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Brownstone Institute

Poynter’s Creepy ‘Fact-Based Expression’


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From the Brownstone Institute


Fact-based expression.

That is what the once vaunted now openly vile Poynter Institute – a pivot point of the international censorship-industrial complex – wishes to “strengthen…around the globe.”

Pointedly, not “free speech,” but “fact-based expression.”

They’re not the same thing.

This absurd term, floated through the invite to read the institute’s annual and recently released “Impact Report,” may at first blush seem to be yet another silly woke wiggle, like “birthing person (mother) or “involved in the criminal justice system” (a felon) or “experiencing homelessness” (vagrant).

Like many Orwellian neologisms, it might, if you hear it only once or twice, seem to make a tiny bit of sense because “fact-based expression” implies telling the truth.

But like so many other progressive rewordings, it is purely an attempt to sound reasonable so as to mask a deeply ominous intent.

That intent? To control speech and public discourse by being the lone decider as to what is factual and what is not and those decisions are being – and will be – made based on the sociopolitical outlook of the progressive woke elite, the socialite socialist statist global drivers that fund Poynter.

But the Poynter Institute – once the premier media/journalism teaching and thinking, for lack of a better term, organizations – made a significant error in rolling out the term: it appears right after “free press,” inviting the clear comparison.

“…meaningful achievements we have made to help strengthen a free press and fact-based expression around the globe,” is how the email introduction to the report read.

So why not simply say “free speech?”

Because that’s not what they want at all (they don’t really believe in a free press either, noting the importance of the press being “responsible,” i.e..housebroken.)

To the contrary, “fact-based expression” demands both self and external censorship, a political, social, and cultural censorship that will drown out and drone on.

That is the business Poynter is in now – fact-checking. So Poynter will be telling the world what constitutes “fact-based expression” and what is not, what is verboten.

How convenient for Poynter, how wonderful for the globalists, how terrible for everyone else.

And Poynter has the connections to make it stick – take December, 2020 and Covid for example.

The American Medical Association “partnered” with Poynter to spread the gospel of vaccines, of pandemic panic, and the evils of “misinformation.”

Poynter even offered an online course that local (and national) news people from around the country could take that would leverage the trust they have built in the community to convince people to take the “vaccine:”

We know from previous vaccination efforts that local news is critically important: Audiences trust local news the most, and local journalists will be critical in guiding the public to vaccine administration sites and explaining eligibility.

The first rounds of vaccines will be based on new mRNA technology that, while being a scientific breakthrough, may raise questions in the public’s mind about safety and efficacy. We will explain the technology in ways you can pass along to the public.

The course made sure the locals reported how safe the vaccine was, how important it was, and what “misinformation” about the vaccine needed to be shot down.

Oddly enough, it also worked to help journalists “explain to audiences the importance of the second dosage of the vaccines.” On December 4, 2020 – curiously early for that specific topic – the “vaccine” had been out for only a couple of weeks.

As for all of 2020, you can see Poynter’s round-up here. Note it features the term “covidiot.”

(And you can watch a rerun of the webinar here.)

How convenient for Poynter, how wonderful for the globalists, how terrible for everyone else.

Just nine years ago, Poynter had a budget of $3.8 million and, unless you worked in the media, you had no idea it even existed. Today, thanks to massive support from the likes of Google, Meta (Facebook), and others, Poynter is a $15 million a year nexus point for those who wish to control the press and, more importantly, what everyone else says.

Poynter runs PolitiFact, a media outlet that pretends to be in the business of checking facts.

But it does no such thing. It is a global elite swamp third-party validation machine that twists and turns and backflips to put its “FACT” stamp of approval on just about anything that needs to be buttressed.

Or, more importantly, it stamps “FALSE” on a statement or story or concept that is at odds with the current popular narrative that keeps that same global elite in power (a litany of Poynter’s obfuscation and the tricks it uses can be found here).

