An AP ‘Fact-Checker’ Auditions for Biden’s Disinformation Board

CommentaryFact-checkers are not overtly mentioned in George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel “1984” about a future totalitarian state, but their function is absolutely necessary for the state to monitor and “correct” misinformation and disinformation. As described in “1984,” the function of the Ministry of Truth is to “to falsify history and the present in order to suit the beliefs and intentions of the [ruling] Party.” “Falsifying the present” is right in the bailiwick of today’s so-called fact-checkers in the legacy media, which provide full-throated defense of the Biden administration and Democrat narratives. Examples include the following: the COVID vaccines are safe and effective, Trump supporters are domestic terrorists, and the 2020 election was the most secure election in U.S. history. Are they auditioning for jobs on the Department of Homeland Security’s new “disinformation board”? Let us examine the topic in detail in the context of that false election narrative. Nearly all “fact-checkers” are important players of the Democrat-media complex, and much has been written to expose these connections, including Snopes, Politifact, Facebook, Twitter, and media-connected checkers and supposed ombudsmen. Most of these are supposedly affiliated with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies’ International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). Still, they routinely and blatantly violate the No. 1 principle of ICFN: a commitment to nonpartisanship and fairness. Note: the Poynter Institute is left-biased, as this list of its major donors from 2017 includes George Soros’ TIDES Foundation, among other left-wing sources. The Associated Press also has various fact-checkers who frequently defend Democrat narratives. The recent release of Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary film “2000 Mules,” which exposes widespread and systematic ballot trafficking and election fraud, energized AP fact-checker Ali Swenson to write this hit-piece, “FACT FOCUS: Gaping holes in the claim of 2K ballot ‘mules.’” The article had to have been researched and written before the movie was even released due to the several sources she quoted. It was timed to distract and dissuade would-be watchers while providing aid and comfort to those who still believe the crumbling Democrat narrative of “the most secure election in history.” In addition to its dissemination through the AP news agency to hundreds of U.S. newspapers across the country, a simple web search of the title evinces dozens of websites that also propagated that article. Deconstructing the AP’s Fact Check of 2000 Mules The AP article is classic agitprop that conforms to the political aim of President Joe Biden’s new “disinformation board”: to quash political dissent. The AP fact-checkers claims are debunked below. AP: “[The film] uses a flawed analysis of cellphone location data and ballot drop box surveillance footage to cast doubt on the results of the 2020 presidential election … based on faulty assumptions, anonymous accounts and improper analysis of cellphone location data, which is not precise enough to confirm that somebody deposited a ballot into a drop box.” The facts: The movie does not solely rely on geolocation data to identify ballot harvesters. The researchers have buttressed that data with video to confirm that individuals deposited multiple ballots to different drop boxes on numerous occasions. True the Vote (the nonprofit organization that helped produce the movie) collected and purchased commercially available, anonymized, geospatial mobile device information totaling 27 terabytes of data (including 10 trillion cell phone pings) and obtained 4 million minutes of video from state sources via FOIA requests. The cellphone data establish what devices were at a particular location at a specific time but does not disclose any private information about a person’s identity. The videos correlate with the cellphone tracking data and confirm the illegal ballot box-stuffing actions of the various mules. A poll worker sorts ballots inside the Maricopa County Election Department in Phoenix, Arizona, on Nov. 5, 2020. (Olivier Touron/AFP via Getty Images) AP: “The group’s claims of a paid ballot harvesting scheme are supported in the film only by one unidentified whistleblower said to be from San Luis, Arizona. … The film contains no evidence of such payments in other states in 2020.” The facts: This is misleading. While the film does not provide evidence of payments, it does provide surveillance video of the mules photographing the ballots before placing them in drop boxes. In several videos, a mule is seen holding them out in a fan shape so that the number of ballots can be verified via a selfie picture. What other explanation can there be for taking these selfies if not to verify completed actions and to demand payment? If these videos are presented to any jury to determine if this was ballot harvesting, there is little doubt the perpetrators would be convicted. AP: “A video o

An AP ‘Fact-Checker’ Auditions for Biden’s Disinformation Board

Commentary

Fact-checkers are not overtly mentioned in George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel “1984” about a future totalitarian state, but their function is absolutely necessary for the state to monitor and “correct” misinformation and disinformation.

As described in “1984,” the function of the Ministry of Truth is to “to falsify history and the present in order to suit the beliefs and intentions of the [ruling] Party.”

“Falsifying the present” is right in the bailiwick of today’s so-called fact-checkers in the legacy media, which provide full-throated defense of the Biden administration and Democrat narratives. Examples include the following: the COVID vaccines are safe and effective, Trump supporters are domestic terrorists, and the 2020 election was the most secure election in U.S. history.

Are they auditioning for jobs on the Department of Homeland Security’s new “disinformation board”?

