to its right-wing bias. Agresti returned for a Feb. 1 CNS commentary to peddle the right-wing narrative against mask mandates:
Allegations that “masks work” and “don’t cause harm” have been enforced by governments and corporations around the world for more than 18 months through arrests, censorship, fines, and denial of access to schools, supermarkets, hospitals, streets, and other public spaces. This has made it virtually impossible for many people to live without complying with mask mandates.
In recent weeks, however, more medical scholars and media outlets are coming to grips with facts about masks that Just Facts has been documenting for more than a year and painstakingly compiled in a September 2021 article sourced with more than 50 peer-reviewed science journals. Here’s a sample of people who are speaking up about the facts and their implications:
But the examples Agresti cites are, well, less than factual. His first is a commentary by Dr. Vinay Presad in which he huffed that " masking is now little more than an appealing delusion" and that decisions to mask schoolchildren are "ignorant, cruel, fearful, and cowardly." But Presad has a history of dishonesty on the issue of masking, and he rather ludicrously likened vaccine mandates to the rise of Hitler.
His next example was from Chad Roy, in an interview with the right-wing Washington Examiner, who said that "all this song and dance of wearing cloth masks with some presumption that you’re being protected from ambient virus is completely and positively 100% counter to how masks and respirators work." Of course, nobody is seriously arguing that cloth masks offer the same protection as an N95 mask, but they did offer some level of protection that is better than not wearing a mask at all.
After citing more questionable claims falsely claiming that cloth masks are totally worthless, Agresti moved on to victim mode:
Some of the most powerful proponents of masking continue to spread destructive fictions and withhold genuine facts from people. For a prime example, Google-owned YouTube recently censored a video from Just Facts about the dangers of N95 masks. Even though every fact in the video is documented with data from peer-reviewed science journals, OSHA, and the CDC — YouTube purged it with callous disregard for the health of people, especially children.
But the video engages in the same fearmongering he's doing here. He's deliberately trying to scare people away from using N95 masks by cherry-picking facts to make them sound dangerous -- they may be "facts," but they're highly selective and chosen to advance a political agenda rather than objectively informing people.
Then again, carefully selected facts designed to advance an agenda is what CNS and the MRC are all about too.