It runs MediaWise, an outfit that claims to train (largely) younger people how to spot “misinformation,” something that does not actually exist but is a pillar of the censor’s claim to their right to exist. And through its “Teen Fact Checking Network,” Poynter is training a new generation of censors.

If Poynter were honestly trying to stop misinformation, it would not practice the art so well. 

And Poynter is the home of the International Fact Checking Network, a group of global media and other fact-checking organizations that is dedicated to “fighting repression and misinformation.”

To quote the IFCN chief: “Misinformation is on the march. The politically powerful are using disinformation to confuse the public and control the agenda. And fact-checkers and other journalists face attack and harassment simply for doing their jobs,” said Angie Drobnic Holan, IFCN director. “Yet our work continues. We are on the side of truth. We are on the side of information integrity.”

And the IFCN determines what is the truth, what information has the requisite “integrity” to pass muster?

In other words, doing to the world what it has done to the United States: work with social media and government agencies to stamp out dissent.

April 2 was “International Fact Checking Day.” To honor the occasion, Drobnic Holan took to her blog to claim that fact-checkers are not censors and, it appears, that the Murthy v. Missouri case currently in front of the United States Supreme Court is not really about the basic and immutable American tenet of freedom of speech but about letting misinformers keep muddying the waters of official truth:

The Supreme Court case is primarily about the government’s actions in dealing with tech platforms: Did the Biden administration go too far in asking for takedowns of vaccine-related misinformation? For years, similar attacks have been aimed at fact-checkers. As director of the International Fact-Checking Network, I’ve watched this movement label fact-checkers as part of a “censorship industrial complex,” claiming that fact-checkers are trying to suppress debatable information.

Ironically, this deeply misleading argument itself is aimed at suppressing critique and debate.

Google and Meta (Facebook) and TikTok are, as noted, Poynter funders and use its products to help decide what is or is not allowed on their platforms. That actual fact does not bode well for the neutrality of Poynter’s fact-checking efforts.

Specifically as to TikTok, Poynter proudly claims that “(T)hrough innovative fact-checking partnerships with Meta and TikTok, PolitiFact is slowing the spread of thousands of pieces of false or harmful online content each month — reducing future views of false information by 80% on average.”

And Poynter decides what is “harmful” and “false.”

And just a few days ago, clearly in response to the bill to force the sale of TikTok going through Congress, Poynter decided to “fact check” who really owns TikTok. Poynter decided that the statement that the “Chinese government owns TikTok” is – surprise surprise – false.

Because of its vaunted past, Poynter is the respectable (actually becoming less respectable with each passing million) face of the international movement to determine what the public can talk about.

And it seems being in the “fact” industry is good for business – budget tripled, staff doubled, got far more notoriety, and getting a bit of actual global power, all in the past decade.

Google, Meta, the Omidyar network (lefty media funders), The Just Trust (a spinoff of the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative that focuses on “criminal justice), TikTok, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Stanford Impact Labs, which “invests in teams of researchers working with leaders in government, business, and communities to design, test, and scale interventions that can help us make progress on some of the world’s most pressing and persistent social challenges” are some of the major funders of Poynter.

All of the above are powerful progressive/woke companies and foundations and are intertwined with the global movement to muzzle the freedom of the average person, to create a rental world in which people will simply be interchangeable cogs to be watched, fed, and placated.

Another funder of Poynter is the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), one of the most caustic – and powerful – members of the international “civil society” behemoth that lay somewhere between government and private industry and is now more powerful than either.

Note: NED was specifically founded in the 1980s to do in public what the CIA could no longer do in secret: play international politics, foment revolutions, buy supporters, and influence foreign media.

Another Poynter partner is the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD), a stepchild of the still-extant German Marshall Fund.

Reminder – the Marshall Plan was set up after World War II to help rebuild Germany and Europe; the Fund was created by the West German government and is now one of most slithery internationalist think tanks on the planet.

