Home USA News Who checks the fact-checkers after the outrageous accusations?

Who checks the fact-checkers after the outrageous accusations?


When senior Republicans warned last year that Border Patrol agents were catching terror suspects jumping the southern border, fact-checkers quickly objected.

No evidence, sniffed CNN”The first facts.” Not enough data, scolds Political fact. A lie, said Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Democrat who cited his position as chairman of the Intelligence Subcommittee as a credential undermining the demands of the Republican Party.

A year later, the facts are on the Republican side, but the fact-checkers still aren’t.

Customs and Border Protection reported that during the 12 months of fiscal year 2022, Border Patrol agents detained 98 people whose names were listed in terrorist screening dataset, commonly referred to as the Terrorism Watch List. Twenty were caught in September alone, breaking the previous high shown in CBP records.

This was in addition to 15 more detained at the southern border in 2021.

By contrast, only 11 people were caught at the southern border between 2017 and 2020, which roughly coincided with the Trump years.

Rep. John Katkothe top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, and Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, raised the issue of terror suspects during a visit to Texas in February 2021, just as the border descended into chaos under the new The Biden administration.

They said agents informed them of the arrests.

Fact checkers broke in.

“There is no evidence that people on the terror watch list have suddenly appeared on the southern border. The information that is available is vague and leaves many questions unanswered,” CNN notes. “However, it is completely wrong to believe that the small number of persons on the terror watch list coming to the southern border is a new phenomenon. Additionally, it should be noted that being on the FBI’s terror watch list does not mean that someone is a terrorist or has proven ties to terrorists.”

PolitiFact said there wasn’t enough data to support the Republicans’ claims.

Left-wing media outlet Vox called the claims “rumors and innuendo” and said Republican lawmakers were “reviving one of Trump’s most famous lies.”

Mr. Gallego, who represents the Phoenix area, took to Twitter to blast the Republican claims: “Surprising that the chairman of the Intelligence and Special Operations Subcommittee and a member of Congress from a border state have heard nothing about this. … I’m sure he’s either wrong or lying.”

He then told CNN he had been briefed on the issue and said he had heard nothing to support claims that some terror suspects had been caught.

“Again, that doesn’t match what I’m hearing. And as the head of the intelligence and special operations department, I just didn’t see it,” he told the network.

The Washington Post fact-checker was more circumspect, refusing to issue a ruling on “Pinocchio” because it said there was not enough data.

Fact checks remain online – and none have been updated to reflect the new numbers.

“At the time, the fact-checkers and the mainstream media didn’t miss a beat telling him he was wrong, and there was no evidence to support that claim, despite hearing it directly from CBP officers,” Leslie said. Byers, spokesman for the committee. Republicans, The Washington Times reported. “Fast forward over a year and our initial concerns have not only been justified, but turned into one of the most troubling aspects The Biden administrationborder crisis”.

The Times has made numerous requests to Mr. Gallego’s office over several months for comment on CBP data that disputes his findings. He didn’t answer.

CNN’s fact-checkers also did not respond.

After multiple inquiries, the author of the PolitiFact article said she referred The Times’ questions to its editor-in-chief, who did not respond.

Fact-checkers consider themselves independent judges of the truth. Many are even part of the International Fact-Checking Network, which sets standards for how they should operate. The standards cover basic journalistic principles of fairness, transparency and corrections, but there appears to be no policy governing how to update articles where the facts have rendered the findings obsolete.

Some fact checkers will update or remove outdated reviews.

PolitiFact, which is also a Poynter project, did this while fact-checking, rejecting claims that the coronavirus escaped from a lab in China. The organization said new information now shows that the claims it initially dismissed as false are in fact plausible.

The organization did not say why the same standard does not apply to border terrorism.

PolitiFact waded into another immigration controversy this year, bashing the group Citizens for Sanity for an ad claiming that all Senate Democrats voted against hiring more Border Patrol agents, against deporting criminals and against ending catch-and-release.

PolitiFact acknowledged that Democrats did vote against the policy during the budget debate, but still praised the ad.”Mostly false.”

The organization argued that the 2022 spending bill, which was supported by all Democrats in the Senate, included money for additional recruitment. PolitiFact also took note of a bill by two Democrats to increase the number of agents. That legislation failed in the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats.

PolitiFact rejected Citizens for Sanity’s criminal claims, siding with Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Illinois, who said the same 2022 spending bill would fund U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — even though the incarceration rate was lower than during the Trump years.

Ian Prior, a strategy adviser for Citizens for Sanity, said PolitiFact began looking for reasons to superimpose its narrative on the facts.

“It’s an interesting term, fact-checker, because you end up giving them the facts, and those facts debunk their attempts at fraud, but they still spin,” he told The Times.

The author of the PolitiFact analysis did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr Prior said fact-checkers have a perverse incentive to make claims.

“If they just said ‘True,’ they would be out of business,” he said. “Ratings themselves create a self-serving narrative, and that’s why they exist.”

Citizens for Sanity provided PolitiFact with evidence for its claims. The group said it didn’t change anything.

Mr Prior questioned the heavy-handed approach often taken by fact-checkers.

“If they were really interested in the facts, first of all, I don’t believe they would have a ranking system. They will act like any other reporter, and they will report over time as more facts emerge,” he said.

Despite the methodological problems, fact-checkers have played a major role in the political debate.

Social media companies have begun using fact-checking tools to evaluate claims posted on their platforms. Facebook says it has partnered with IFCN members to verify facts. Instagram also says it uses IFCN-certified clothing to fact-check.

While Citizens for Sanity’s ad relied on the public vote, House Republicans’ claims of last year’s terrorism spree were based on private revelations by agents.

At the time, Homeland Security did not publicly release terrorism figures, saying the information was too sensitive.

Mr. Katko required the department to make the data public, and CBP began doing so this spring.

“The reality is this The Biden administration did not want these numbers released because she resisted for more than a year before yielding to strict oversight by House Republicans to release these data to the American people,” Ms. Byers said.

Border experts say that the 98 detainees indicate much worse.

Former Border Patrol chief Rodney Scott told The Times this summer that those were just the ones the agents got their hands on, and they probably didn’t know they were on the list. Those who knew and still wanted to come, most likely managed to slip through the cracks.

Indeed, around the time CBP began to reveal the numbers of border terrorism, federal prosecutors filed charges against a man they say was an Islamic State associate who planned to sneak across the U.S.-Mexico border to kill former President George W. Bush. Bush.

The man told informants that he had already helped two Hezbollah operatives enter the United States and charged them $50,000 each.

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