Let us examine the topic in detail in the context of that false election narrative.

Nearly all “fact-checkers” are important players of the Democrat-media complex, and much has been written to expose these connections, including Snopes, Politifact, Facebook, Twitter, and media-connected checkers and supposed ombudsmen. Most of these are supposedly affiliated with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies’ International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). Still, they routinely and blatantly violate the No. 1 principle of ICFN: a commitment to nonpartisanship and fairness.

Note: the Poynter Institute is left-biased, as this list of its major donors from 2017 includes George Soros’ TIDES Foundation, among other left-wing sources.

The Associated Press also has various fact-checkers who frequently defend Democrat narratives. The recent release of Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary film “2000 Mules,” which exposes widespread and systematic ballot trafficking and election fraud, energized AP fact-checker Ali Swenson to write this hit-piece, “FACT FOCUS: Gaping holes in the claim of 2K ballot ‘mules.’”

The article had to have been researched and written before the movie was even released due to the several sources she quoted. It was timed to distract and dissuade would-be watchers while providing aid and comfort to those who still believe the crumbling Democrat narrative of “the most secure election in history.”

In addition to its dissemination through the AP news agency to hundreds of U.S. newspapers across the country, a simple web search of the title evinces dozens of websites that also propagated that article.

Deconstructing the AP’s Fact Check of 2000 Mules

The AP article is classic agitprop that conforms to the political aim of President Joe Biden’s new “disinformation board”: to quash political dissent. The AP fact-checkers claims are debunked below.

AP: “[The film] uses a flawed analysis of cellphone location data and ballot drop box surveillance footage to cast doubt on the results of the 2020 presidential election … based on faulty assumptions, anonymous accounts and improper analysis of cellphone location data, which is not precise enough to confirm that somebody deposited a ballot into a drop box.”

The facts: The movie does not solely rely on geolocation data to identify ballot harvesters. The researchers have buttressed that data with video to confirm that individuals deposited multiple ballots to different drop boxes on numerous occasions. True the Vote (the nonprofit organization that helped produce the movie) collected and purchased commercially available, anonymized, geospatial mobile device information totaling 27 terabytes of data (including 10 trillion cell phone pings) and obtained 4 million minutes of video from state sources via FOIA requests. The cellphone data establish what devices were at a particular location at a specific time but does not disclose any private information about a person’s identity. The videos correlate with the cellphone tracking data and confirm the illegal ballot box-stuffing actions of the various mules.

arizona ballot
A poll worker sorts ballots inside the Maricopa County Election Department in Phoenix, Arizona, on Nov. 5, 2020. (Olivier Touron/AFP via Getty Images)

AP: “The group’s claims of a paid ballot harvesting scheme are supported in the film only by one unidentified whistleblower said to be from San Luis, Arizona. … The film contains no evidence of such payments in other states in 2020.”

The facts: This is misleading. While the film does not provide evidence of payments, it does provide surveillance video of the mules photographing the ballots before placing them in drop boxes. In several videos, a mule is seen holding them out in a fan shape so that the number of ballots can be verified via a selfie picture. What other explanation can there be for taking these selfies if not to verify completed actions and to demand payment? If these videos are presented to any jury to determine if this was ballot harvesting, there is little doubt the perpetrators would be convicted.

AP: “A video of a voter dropping off a stack of ballots at a drop box is not itself proof of any wrongdoing, since most states have legal exceptions that let people drop off ballots on behalf of family members and household members.”

The facts: True the Vote filtered the data to identify “extreme cases” of mules. According to Kathryn Engelbrecht in the movie: “You had to go to, on average, five nonprofit organizations and 38 drop boxes for us to even collect you in our study.” By way of example, during the runoff election period for the U.S. Senate in Georgia in January 2021, in six counties in and around Atlanta, TTV determined that 242 unique cellphones/devices made repeat trips to drop-boxes averaging 23 trips each. These same 242 devices were tracked repeatedly—averaging eight trips each—to specific NGOs. These 242 individual devices were tracked to drop-boxes a total of 5,668 times, with approximately 40 percent of the visits occurring during unusual hours between midnight and 5 a.m. Is it believable that each of these 242 mules would have an average of 23 family members who somehow couldn’t make it to the polling places? No jury would believe the AP’s ridiculous claim that these were “legal exceptions.”

AP: “Plus, experts say cellphone location data, even at its most advanced, can only reliably track a smartphone within a few meters—not close enough to know whether someone actually dropped off a ballot or just walked or drove nearby.”

The facts: The mules were shown to have visited drop boxes in many different locations that were miles apart and frequently after midnight. Common sense tells us that this behavior was not coincidental or just a matter of circumstance. Visiting a minimum of 10 drop boxes and five NGOs is not random behavior.