Last November, Poynter hosted a very very poorly attended “United Facts of America” online symposium, which included the participation of the Fund and the ASD. The ASD was the group behind the “Hamilton 68” Russian disinformation dashboard, a tool used countless times by the mainstream media to show how much Russia had warped the American electoral process.

The world can expect to see “fact-based expression” more often in the very near future, can expect to hear “Are you in favor of lying?” arguments if you say you are worried about the new rubric, and can expect to see ‘fact-based expression” in law books soon as an appropriate mitigation of free and unfettered speech.

The concept is already making headway – see the Online Harms Bill proposed in Canada, which “authorizes house arrest and electronic tagging for a person considered likely to commit a future (hate) crime.”

Poynter is a far far distance away from its original mission, but in theory still understands the actual news business. We asked them what exactly is “fact-based expression:”

“What is ‘fact-based expression’ exactly?  What does that term mean? It has to be different from ‘free speech’ because (the report intro) would have read ‘free speech’ just as it did ‘free press.’”

The response from the transparent media training foundation?

“We have seen your message and I have shared it with the team. We did see your deadline note in the subject line and in the body text. We’ll try to respond as soon as we can, keeping your deadline in mind.”

No further response – I guess “the team” didn’t want to answer the question or they didn’t have a “fact-based expression” to reply with.


  • Thomas Buckley

    Thomas Buckley is the former mayor of Lake Elsinore, Cal. and a former newspaper reporter. He is currently the operator of a small communications and planning consultancy.

Brownstone Institute

How Did a Small Group Do This?

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From the Brownstone Institute


“You know, it’s kind of our own science experiment that we’re doing in real time.”

A very interesting study appeared last week by two researchers looking into the pandemic policy response around the world. They are Drs. Eran Bendavid and Chirag Patel of Stanford and Harvard, respectively. Their ambition was straightforward. They wanted to examine the effects of government policy on the virus.

In this ambition, after all, researchers have access to an unprecedented amount of information. We have global data on strategies and stringencies. We have global data on infections and mortality. We can look at it all according to the timeline. We have precise dating of stay-at-home orders, business closures, meeting bans, masking, and every other physical intervention you can imagine.

The researchers merely wanted to track what worked and what did not, as a way of informing future responses to viral outbreaks so that public health can learn lessons and do better next time. They presumed from the outset they would discover that at least some mitigation tactics achieved the aim.

It is hardly the first such study. I’ve seen dozens of such efforts, and there are probably hundreds or thousands of these. The data is like catnip to anyone in this field who is empirically minded. So far, not even one empirical examination has shown any effect of anything but that seems like a hard conclusion to swallow. So these two decided to take a look for themselves.

They even went to the next step. They assembled and reassembled all existing data in every conceivable way, running fully 100,000 possible combinations of tests that all future researchers could run. They found some correlations in some policies but the problem is that every time they found one, they found another instance in which the reverse seemed to be true.

You cannot infer causation if the effects are not stable.

After vast data manipulation and looking at every conceivable policy and outcome, the researchers reluctantly come to an incredible conclusion. They conclude that nothing that governments did had any effect. There was only cost, no benefit. Everywhere in the world.

Please just let that sink in.

The policy response destroyed countless millions of small businesses, ruined a generation in learning losses, spread ill health with substance abuse, wrecked churches that could not hold holiday services, decimated arts and cultural institutions, broke trade, unleashed inflation that is nowhere near done with us yet, provoked new forms of online censorship, built government power in a way without precedent, led to new levels of surveillance, spread vaccine injury and death, and otherwise shattered liberties and laws the world over, not to mention leading to frightening levels of political instability.

And for what?

Apparently, it was all for nought.

Nor has there been any sort of serious reckoning. The European Commission elections are perhaps a start, and heavily influenced by public opposition to Covid controls, in addition to other policies that are robbing nations of their histories and identities. The major media can call the victors “far right” all they want but this is really about common people simply wanting their lives back.

