Left-wing news outlet ThinkProgress expressed outrage that Facebook fact-checked their article, even though the outlet had previously called for fact-checking against the right.
Here’s what happened
In a critical article published Tuesday, Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress accused Facebook of bias against the left over a fact-checking finding against their article on Brett Kavanaugh, the nominee to the Supreme Court.
The article claimed that Kavanaugh had already stated that he was willing to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the landmark abortion decision.
The Weekly Standard fact-check denied the claim that Kavanaugh had ever stated that he would overturn the decision, even if that position could be argued from statements he has made.
“While ThinkProgress engages in an argument to suggest how Kavanaugh might vote in a Roe v. Wade redo,” they argued, “the article does not provide evidence that ‘Kavanaugh said he would kill Roe v. Wade.'”
Millhiser denounced the fact-check as a quibble over semantics in his counter-argument.
The Weekly Standard brought its third-party “fact-checking” power to bear against ThinkProgress on Monday, when the outlet determined a ThinkProgress story about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was “false,” a category defined by Facebook to indicate “the primary claim(s) in this content are factually inaccurate.”
He also noted that a fact-check of “false” meant that the views of an article so labeled would plummet precipitously on the social media site, and starve the website of ad revenue.
“Facebook’s entire relationship with The Weekly Standard appears driven by reckless disregard for the truth,” Millhiser complained.
Fact-check for thee, and not for me
But in a previous article at ThinkProgress, the outlet criticized Facebook for not fact-checking enough — against the right.
In a post that equates climate change denial with holocaust denial, editor Joe Romm complained that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “by explicitly partnering with climate deniers, he has guaranteed that Facebook will remain a major part of the fake news problem.”
“So much for policing Facebook against the anti-science disinformation campaign on climate change,” Romm said.
‘This is cute’
The ironic incongruence was noted by Daily Mail political editor David Martosko.
“This is cute,” he tweeted. “An advocacy group that tries to be a news outlet is complaining that Facebook is taking advice from a magazine.”
Others registered outrage against the action.
“Facebook appears to be beyond saving,” responded economist Paul Krugman.
“Facebook is so desperate to avoid being accused of liberal bias that it’s outsourcing its fact-checking efforts to the Weekly Standard — a conservative outlet that has published a lot of factually questionable things!” tweeted Huffington Post reporter Jessica Schulberg.
“So Facebook has given the Weekly Standard the power to drive liberal news outlets into the ground and the Weekly Standard is now wielding it,” responded Ryan Grim of The Intercept.