From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Outsourced Fact Checking

September 16, 2004 11:55 AM

Louise Witt put together a profile of for Wired News. Outsourced fact checking. News organizations don't have time to do this anymore, so the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center set up a non-profit to do it for them. While is relatively new, Spinsanity has done something similar for several years.

That stuff's all non-partisan, so where do the pundits go? The right's had their own non-profits putting out research for years, and the left just got going the last year or so with the Center for American Progress and Media Matters divvying up the duties of Democratic talking points and right-wing media monitoring. Depending on what side of the aisle a pundit has been hired for, they can scoop up the latest talking points from their respective outfits and hop onto the set armed for battle.

And then there's Bill O'Reilly, who is stubbornly refusing to get on the bandwagon. Last month, he went on a tirade lambasting Paul Krugman for using research from Media Matters, going so far as to reference the Ku Klux Klan. And last night he spent a good portion of his sexual tension-laden talk with right-wing hottie du jour Laura Ingraham explaining how he is committed to doing all his own research: "We did our own investigation. We didn't take it from the bloggers or the talk radio people. ... I'm going to do my own investigation and my own analysis on everything." Which actually means his bright young staff of twenty-somethings will do it.

Bill, I know you're a traditionalist, but I think you should learn to outsource. I know you're resisting because you want to be independent, but all that means is you need to affiliate yourself with sites like and Spinsanity. You can rest assured knowing the Ingrahams and Krugmans of the world are coming to battle with partisan "facts", while you have the armor of truth.

This is a competitive world, and fighting the culture wars requires the latest business savvy. Don't be left behind.

More from the archive in Media, Propaganda.

Outsourced Fact Checking (09.16.2004)

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Previous Entry: Dick Cheney on invading Iraq: "would have been a mistake" (09.16.2004)

Read the 7 comments.


Dan Rather didnt do his own fact checking. Worked out real well for him. Moron.

Thu Sep 16 2004 1:15 PM

Jim Gilliam:

Actually he did do his own research -- and it looks like he was WRONG. It was only when bloggers got on it (outsourcing) that he was forced to reconsider.

Thu Sep 16 2004 6:38 PM


Its one of those things that just doesn't compute. Its Opensource, its peer review, its the idea of having your work dissiminated for error by the masses. Its a digital goldmine and so many are quick to snub their nose at the idea.


Fri Sep 17 2004 7:37 AM

Right Wing Robby:


Here are the ratings for cable news.

CNN LARRY KING 1,400,000
CNN COOPER 359,000

I think The factors formula is working just fine. Unlike your boy Rather, people believe what he says.

Rather of course, a known Kerry Supporter, cant seem to beat re-runs of the Simpons and episodes of Will and Grace. Its about trust. Its about fair. The truth is, the entire liberal media has been out-foxed.

Fair and Balanced? They report, your decided. The people have decided. Ratings dont lie.

Fri Sep 17 2004 7:46 AM

Tom from Madison:

It is ridiculous to assert that high ratings prove anything with regard to content being true. There have been studies showing that the LEAST informed viewers with regard to the presence of WMDs were those who relied on Fox News.

O'Reilly owes a huge amount of $ and gratitude to Roger Ailes. He dedicated "Who's looking out for you?" to him. Of course this ultimately gets back to Rupert Murdoch--not even an American.

Or perhaps you prefer the Washington Times and their ties to Reverend Moon?

Fri Sep 17 2004 11:31 AM

Dan H:

Best responce was written a couple months ago.

The most famous PIPA poll claims to demonstrate that "the Fox News audience showed the highest average rate of misperceptions" about the war with Iraq -- by which they mean "misperceptions of pointless liberal factoids about the war with Iraq." You say the average American can't regurgitate liberal talking points on command? Well, I'll be darned! And the public schools are trying so hard!

The poll asked questions like this: "Is it your impression that the U.S. has or has not found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with the al-Qaida terrorist organization?" Sixty-seven percent of Fox News Channel viewers said the United States had found evidence of a link. Liberals view this as a "misperception."

Admittedly the evidence may not be as "clear" as the evidence proving a link between Osama bin Laden and Halliburton, but among other evidence connecting Iraq to al-Qaida, consider just these three items.

Last year papers were found in Iraqi intelligence headquarters documenting Saddam's feverish efforts to establish a working relationship with al-Qaida. In response to Iraq's generous invitation to pay all travel and hotel expenses, a top aide to Osama bin Laden visited Iraq in 1998, bearing a message from bin Laden. The meeting went so well that bin Laden's aide stayed for a week. Iraq intelligence officers sent a message back to bin Laden, the documents note, concerning "the future of our relationship."

In addition, according to Czech intelligence, a few months before the 9-11 attacks, Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi intelligence agents in Prague.

Finally, a Clinton-appointed federal judge, U.S. District Court judge Harold Baer, has made a legal finding that Iraq was behind the 9-11 attacks -- a ruling upheld by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals last October. When some judge discovers a right to gay marriage in a 200-year-old document written by John Adams, Americans are forced to treat the decision like the God-given truth. But when a federal judge issues a decision concluding that Iraq was behind the 9-11 attacks, it is a "misperception" being foisted on the nation by Fox New Channel.

Interestingly, liberals refuse to believe Czech intelligence on the Prague meeting ... because the CIA doesn't believe it. Apparently, this is the lone, singular assertion by the CIA that liberals wholeheartedly trust. The CIA also concluded that evidence of WMDs in Iraq was -- in the words of CIA director George Tenet -- a "slam dunk case." But liberals hysterically denounce that CIA conclusion as a "misperception" created by Fox News Channel.

Thus another question in the PIPA poll was this: "Since the war with Iraq ended, is it your impression that the U.S. has or has not found Iraqi weapons of mass destruction?" Thirty-three percent of Fox News viewers said they believed the U.S. had found WMDs, compared to only 11 percent of those smart NPR listeners. (How about asking NPR listeners which kills more children -- handguns or buckets?)

By "weapons of mass destruction," what liberals mean is: missiles pointed at Washington, D.C., with their "Ready to Fire" lights blinking ominously and their warhead payloads clearly marked "Weapons of Mass Destruction! Next Stop, The Great Satan America!" -- basically what you might see on an episode of the original Batman TV series. When we didn't find that, the "Bush lied, kids died!" screaming began.

David Kay's report said we hadn't found "stockpiles" of WMDs in Iraq, but we have found:

-- chemical and biological weapons systems, plans, "recipes" and equipment, all of which could have resumed production on a moment's notice with Saddam's approval;

-- reference strains of a wide variety of biological-weapons agents (found in the home of a prominent Iraqi biological warfare scientist);

-- new research on brucella and Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever, and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin;

-- a prison laboratory complex for testing biological weapons on humans;

-- long-range missiles (prohibited by United Nations resolutions) suitable for delivering WMDs;

-- documents showing Saddam tried to obtain long-range ballistic missiles from North Korea;

-- facilities for manufacturing fuel propellant useful only for prohibited Scud-variant missiles.

Sorry to bore Fox News viewers with these facts. I'm doing it as a favor to readers of the Los Angeles Times.

Fri Sep 17 2004 11:58 AM


As Stalin said "It doesn't matter who votes, its who counts the votes". In this case it doesn't matter what the questions are, its all in who tallies the questions.

Fri Sep 17 2004 11:59 AM

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