It’s interesting to speculate about precisely how many people were involved in setting the world on fire. We know the paradigm was tried first in Wuhan, then blessed by the World Health Organization. As regards the rest of the world, we know some names, and there were many cohorts in public health and gain-of-function research.

Let’s say there are 300 of them, plus many national security and intelligence officials plus their sister agencies around the world. Let’s just add a zero plus multiply that by the large countries, presuming that so many others were copycats.

What are we talking about here? Maybe 3,000 to 5,000 people total in a decision-making capacity? That might be far too high. Regardless, compared with the sheer number of people around the world affected, we are talking about a tiny number, a mico-percent of the world’s population or less making new rules for the whole of humanity.

The experiment was without precedent on this scale. Even Deborah Birx admitted it. “You know, it’s kind of our own science experiment that we’re doing in real time.” The experiment was on whole societies.

How in the world did this come to be? There are explanations that rely on mass psychology, the influence of pharma, the role of the intelligence services, and other theories of cabals and conspiracies. Even with every explanation, the whole thing seems wildly implausible. Surely it would have been impossible without global communications and media, which amplified the entire agenda in every respect.

Because of this, kids could not go to school. People in public parks had to stay within circles. Businesses could not open at full capacity. We developed insane rituals like masking when walking and unmasking when sitting. Oceans of sanitizer would be dumped on all people and things. People were made to be afraid of leaving their homes and clicked buttons to make groceries arrive on their doorsteps.

It was a global science experiment without any foundation in evidence. And the experience utterly transformed our legal systems and lives, introducing uncertainties and anxieties as never before and unleashing a level of crime in major cities that provoked residential, business, and capital flight.

This is a scandal for the ages. And yet hardly anyone in major media seems to be interested in getting to the bottom of it. That’s because, for bizarre reasons, looking too carefully at the culprits and policies here is regarded as being for Trump. And the hate and fear of Trump is so beyond reason at this point that whole institutions have decided to sit back and watch the world burn rather than be curious about what provoked this in the first place.

Instead of an honest accounting of the global upheaval, we are getting the truth in dribs and drabs. Anthony Fauci continues to testify for Congressional hearings and this extremely clever man threw his longtime collaborator under the bus, acting like David Morens was a rogue employee. That action seemed to provoke ex-CDC director Robert Redfield to go public, saying that it was a lab leak from a US-funded lab doing “dual purpose” research into vaccines and viruses, and strongly suggesting that Fauci himself was involved in the cover-up.

Among this group, we are quickly approaching the point of “Every man for himself.” It is fascinating to watch, for those of us who are deeply interested in this question. But for the mainstream media, none of this gets any coverage at all. They act like we should just accept what happened and not think anything about it.

This great game of pretend is not sustainable. To be sure, maybe the world is more broken than we know but something about cosmic justice suggests that when a global policy this egregious, this damaging, this preposterously wrongheaded, does all harm and no good, there are going to be consequences.

Not immediately but eventually.

When will the whole truth emerge? It could be decades from now but we already know this much for sure. Nothing we were promised about the great mitigation efforts by governments turned out to achieve anything remotely what they promised. And yet even now, the World Health Organization continues to uphold such interventions as the only way forward.

Meanwhile, the paradigm of bad science backed by force pervades nearly everything these days, from climate change to medical services to information controls.

When will evidence matter again?

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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  • Jeffrey A. Tucker

    Jeffrey Tucker is Founder, Author, and President at Brownstone Institute. He is also Senior Economics Columnist for Epoch Times, author of 10 books, including Life After Lockdown, and many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

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The Enemies of Food Freedom

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From the Brownstone Institute


In every war, there is necessarily an enemy force, and the war on our food supply is no exception.

My previous article addressed the ongoing attacks on farmers across the globe. In today’s article, we will look at some of the culprits behind this agenda. For anyone who delved into the entities behind the tyrannical Covid policies, many names on the list below will seem quite familiar.


