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HORIST: The weaponizing of fact-checking

HORIST: The weaponizing of fact-checking

For most of American history, it has been the role of the news media to report on the five classic questions – who, what, when, where and how.  Opinion – and they all have them – was left to the editorial department and named columnists … period.  And even among editorial writers and columnists, it was expected that various opinions would be represented.

In terms of political reporting, the news services were generally limited to informing the public what was said by a candidate or officeholder.  It was up to the opposition candidate or party to offer the rebuttal or refutation – the spin as it became known – and it was up to each of us individually to decided who we believed, who we trusted.  The news media was simply to serve as the medium for the exchange.

In pre-1960s journalism schools, students were taught the ethical limitations of a truly free press – the sort of news media envisioned by our Founders when they drafted the First Amendment to protect the institution from becoming captured by partisan interests or a vehicle of the state.

Arguably, the corruption of today’s news media began – or at least became evident – in the 1960s when liberal journalism professors advocated what was then called “advocacy journalism” in which the opinions and judgments of the reporter, editor or management would be reflected in the headline stories.  The epicenter of news journalism began to shift to editorialization – which is akin to propagandization.

Under the new paradigm, the reporter, news editor or producer – whether at that anchor desk, on the beat or in the back room – began to INTERPRET the facts.  There was a consolidation of thinking, with staffs of predominantly one partisan or philosophic viewpoint amassing in individual news departments.  This tendency of collectivization expanded into cabals of media enterprises with narrow viewpoints and political agendas.

As media bias caused the newsrooms to serve predominately as prosecutors in the court-of-public-opinion, it is only natural that they would collect, dismiss or interpret facts, statements and events to build a case in support of their bias.  When taking on an advocacy role, one of the important functions is to present or refute the arguments of the opposition.  In the modern media, they call it fact-checking.

While this so-called fact-checking function is claimed to be designed to properly inform the public, it has been weaponized by the most biased of the media to persuade the public to a given viewpoint.  The New York Times has an entire department to perform fact-checking.  CNN presents highly biased analyses by the smug and smarmy John Avlon in a segment they call “Reality Check.”  MSNBC uses the fact-checking operation within the parent company, NBC.

Throughout the elitist liberal east coast media cabal – which dominates the industry — the fact-checking function has been weaponized against President Trump, members of his administration, Republican leaders and anyone who is politically conservative.

Anyone who has had any experience in court, or watches re-runs of Perry Mason, knows that the opening statements of the prosecution sound very convincing – but they lose their credibility as the defense offers up its version or interpretation of the same events and provides testimony and evidence omitted by the prosecution.  This is exactly what is happening with our major media.

Among the major left-wing media, there is no opportunity for the other side – the defense, if you will — to be heard.  Exculpating evidence – no matter how compelling – is suppressed by the prosecution.  Witnesses who would mount a defense are never brought forward to appear on those panels of parroting pundits.  Virtually all of these “witnesses” are there to reinforce the prosecutorial narratives of the networks.

The so-called fact-checking features we see as part of news programming are nothing more than a brief for the prosecution.  Selective facts are used to spin a narrative with a purpose – and that purpose is to “indict” and “convict” the target of some level of misconduct – or even criminality.

Media fact-checking is not to fairly inform the public, but to purposely, intentionally and with malice of forethought to MISINFORM the public.  Virtually every example of media fact-checking we see today could be headed “The Case Against Trump” and all those others the media deems to be adversarial to the prevailing narrow left-wing perspective.

Fact-checking has been weaponized by the left in a number of ways.  First and foremost is the fact that they do not apply the same level of dedication and determination to all the various political actors.  The media myopically focuses on discrediting Trump, Republicans and conservatives.

As the news’ prosecutors, the modern media has also become the censor of news.  They decide not only what is to be put in print or on the air, but they also decide what NOT to present in their coverage.  They then take the rudimentary facts and interpret them in the most negative manner possible.  Essentially today’s news is one-sided reports with a prevailing leftward spin.

