Partisan organizations in the United States are backing the Poynter Institute’s programs to retrain journalists in how to research and write. With the backing of the Democracy Fund, Big Tech companies like Google, Meta, and Microsoft, the Poynter Institute has gained support mainly from left-of-center organizations. Meaning one of the leading organizations for educating journalists on fighting misinformation is being backed by only one side of the political aisle.
Poynter Institute, a nonprofit journalism institute, owns and operates PolitiFact, a fact-checking website for politics and public policy. PolitiFact has been accused of rating the factual accuracy of opinions and jokes. This caused them to lose support from experts, like health policy expert Michael Cannon, for failing to offer reputable evidence with their decisions to call something true or false.
Poynter also developed MediaWise, a digital literacy project that Poynter claims, “Empowers people of all ages to become more critical consumers of content online.” MediaWise works in tandem with PolitiFact, and Poynter uses both programs to help train journalists around the United States in how to “fight misinformation.”
Big Tech Involvement and Journalist Retraining
This digital media project is sponsored by Google, Meta, Microsoft, TikTok, WhatsApp, and the Democracy Fund. Google sponsored the program to allow PolitiFact to launch independent media literacy and fact-checking initiatives. Meta, whose founder and CEO is Mark Zuckerberg, donated to “help MediaWise and PolitiFact in the fight against mis- and disinformation to help people sort fact from fiction online.” WhatsApp, owned by Meta, also offered financial support to help fight misinformation spreading on WhatsApp. TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, offered funding to help “PolitiFact continue to fact-check elected officials and hold government officials accountable.”
Poynter Institute was hired by companies such as National Public Radio (NPR), NBC News, and The Washington Post to “improve their journalism, leadership, ethic, policies and culture and be better positioned to make an impact in today’s complex media landscape.” Poynter Senior Vice President Kelly McBride is under contract with NPR to be their public editor. NBC News hired Poynter to train their journalists in the newsrooms, and the Washington Post hired Poynter to conduct workshops with the Washington Post’s senior-level leaders.
Connection to Arabella Advisors
Democracy Fund offered PolitiFact “unrestricted support to sort out the truth in American Politics.” Democracy Fund is a voter registration and mobilization group created by the Democracy Alliance, a project of the New Venture Fund.
According to the New Venture Fund’s 990 Tax Form for 2019, New Venture Fund paid Arabella Advisors, the Left’s massive “dark money” network, over $23 million for providing administration, operations, and management support.