On the 70th anniversary of Orwell’s death: The danger of third parties “curating” and “fact checking” our info

It is a dangerous practice: Government, corporations, universities, news outlets and “experts” curating our information so that we cannot access, see or believe that which they determine we should not access, see or believe.

If anyone had suggested to Orwell, or the American founders, that we would invite this sort of manipulation and control of our information, they wouldn’t have believed it.

The idea was first introduced on the national stage by President Obama in October of 2016 right before the presidential election. He insisted that somebody needed to step in and “curate” our information in the “Wild, Wild West” internet environment.

Nobody had been clamoring for any such thing. 

So the challenge for those who came up with this bright idea– in my opinion in an effort to control news and information– was to convince the public to accept something very un-American: their information being shaped and censored by others.

Watch Attkisson’s Tedx talk: Astroturf and Manipulation of Media Messages

This feat was accomplished in concert with the anti-fake news effort, started in September 2016 through a nonprofit called First Draft. (First Draft was funded by Google, owned by Alphabet, run by Eric Schmidt, a major Hillary Clinton funder and supporter.) The anti-fake news effort was also an effort by special interests to step in and control news and internet information. 

In a relatively short period of time, they had us. Curate our information, we cried. Block “untrue” news reports and blogs! Fact check political ads and certain politicians! Remove selected social media accounts! We invited special interests and political players to control our information under the guise of knowing what’s best for us.

No longer can we bear or do we deserve to hear various views and interpretations of facts. The curators decide which views are right and true They universally declare the others to be debunked or discredited. 

Never mind that the appointed curators are advancing their own views or special interests. No matter that the corporations employing the fact checks are looking out for their owners or corporate interests; or currying favor with government regulators— sometimes even doing the government’s bidding. 

From a pure factual standpoint, government, news outlets, social media and other corporations are hardly parties that should be trusted to oversee “curation” efforts. History is littered with examples of them being wrong, conflicted or providing false information. 

One of the best most recent examples is the now disproven accusation that Donald Trump was working with Russia President Vladimir Putin. The wild conspiracy claims dominated the news for more than two years. The curators told us there was hard evidence. It would all be revealed soon! These views and reports were distributed, unfettered. What was censored and criticized as “debunked” by the curators? Social media, news reports and commentary that correctly questioned the conspiracies and pointed to malfeasance by the intelligence community. In the end, of course, the curators were wrong; the “debunked” skeptics were correct.

A more recent example is the effort by curators to label, as debunked, reporting by Politico and others on Ukraine interference in the 2016 U.S. election. It turns out there are far more supportable facts and admissions in the public record on Ukrainian interference than on Russia interference.

What’s more, those who have correctly pointed to Ukraine’s alleged role in 2016 have almost universally acknowledged there was Russia tampering, as well– that both are true. But the curators have falsely framed the facts, claiming that “conspiracy theorists” say Ukraine rather than Russia interfered in the 2016 campaign. In this way, the curators aren’t just curating, they are tampering with the facts. Altering reality. And why wouldn’t they? We have invited them to feel free.

And a third example is the stranglehold on information the vaccine industry and their advocates  have on information about vaccine side effects and links to autism. I recently reported on a sworn affidavit signed by Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a world renowned pro-vaccine pediatric neurologist who served as the government’s expert witness in vaccine autism cases. He was, at the time, defending vaccine companies on behalf of the U.S. government.

But in the affidavit, Dr. Zimmerman said that after initially believing vaccines are not linked to autism, he became aware of advances in science revealing that vaccines do cause autism in rare cases, after all. He goes on to testify that government lawyers from the Department of Justice hid this fact from families and the court, and misrepresented his opinion in cases fought by parents of vaccine-injured autistic children.

Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, the pro-vaccine govt. expert who says vaccines can cause autism, after all, in “exceptional” cases.

People are free to dismiss Dr. Zimmerman’s findings, of course, but the fact that he signed the affidavit it is not in dispute and the information should not be censored. However, Facebook’s “science fact checkers” have improperly flagged this reporting as untrue. Either these science experts are proxies for the vaccine industry or are sorely uninformed. Either way, they are not qualified to determine fact vs. fiction on your social media feed. All the while, misleading, incomplete and false information about vaccine safety is routinely promoted as “true.”

Facebook “independent fact-checker” wrongly flag a true news report

Read Dr. Zimmerman’s full affidavit here

We should remember that the government incorrectly determined security guard Richard Jewell was responsible for the Atlanta Olympic bombing. (He was actually a hero who helped move people away from a suspicious backpack before it exploded.) The FBI falsified the polygraph of a Chinese scientist to make it look like he was a spy. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper falsely testified to Congress that there was no mass surveillance on millions of Americans. Social media videos were used out of context to defame a Catholic high school student as if he had aggressively confronted a Native American. Rape allegations in a landmark Rolling Stone article turned out to be untrue. Washington Post Pulitzer Prize winner Janet Cooke had falsified her sourcing. New York Times award winning reporter Jayson Blair plagiarized and faked his stories.

Corporations have been wrong or misled us on information about cigarettes and cancer, food safety, the dangers of Ford Explorers equipped with Firestone tires, x-rays, asbestos, medicine and vaccines pulled off the market for safety reasons and countless other topics. Charities such as the Red Cross have been found guilty of misusing funds and providing false information. Facebook has gotten caught misleading consumers and advertisers. Social media company insiders have blown the whistle on biased and dishonest practices at their firms. Just as concerning– government, corporate, media and other curators sometimes fact check as “incorrect” matters that are simply matters of opinion.

