Facebook Fact-Checker Relied on China, Fails to Update COVID Numbers

December 8th, 2020 10:06 AM

Fact-checkers who rely on communist Chinese information should throw their credentials out the window. Even CNN proves that point.

Facebook fact-checker PolitiFact produced eight fact-checks that either used or relied on World Health Organization (WHO) numbers that have proven to be untrue. A new report from CNN shows that communist China was lying about how many of its citizens had contracted COVID-19 and how many deaths resulted from it.

Leaked documents show that communist China lied when it initially claimed there were 2,478 newly confirmed cases on Feb. 10, according to CNN. CNN’s report showed that on Feb. 10 there were “more than double the official public number of confirmed cases” in China. A WHO report from Jan. 26, cited by PolitiFact, said 2,014 confirmed COVID-19 cases had been reported globally with 1,985 of those cases coming from China. But if WHO (and consequently PolitiFact) relied on the initially reported numbers out of China, that statistic was likely inaccurate.

The fact-checker disputed the claim, "CORONAVIRUS: Reports of 10,000 DEAD in Wuhan, China," on Jan. 24, 2020, which was given a “Pants On Fire” rating – PolitiFact’s worst rating. “Some conspiratorial websites claimed the 2019 coronavirus had killed 10,000 people in Wuhan,” PolitiFact reported. The outlet called the claims “bunk” in a fact-check purporting to be a guide about coronavirus misinformation. And while it may be that 10,000 did not die in Wuhan by Jan. 24, 2020, it is clear that China was not forthcoming with accurate COVID-19 data.

PolitiFact also attempted to debunk President Donald Trump’s May 29 statement that "China’s cover-up of the Wuhan virus allowed the disease to spread all over the world." However, CNN’s report undercuts this fact-check as well.

CNN’s reporting made clear that China’s underreporting of cases and deaths painted a deliberately false picture of the pandemic in its early stages. The leaked documents showed China’s Hubei province, the coronavirus epicenter, was “reliant on flawed testing and reporting mechanisms” during a time when cases of the flu were “20 times” worse than the previous year.

Separately, PolitiFact also gave the claim that “COVID-19 came to the United States in 2019” a “False” rating. The CDC reported in a press release on Jan. 21 that the first travel-related case of COVID-19 in the United States had been detected, which was the result of an individual traveling back from Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province.

However, an analysis from Business Insider showed that between Nov. 17, 2019, and Feb. 1, 2020, America’s patient-zero “was just one of nearly 1 million passengers who flew from mainland China to the US between November 17, 2019 — China’s earliest estimate for the new coronavirus’ emergence — and February 1, 2020.” And as its headline suggested, “The coronavirus was likely in the US before anyone knew it existed. It’s now hard to believe we ever assumed otherwise.” Indeed, “The coronavirus may have reached the US by late December, mounting evidence suggests,” reported Business Insider.

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. PolitiFact’s “Truth-O-Meter” ratings from the 12 days around each party’s convention show claims made by Democrats that were fact-checked by PolitiFact received eight true ratings for every one false rating. During that same period, claims made by Republicans received only one true rating for every seven false ratings given to them by PolitiFact.

Facebook’s program has 10 U.S.-based fact-checkers. With the exception of Check Your Fact, eight of these organizations defend the left. One other is a NeverTrump publication.

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