Poynter’s Creepy ‘Fact-Based Expression’


Fact-based expression.

That is what the once vaunted now openly vile Poynter Institute – a pivot point of the international censorship-industrial complex – wishes to “strengthen…around the globe.”

Pointedly, not “free speech,” but “fact-based expression.” 

They’re not the same thing.

This absurd term, floated through the invite to read the institute’s annual and recently released “Impact Report,” may at first blush seem to be yet another silly woke wiggle, like “birthing person (mother) or “involved in the criminal justice system” (a felon) or “experiencing homelessness” (vagrant).

Like many Orwellian neologisms, it might, if you hear it only once or twice, seem to make a tiny bit of sense because “fact-based expression” implies telling the truth.

But like so many other progressive rewordings, it is purely an attempt to sound reasonable so as to mask a deeply ominous intent.

That intent? To control speech and public discourse by being the lone decider as to what is factual and what is not and those decisions are being – and will be – made based on the sociopolitical outlook of the progressive woke elite, the socialite socialist statist global drivers that fund Poynter.

But the Poynter Institute – once the premier media/journalism teaching and thinking, for lack of a better term, organizations – made a significant error in rolling out the term: it appears right after “free press,” inviting the clear comparison.

“…meaningful achievements we have made to help strengthen a free press and fact-based expression around the globe,” is how the email introduction to the report read.

So why not simply say “free speech?”

Because that’s not what they want at all (they don’t really believe in a free press either, noting the importance of the press being “responsible,” i.e..housebroken.)

To the contrary, “fact-based expression” demands both self and external censorship, a political, social, and cultural censorship that will drown out and drone on.

That is the business Poynter is in now – fact-checking. So Poynter will be telling the world what constitutes “fact-based expression” and what is not, what is verboten.

How convenient for Poynter, how wonderful for the globalists, how terrible for everyone else.

And Poynter has the connections to make it stick – take December, 2020 and Covid for example.

The American Medical Association “partnered” with Poynter to spread the gospel of vaccines, of pandemic panic, and the evils of “misinformation.”

Poynter even offered an online course that local (and national) news people from around the country could take that would leverage the trust they have built in the community to convince people to take the “vaccine:”

We know from previous vaccination efforts that local news is critically important: Audiences trust local news the most, and local journalists will be critical in guiding the public to vaccine administration sites and explaining eligibility.

The first rounds of vaccines will be based on new mRNA technology that, while being a scientific breakthrough, may raise questions in the public’s mind about safety and efficacy. We will explain the technology in ways you can pass along to the public.

The course made sure the locals reported how safe the vaccine was, how important it was, and what “misinformation” about the vaccine needed to be shot down.

Oddly enough, it also worked to help journalists “explain to audiences the importance of the second dosage of the vaccines.” On December 4, 2020 – curiously early for that specific topic – the “vaccine” had been out for only a couple of weeks.

As for all of 2020, you can see Poynter’s round-up here. Note it features the term “covidiot.”  

(And you can watch a rerun of the webinar here.)

How convenient for Poynter, how wonderful for the globalists, how terrible for everyone else.

Just nine years ago, Poynter had a budget of $3.8 million and, unless you worked in the media, you had no idea it even existed. Today, thanks to massive support from the likes of Google, Meta (Facebook), and others, Poynter is a $15 million a year nexus point for those who wish to control the press and, more importantly, what everyone else says.

Poynter runs PolitiFact, a media outlet that pretends to be in the business of checking facts. 

But it does no such thing. It is a global elite swamp third-party validation machine that twists and turns and backflips to put its “FACT” stamp of approval on just about anything that needs to be buttressed.

Or, more importantly, it stamps “FALSE” on a statement or story or concept that is at odds with the current popular narrative that keeps that same global elite in power (a litany of Poynter’s obfuscation and the tricks it uses can be found here).

It runs MediaWise, an outfit that claims to train (largely) younger people how to spot “misinformation,” something that does not actually exist but is a pillar of the censor’s claim to their right to exist. And through its “Teen Fact Checking Network,” Poynter is training a new generation of censors.

If Poynter were honestly trying to stop misinformation, it would not practice the art so well. 

And Poynter is the home of the International Fact Checking Network, a group of global media and other fact-checking organizations that is dedicated to “fighting repression and misinformation.”

To quote the IFCN chief: “Misinformation is on the march. The politically powerful are using disinformation to confuse the public and control the agenda. And fact-checkers and other journalists face attack and harassment simply for doing their jobs,” said Angie Drobnic Holan, IFCN director. “Yet our work continues. We are on the side of truth. We are on the side of information integrity.”