Bayer merged with Monsanto in 2018, combining the companies responsible for Agent Orange and pioneering chemical warfare. In 1999, Monsanto’s CEO Robert Shapiro bragged that the company planned to control “three of the largest industries in the world—agriculture, food, and health—that now operate as separate businesses. But there are a set of changes that will lead to their integration.” Today these chemical manufacturers control a huge percentage of the world’s food supply.

Cargill and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Cargill is a World Economic Forum partner and the largest private company in the United States. This behemoth monopolizes unimaginably vast swaths of the global food industry, including meat processing in the United States. Cargill’s business practices, along with bigger-is-better policies enforced by their cronies at the United States Department of Agriculture, have led to the closures of many local abattoirs which forced farmers to depend on a few corporate mega-slaughterhouses. This leaves farmers waiting 14 months or longer for butchering slots, for which they often must transport their animals hundreds of miles—indeed, farmers and ranchers must book processing dates up to a year before the animal is even born. The high fees charged by Cargill’s slaughterhouses contribute to the skyrocketing price of meat—all while the farmers themselves are barely paid enough to cover the cost of raising the livestock. The USDA, meanwhile, makes sure their policies prevent farmers from processing meat themselves on their own farms.

Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust, the former owner of Glaxo before it merged with SmithKline, played a major role in Britain’s Covid debacle and is unapologetic about its goal of reducing your food sovereignty. Wellcome Trust funds Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP), an organization dedicated to developing and testing behavioral modifications to coerce the public into removing meat and dairy from their diets. LEAP’s co-director Susan Jeffs bemoans that motivating people with environmental impact labels on their foods does not seem to work: “People are already settled into very established habits” and suggests instead altering what the industry provides, thereby forcing consumer choice. Wellcome Trust researchers recommend “availability interventions” that “rely less on individual agency” to reduce access to animal food products. Researcher Rachel Pechey opines that “meat taxes show a promising evidence for effectiveness but have been less acceptable in survey work…we don’t want to just go for the most acceptable [solutions].”

The World Health Organization

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s Director-General, would like you to believe that food production is responsible for almost one-third of the global burden of disease. He calls for transforming the global food system toward plant-based foods, reducing meat and dairy in our intake, and enforcing policies to save the climate through restricting diet. A WHO 2022 report concluded that “considerable evidence supports shifting populations towards healthful plant-based diets that reduce or eliminate intake of animal products.”

World Economic Forum

You are likely familiar with the World Economic Forum and their Great Reset agenda. Visit their webpage and treat yourself to such morsels as 5 reasons why eating insects could reduce climate changewhy we need to give insects the role they deserve in our food systems, and why we might be eating insects soon. Suffice it to say that their plans for your dietary future are clear.

EAT Forum, the Lancet, and their Big Tech and Big Chemical Partners

The EAT Forum is “dedicated to transforming our global food system through sound science, impatient disruption and novel partnerships.” It was co-founded by the aforementioned Wellcome Trust, the Strawberry Foundation, and the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Their FRESH initiative—Food Reform for Sustainability and Health—aims to transform the global food system. Partners in the FRESH initiative include Google, Cargill, Syngenta, Unilever, Pepsico, and many chemical processors such as BASF, Bayer, and DuPont—a rather odd cast of characters for developing a healthy and sustainable dietary plan. EAT’s Shifting Urban Diets Initiative advocates for cities to adopt the Lancet-endorsed Planetary Health Diet, in which plant-based proteins are set to replace meat and dairy. Red meat is limited to 30 calories per day. A report drafted by EAT found that the transformation they want to foist upon our diets is “unlikely to be successful if left up to the individual,” and “require(s) reframing at the systemic level with hard policy interventions that include laws, fiscal measures, subsidies and penalties, trade reconfiguration and other economic and structural measures.”

The Rockefeller Foundation

Members of the Rockefeller family may carry more blame than anyone else in history for turning agriculture away from independent family farms towards corporate conglomerates.

