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Sunday, 16 December 2012

UK Fact-Checker "Full Fact" Is not Impartial

Full Fact?

This post is also in Italian: Il Sito di Fact-Checking Inglese "Full Fact" Non È Imparziale

Like me, you may have been attracted to the reassuringly-named Full Fact website and non-profit company.

It's a fact-checking group, whose tagline is "Promoting accuracy in public debate".

After hearing about it from David Dimbleby on Question Time, I was immediately interested in this site, which I believe follows a trend set by Americans whose fact-checking after, for example, televised presidential debates becomes frenetic.

I am a firm believer in evidence-based reasoning in every sphere, using the scientific method of investigation whenever we can.

In politics as much as in health, in sociology as much as in the environmental subjects, empiricism and logic are what we need.

Therefore I welcomed the existence of this British site, and I read it. Certain things in it didn't seem too impartial to me, though, for example about Portugal's drugs decriminalization laws' outcomes.

So I checked who is behind Full Fact. I discovered that its "core funding comes from three independent charitable trusts: the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the Nuffield Foundation and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation".

A look at The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust's site reveals that it has a strong focus on "racial justice" and "Islamophobia". Its pamphlet The Quest for Racial Justice has the picture of a hijab-wearing woman on its cover, so we know immediately what kind of "racial justice" we're talking about.

It doesn't take much to realize that this is a charitable, Quaker in origin, but politically not unbiased organization, believing in multiculturalism and seeing things only from the perspective of ethnic groups and immigrants, legal or not, and not the indigenous population of Britain.

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust does not define what it means by "racial justice", probably assuming that it should be obvious, and indeed it is obvious what it intends when you see that it is in full support of the Macpherson Report on the death of Stephen Lawrence, which accuses the police of being "institutionally racist" and contains a pearl like this: "A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person" opening the door to any abuse of the term. Or when you read in The Quest for Racial Justice statements like this:

"Stephen Lawrence died at the hands of racists in 1993... In the meantime, many others have lost their lives in a similar way"

without any mention of the many white victims of non-white racism, about whom the national media are totally silent, a situation so scandalous as to prompt even Muslim multiculturalist and leftist Yasmin Alibhai Brown to write an article whose headline says it all: "When the victim is white, does anyone care?" (The article has then been removed from the website of London newspaper Evening Standard, apparently the only link left is on an online library).

It's clear that for this organization victims cannot be white. Yet, the mentioned article reports, "Almost half of the 58 known victims of racially motivated murders between 1995 and 2004 were white".

Yorkshire Conservative Councillor Roger Taylor called JUST West Yorkshire, a group affiliated with The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, an "ultra-left organization".

Discover the Networks gives this description:
The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) was founded in 1904 by its namesake, a prominent Quaker entrepreneur and philanthropist. Viewing the unequal distribution of wealth as a defect inherent in all capitalist countries, JRCT aims to change “the existing power imbalances in society” and create “a better world.” Led by a board whose members are guided by the principles and values of Quakerism, the Trust focuses especially on eradicating the “root” causes of poverty, “social injustice,” and “political inequality”—and not merely on treating “the superficial manifestations” of those problems.
The second major funder of Full Fact, the Nuffield Foundation, has a website that welcomes you with talk of class divide and disadvantaged backgrounds.

The third, finally, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, supports "vulnerable migrants" and "social change".

The jargon is revealing, the picture is clear.

Full Fact is a bit like Wikipedia, pretending to be impartial and just offering "facts", but the people giving this information have a very specific, culturally Marxist, ideology colouring their fact-checking. I suspect that Dimbleby wouldn't have advertised it otherwise.



  1. Thank you, as an individual i would most probably count myself a left of center liberal, who is fully in support of the pro EU remain campaign, & in many aspects support at least in principal the motivation behind full facts above quoted supporting organisations. Whoever my intention in supporting full fact was never to reinforce what one might broadly consider my own bias my 'bubble or opinion, but was to give support to an organisation that could & would have the necessary resource to data & expertise to supply empirically sound facts. Something I fear that has, as an individual become near impossible to decipher. I am thus sad to read your blog but none the less thankful for your bringing my attention to this very possible conflict of intention. These are troublesome times, & never in the history of our species have we been so overwhelmingly swamped by the availability of published/posted/screened information. So never before have we more needed a genuinely completely unbiased empirical means to check & triple check the truths from half truths the facts from fiction.

  2. "Who's watching the watchdog?" You are! [Of course, the next question is who's watching you? We need all be vigilant, skeptical and have macrobiotic diets when it comes to information sources.] Your info is illuminating. It's useful to know the "facts" of the facts-checkers and the biases of those claiming to be unbiased. I suppose it's a clever guise to pose as a "charity" - a tactic designed to put them beyond reproach. It seems that there are biblical warnings about wolves in sheep clothing. I'll use your insights/findings on my side (the US) of the Atlantic.

  3. You don't seem to mention that it was co-founded by a conservative party donor?

    1. Its political tendencies are clear enough. Not all self-alleged conservatives are necessarily capable of recognising the truth.

  4. fullfact are now posting comments on posts that I make on facebook, who the hell decided that they know the truth, absolutely disgusting.


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