Watch Attkisson’s TedX talk: How Real is Fake News?

These are the people we are trusting to be arbiters of what information we should be allowed to see and believe.

Without alternate information that some of these powerful interests initially claimed to be wrong or “debunked,” the facts might never have been discovered.

Sometimes, the reality about serious issues of public importance starts with a single whistleblower, a patient’s story, or a conversation on the internet. When curators have the power to make it where we cannot find this information, the truth risks staying hidden. We would live a controlled, Orwellian existence, knowing only precisely what they wish for us to know, thinking only that which they say is the right way to think, with contrary information dropped down the memory hole like it never even existed.

My own view is that, in general, information that is not deemed to be illegal should be accessible. Social media already has all kinds of tools to allow users to filter out objectionable posts, if they wish to use them. If people want a vested interest to “fact check” for them, they should be able to opt into that service. But the rest of us should be left alone.

The magic of the internet is that it puts information in the hands of most anyone rather than just the powerful. Allowing that information to be controlled, manipulated, filtered, improperly discredited or erased is a slippery slope fraught with peril…. and very Orwellian, indeed.

Visit The Sharyl Attkisson Store today

Shop Now

Unique gifts for independent thinkers

Proceeds benefit independent journalism

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

47 thoughts on “On the 70th anniversary of Orwell’s death: The danger of third parties “curating” and “fact checking” our info”

  1. Excellent piece.

    As a conservative cartoonist (pretty sure I’m an affirmative action hire at Wash.Post Writers Grp) even my editors are afraid to like a cartoon that may reflect on them negatively w’in the news organization. Can’t be seen as accepting of aclimate denier, there are only two sexes, “nazi” after all. I have a name for this condition/ theory:


    It’s nuts, group think and getting worse.

  2. Thank you so much for standing for truth! You are such a blessing to those of us starving for journalists with integrity!!

  3. Sheryl,
    I have a story of renewable energy technology suppression that the Climate Change worshipers simply cannot deny. We should compare notes.

    Please make use of my email address at your earliest convenience.
    Thank you.

  4. Sharyl: Thank you very much for this. The good news is that they won’t succeed. Americans are not that stupid. The ham-handed effort to suppress information about vaccine injury has actually increased public awareness of this all-too-real horror story. And the effort to take away informed consent for for medical decisions about their children have succeeded in only a few states with heavy Democrat dominance.. Why the Democrats have hung this millstone around their necks I cannot fathom. They have truly shot themselves in the foot by this.

  5. Another outstanding article! And I’m looking toward to the next book that comes out. This kind of reporting is craved by most, but mocked by the few who want to be told how and what to think.

  6. It turns out the “International Fact-Checking Network” has a sham process for holding its stable of fact checkers (including the ones policing Facebook and other social media) accountable.

    And they’re currently abandoning their supposed commitment to transparency in an apparent effort to keep their failures off the public radar.

  7. With web sites like Gab and their dissenter product giving us the ability to comment at random! Check them out then sign up and comment on any website.

  8. It’s called “Management by Crisis” and has been used over and over for centuries because it works. Create a “crisis”, Convince the “sheeple” there is one. Then present your solution to alleviate it which always includes the sacrificing of their money and rights, and you now own them.

  9. The most fundamental freedom is freedom of speech. But what is that without the free and unfettered opportunity to gather information in order properly prepare what you have to say? The outright attacks on freedom of speech and information are the cutting edge of the Democrats’ desperate attempt to establish a socialist police state in America. Here’s an example of the Democratically controlled legislature in action. https://nationalfile.com/virginia-dems-introduce-anti-free-speech-legislation-to-make-criticizing-them-illegal/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=virginia-dems-introduce-anti-free-speech-legislation-to-make-criticizing-them-illegal

  10. There are some recent stories about tech and social media developing – and acting upon – social scores for Americans, but the reporting won’t be complete until Sharyl does a story on it.

  11. Thank you for such a dynamic, insightful article. The “controllers” are taking away everything that has made America great, on drip at a time. The slower the drips, the less Americans will notice it until one day, our freedoms are gone.

  12. You have missed the point. There is no Republican form of government when government agents lie to citizens or allows 3rd parties to lie to citizens. There is no free speech if it is unlawful for citizens lie to the agents of the government. That is the starting point for discussion.

  13. The greatest benefit from it does not take idea
    that sooner or later it results in activity engine indexing.

    On the web world, there are many sites that provide you the pleasure of playing these games
    at the ease. The main principle behind this is that every coin contributes a small fraction for the jackpot.

  14. Having said that, if you want to be certain of the items your rewards could possibly be, TAB WA is
    a good way to risk it. The techno world gets new innovations day by day,
    making our life easier. Let’s face it, gamblers hate it when people know their business.

  15. Greetings! Τhis is my 1st ϲomment herе so I just
    wanteԀ to give a գuiuck shout oout аand say I genuinely enjoy reading your posts.
    Can you sᥙցgest any other blogs/websites/forums thаt deal with tһe
    same toⲣics?Thahk you!

  16. Playing consistently permits you to get more from every stroke in the dice,
    and enables you to prone to bigger winnings. Sometimes,
    starting extreme sports like wakeboarding, horseriding,
    and others make cut, but cheap thrills don’t last forever.
    Whether you want to play cards, table games, video poker,
    keno, blackjack, baccarat, roulette, or poker etc, search for the reviews online to consider final decision.

Scroll to Top