A so-called independent fact-checker website FactCheck.org is exposed to be funded by the same $1.9 billion vaccine lobby group that it is supposed to check. The site is a Facebook partner whose articles are used to censor critical voices on the social media platform. It is headed by the former CDC director, which is again a conflit of interest.
A U.S. congressman Thomas Massie has pointed out a fact that a COVID-19 vaccination “fact-checking” project conducted by Facebook-partnered website is actually funded by a group that holds $1.9 billion in Johnson & Johnson stock. The group is headed by the former CDC director.
U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky tweeted Saturday, “NOTHING TO SEE HERE … Former director of CDC is now CEO of the foundation that funds FACTCHECK.org’s vaccine fact checking program. Roughly 15% of said foundation’s assets are J&J stock.”
“Bless your heart if you think factcheck.org is an unbiased source of vaccine information,” he continued.
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NOTHING TO SEE HERE…— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) April 24, 2021
Former director of CDC is now CEO of the foundation that funds FACTCHECK. org’s vaccine fact checking program. Roughly 15% of said foundation’s assets are J&J stock.
Bless your heart if you think factcheck .org is an unbiased source of vaccine information pic.twitter.com/Ijq3sojHmV
In a screenshot from Factcheck.org attached by Massie, it can be seen that the site explains that it’s SciCheck “COVID-19/Vaccination Project is made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,” which it reveals is worth $53,501.
SciCheck is a section of the FactCheck website that it says “focuses exclusively on false and misleading scientific claims that are made by partisans to influence public policy.”
“Vaccines benefit those who have had COVID-19, contrary to viral posts,” is the title of another recent SciCheck article.
Waiting for @factcheckdotorg to fact check this:— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) April 26, 2021
Funding for their vaccine fact check program comes from the RWJ foundation which holds over $1.8 billion worth of J&J stock and is run by a former director of the @CDCgov. https://t.co/Jyn7FMno5Y
The SciCheck arm of the FactCheck.org site is funded by the group named Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
The CEO and president of RWJF is Richard E. Besser. Besser has been leading RWJF since April 2017. Besser’s bio on the RWJF website states – “Besser is the former acting director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Besser’s bio further explains that he worked as director of the ‘Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response’ at the CDC, then he joined ABC News in 2009, where he was the chief health and medical director.
“He also served as acting director of the CDC from January to June 2009, during which time he led the CDC’s response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic.”
Interestingly, while Factcheck.org has directly denied Rep. Massie’s accusation of bias in the article, “SciCheck and our Commitment to Transparency,” it ignores the possibility of bias stemming from Besser’s former role at the CDC.
FactCheck.org defended itself against Rep. Massie’s accusation of bias, saying, “Contrary to Massie’s suggestion, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — as is the case with all of our funders — has no control over our editorial content. Period. Full stop.”
However, Massie nowhere says that RWJF has “control” over the editorial content of FactCheck.org. It is commonly acknowledged that outside parties can exercise influence upon an organization in a more indirect manner, such as through quid pro quo exchanges.
It is also noteworthy that FactCheck.org partnered with Facebook “shortly after the 2016” allegedly in order to “debunk hoaxes and malicious falsehoods posted on the social media site,” according to the University of Pennsylvania Almanac.
For extensively exposing the Vaccine lobby, GreatGameIndia is being targeted and being accused of spreading misinformation for the flimsy reason that our tweets were shared widely after the controversy.