And the IFCN determines what is the truth, what information has the requisite “integrity” to pass muster?

In other words, doing to the world what it has done to the United States: work with social media and government agencies to stamp out dissent.

April 2 was “International Fact Checking Day.” To honor the occasion, Drobnic Holan took to her blog to claim that fact-checkers are not censors and, it appears, that the Murthy v. Missouri case currently in front of the United States Supreme Court is not really about the basic and immutable American tenet of freedom of speech but about letting misinformers keep muddying the waters of official truth:

The Supreme Court case is primarily about the government’s actions in dealing with tech platforms: Did the Biden administration go too far in asking for takedowns of vaccine-related misinformation? For years, similar attacks have been aimed at fact-checkers. As director of the International Fact-Checking Network, I’ve watched this movement label fact-checkers as part of a “censorship industrial complex,” claiming that fact-checkers are trying to suppress debatable information.

Ironically, this deeply misleading argument itself is aimed at suppressing critique and debate.

Google and Meta (Facebook) and TikTok are, as noted, Poynter funders and use its products to help decide what is or is not allowed on their platforms. That actual fact does not bode well for the neutrality of Poynter’s fact-checking efforts.

Specifically as to TikTok, Poynter proudly claims that “(T)hrough innovative fact-checking partnerships with Meta and TikTok, PolitiFact is slowing the spread of thousands of pieces of false or harmful online content each month — reducing future views of false information by 80% on average.”

And Poynter decides what is “harmful” and “false.”

And just a few days ago, clearly in response to the bill to force the sale of TikTok going through Congress, Poynter decided to “fact check” who really owns TikTok. Poynter decided that the statement that the “Chinese government owns TikTok” is – surprise surprise – false.

Because of its vaunted past, Poynter is the respectable (actually becoming less respectable with each passing million) face of the international movement to determine what the public can talk about.

And it seems being in the “fact” industry is good for business – budget tripled, staff doubled, got far more notoriety, and getting a bit of actual global power, all in the past decade.

Google, Meta, the Omidyar network (lefty media funders), The Just Trust (a spinoff of the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative that focuses on “criminal justice), TikTok, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Stanford Impact Labs, which “invests in teams of researchers working with leaders in government, business, and communities to design, test, and scale interventions that can help us make progress on some of the world’s most pressing and persistent social challenges” are some of the major funders of Poynter.

All of the above are powerful progressive/woke companies and foundations and are intertwined with the global movement to muzzle the freedom of the average person, to create a rental world in which people will simply be interchangeable cogs to be watched, fed, and placated.

Another funder of Poynter is the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), one of the most caustic – and powerful – members of the international “civil society” behemoth that lay somewhere between government and private industry and is now more powerful than either.

Note: NED was specifically founded in the 1980s to do in public what the CIA could no longer do in secret: play international politics, foment revolutions, buy supporters, and influence foreign media.

Another Poynter partner is the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD), a stepchild of the still-extant German Marshall Fund.

Reminder – the Marshall Plan was set up after World War II to help rebuild Germany and Europe; the Fund was created by the West German government and is now one of most slithery internationalist think tanks on the planet.

Last November, Poynter hosted a very very poorly attended “United Facts of America” online symposium, which included the participation of the Fund and the ASD. The ASD was the group behind the “Hamilton 68” Russian disinformation dashboard, a tool used countless times by the mainstream media to show how much Russia had warped the American electoral process.

The world can expect to see “fact-based expression” more often in the very near future, can expect to hear “Are you in favor of lying?” arguments if you say you are worried about the new rubric, and can expect to see ‘fact-based expression” in law books soon as an appropriate mitigation of free and unfettered speech.

The concept is already making headway – see the Online Harms Bill proposed in Canada, which “authorizes house arrest and electronic tagging for a person considered likely to commit a future (hate) crime.”

Poynter is a far far distance away from its original mission, but in theory still understands the actual news business. We asked them what exactly is “fact-based expression:”

“What is ‘fact-based expression’ exactly?  What does that term mean? It has to be different from ‘free speech’ because (the report intro) would have read ‘free speech’ just as it did ‘free press.’”

The response from the transparent media training foundation?

“We have seen your message and I have shared it with the team. We did see your deadline note in the subject line and in the body text. We’ll try to respond as soon as we can, keeping your deadline in mind.”

No further response – I guess “the team” didn’t want to answer the question or they didn’t have a “fact-based expression” to reply with.

  • Thomas Buckley is the former mayor of Lake Elsinore, Cal. and a former newspaper reporter. He is currently the operator of a small communications and planning consultancy.

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