AP: “Similarly, there are plenty of legitimate reasons why someone might be visiting both a nonprofit’s office and one of those busy areas. Delivery drivers, postal workers, cab drivers, poll workers and elected officials all have legitimate reasons to cross paths with numerous drop boxes or nonprofits in a given day.”

The facts: Once again, the TTV filters (at least 10 drop boxes and at least 5 NGOs visited) defeat the AP’s claim. Furthermore, there is no legitimate reason why these people would be making visits to nonprofits and drop boxes in the middle of the night. Postal workers and most couriers are not on their jobs at 1 a.m. And why would a citizen call a cab at 1 a.m. to drop off ballots in the middle of the night?

AP: “In some states, in an attempt to bolster its claims … surveillance footage … showed voters depositing multiple ballots into the boxes. However, there was no way to tell whether those voters were the same people as the ones whose cellphones were anonymously tracked.”

The facts: This is false. Cellphone temporal data (for example, time stamps) were matched with video surveillance timestamps. There can be no doubt that the person on the video depositing the ballot was pinged.

AP: “The Trump campaign and others filed an unprecedented litany of cases challenging Philadelphia’s election with dubious and unsubstantiated allegations of fraud, all of which were quickly and resoundingly rejected by both state and federal courts.”

The facts: This is also blatantly false and misleading. Legal challenges to the election in Philadelphia were based on procedural issues, such as lack of meaningful observation of the ballot count, disallowing poll workers to observe early voting, and improper curing of ballots. No legal challenges in Philadelphia alleged voter fraud or the use of fraudulent ballots. These cases were dismissed based on technicalities and were not argued on the merits. (Note: this particular AP claim is recycled from the same AP fact-checker in February 2021 that I debunked previously here.)

Philadelphia
A poll watcher monitors the counting of ballots at the Allegheny County elections warehouse in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Nov. 6, 2020. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

AP: “Alleged ballot harvesters were captured on surveillance video wearing gloves because they didn’t want to leave their fingerprints on the ballots. … This is pure speculation. It ignores far more likely reasons for glove-wearing in the fall and winter of 2020—cold weather or COVID-19.”

The facts:  This is a ridiculous claim that proves the AP fact-checker did not watch the movie. First, the film clearly shows that glove-wearing by mules did not commence until the day after persons in Louisiana were indicted for election fraud due to fingerprint evidence collected by the FBI. Second, COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and is not transmitted by surface contact. Lastly, it ignores the fact that the mules were wearing surgical-type gloves that are not the type of glove that would keep anyone’s hands warm on a cold day.

AP: “This alleged scheme has not been proven, nor do these researchers have any way of knowing whether any ballots that were collected contained votes for Trump or for Biden.”

The facts: This is also false. TTV purposely chose Democrat-dominated metropolitan areas for most of their analysis. The likelihood that any significant number of the ballots delivered by the 2,000-plus mules were marked for Donald Trump defies common sense. Supporting evidence from the ballot batches counted in various locations showed an unusually high percentage of votes (over 90 percent) for Biden.

AP: “Absentee ballots are also verified by signature and tracked closely, often with an option for voters themselves to see where their ballot is at any given time. That process safeguards against anyone who tries to illegally cast extra ballots, according to Barry Burden, a University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor and the director of the Elections Research Project.”

The facts: This is also false. In Georgia, there was no signature match requirement between the absentee ballot and the signature on file with the voter’s registration. In Michigan, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson was found to have violated state law by instructing election workers not to compare ballot signatures.

AP: “‘It seems impossible in that system for a nefarious actor to dump lots of ballots that were never requested by voters and were never issued by election officials,’ Burden said.”

The facts: This is also false. The combination of bloated voter rolls and nefarious actors (for example, election workers, government and contract election administrators, election systems vendors, and NGOs) make it very easy to request and receive an absentee ballot on behalf of a dead voter or an eligible active voter by accessing electronic poll book data to determine who has yet to vote and then obtain an absentee ballot on that person’s behalf. This occurred in Wisconsin and in Maricopa County, Arizona.

The Biden disinformation board may be happy with this AP “fact-check” of “2000 Mules,” but discerning Americans recognize it for the misinformation and disinformation they have come to expect from media “fact-checkers” these days.

Conclusion

“Fact-checkers” are an important component of the left’s political tactics seeking to discredit all contrarian dissent. Not surprisingly, “fact-checking” has nothing to do with checking the facts but rather a tactic to discredit anything that effectively undermines the Democrat-media narrative.

The AP fact-checker’s attempt to debunk the movie “2000 Mules” was itself thoroughly debunked. She is a perfect fit for Biden’s new “disinformation board.”

In the meantime, watch the movie and decide for yourself.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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Stu Cvrk retired as a captain after serving 30 years in the U.S. Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. Through education and experience as an oceanographer and systems analyst, Cvrk is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received a classical liberal education that serves as the key foundation for his political commentary.