In 1947, Nelson Rockefeller founded the International Basic Economy Corporation to modernize and corporatize agriculture in South America, particularly in Brazil and Venezuela. IBEC transformed farming to depend on expensive machinery and inputs that priced subsistence peasant farmers out of viability. The American International Association for Economic and Social Development (AIA), a Rockefeller-funded philanthropic organization, helped build the market through which IBEC could enrich its owners. While IBEC’s promotional literature claimed that the company was generously assisting the Third World by providing necessary consumer products while turning a profit, on closer examination, it was simply a business enterprise built on the Rockefellers’ old Standard Oil model, in which smaller competitors are forced out using monopolistic practices before prices are raised.

This tactic was taken to a whole new level with the so-called Green Revolution, first in Mexico in the 1940s, then in the Philippines and India in the 1960s, as well as in the United States. Traditional farming practices such as the use of manure as fertilizer for heirloom native crops were replaced with a model of mechanized chemical farming, using Rockefeller-funded new seed varieties which had been developed to require petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides to produce significantly increased crop yields compared to the traditional crops grown by peasant farmers in these countries.

It is worth noting that the Rockefellers, as oil oligarchs, stood to profit handsomely from the petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides that this new method demanded. The crops grown were almost all cereal crops like rice and replaced more nutrient-dense, traditional crops like millet. India experienced an increase in food but a decrease in nutrition: with more empty calories but fewer fruits, vegetables, and animal proteins, micronutrients disappeared from the diet. Anemia, blindness, fertility problems, low birth weight, and immune impairment increased.

While the Green Revolution was hailed as the solution to world hunger and poverty, it also poisoned local water supplies, depleted the soil, and left farmers drowning in debt as they could no longer independently produce the fertilizer and seeds they needed. Informed readers can see how the later Monsanto GMO Roundup-Ready seed model followed this playbook established by the Rockefellers.

In 2006, the Rockefeller Foundation, Bill Gates, and others pushed the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, or AGRA, and they again followed this proven playbook. Since AGRA’s launch, African biodiversity has been lost, and the number of severely undernourished people in sub-Saharan Africa has increased by nearly 50 percent, even by the UN’s own reports. Just as in India, farmers are being tricked into abandoning nutrient-dense, drought-resistant crops like heirloom millet in exchange for the empty calories of GMO corn. Hundreds of African organizations have demanded that this neocolonial project end, leaving the future of African agriculture in the hands of the native farmers who know the land best.

Now the Rockefeller Foundation has set its sights on the US food system with its Reset the Table agenda, handily launched in 2020 just weeks after the Great Reset was announced. Under rosy language calling for inclusivity and equity, the report states that “success will require numerous changes to policies, practices, and norms.” This includes a major focus on data collection and objectives that align closely with the One Health Agenda—more on that in a future article.

Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation

Bill Gates has followed the Rockefeller playbook for fumigating his fortune and transforming his image—while building more wealth—through the cynical ploy of philanthrocapitalism.

His fingers are deep in every public health pie, and his influence is nearly equal in the food wars. Besides financing the development of fake meats, he is behind the aforementioned AGRA program, is investing in geoengineering programs to dim the sun, and as of January 2021, owned 242,000 acres of prime US farmland, making him the largest private owner of farmland in the US. It is disconcerting to think that a man who believes we should phase out real meat controls so much of the method of production.


Another organization pushing you to eat bugs is USAID. This may surprise some of you who think of USAID as an organization dedicated to helping third-world countries, rather than as a longtime Trojan horse for CIA operations. (Skeptical of that claim? Go down the rabbit hole here and here and here and here.) Their Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, known as BIFAD, released a report titled “Systemic Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.” This report calls for a complete transformation of the food supply and global agriculture. They propose to do this through ESG scores, carbon tracking, and eating insects.

So how do these organizations manage to push their agenda on the global population? We will cover that in a future article.


Tracy Thurman is an advocate for regenerative farming, food sovereignty, decentralized food systems, and medical freedom. She works with the Barnes Law Firm’s public interest division to safeguard the right to purchase food directly from farmers without government interference.

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