Though there are some elementary fact-checking on the media by media critics – although guys like CNN’s Brian Stelter spin their media critiques in harmony with the station’s biased narratives.  No one is watching the watcher watching the news.  There are organizations, like the Media Research Center (MRC), that push back against the gross media bias, but they do not have the same powerful platforms that are enjoyed and abused by the major left-wing media – and of course, MRC representatives are never interviewed to provide that all-important “other perspective.”

In their pursuit of creating a narrative, the fact-checkers exhibit a high degree of fact-phobia.  They ignore clarifications.  No matter how many times Trump says his “wall” can be modern barricades of different types, the biased press describes it as some sort of Medieval rampart – quoting where he called for a wall while totally ignoring the many times, he has said it could be different things in different places.  In this case, the fact-checkers are presenting a total falsity as fact-based — the classic strawman argument.

Like any aggressive prosecutor, the #NeverTrump media attempts to destroy the credibility of any person who dares to speak out against their prosecutorial narrative.  Rudy Giuliani, who was once among the most respected men in America, has been unrelentingly savaged by the media’s prosecutorial misconduct.

There can be no denying that the left-wing media cabal has only one mission – and it is not to inform the public or tell the truth.  It is obsessed with promulgating public ill-will toward Trump – and also against Republicans and conservative principles.  They have surrendered to the radical progressive movement – serving as their propaganda vehicles.  And that’s the truth.

So, there ‘tis

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. 2004done

    And yet this story, as dire as it is, seems mild, compared to actual, or lack of, reportage.

  2. Diana Collins

    Thank you for putting it in a “nut-shell”. Why is the Right the only group that sees this. I guess when you make everyone involved play by YOUR rules, the imbalance is not apparent. Sarcastically lol. These people refuse to see facts, facts that are indisputable. You have hit it squarely when you accuse educators le being prapagandist. I have taught AP Chemistry and Physics as well as all.other sciences in high school. I have seen liberal bias destroy our English language effectiveness and History’s truths. Spin in education is the “devil in the details”. All must wake up to this as it is deadly for our country.

  3. steverino

    Very true analysis…sadly media is poisoned against any conservative ideas. Sadly the media is completely complicit “un-educating” our young people …spewing distorted and unbalanced information at every turn. It is almost comical to hear the same descriptive terms on each “independent” station…if it was not such a problem i would have to laugh. But it is no joke…the brainwashing of the young.

    • Peter

      And unfortunately this political bias has metastasized to our “education” establishment.

  4. Mathew Mok

    Kind of like walter kramkite saying we lost the 68 Tet offenmsive? _ Here are the facts from someone that was there. The Viet Cong were decimated and were never again a factor and we had the NVA on the run and could have had them totally on the ropes in a matter of months. . Thanks to walter’s lies American GIs were getting killed for nothing 6 years later. , Truth in the media has been going down hill ever since.

  5. Jason D Ouellette

    You are so wrong on so many levels. Trump is corrupt. Fact. You don’t have to know much to know that is true. You conservative jack ass. That wall will do nothing. They will find a new way in. Like on boats or planes. Ever think of that one moran. And to give these corporations huge tax cuts is just obsurd! You know if all corporations would just pay there fair share of taxes, it would reduce the national debt. Something which Trump cares nothing about.

    • Terry Haina

      Actually in order for you to be right you do need to know the facts. That was the most ignorant statement I have heard in the longest time. Also business economics 100. In order to stimulate the economy it is necessary to stimulate business. This is done by giving them economic incentives to reinvest in their businesses that are hiring more employees. These new employees then pay more taxes which increases Tax revenue. Do you see how it’s all interconnected yet?

  6. Thisguyisworsethannixon

    You have a president who lies at every single chance he gets, but you decide to go after the fact checkers. Jesus christ you cons are desperate. I’ll tell you what will fix this country once and for all, when the boomer (the worst generation) population is gone. Then we can finally have the peace we deserve.

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