Each week, AllSides delivers a brief summary of notable fact checks and adjacent coverage across the media spectrum.
Fact Check From the Right
Last week, National Review’s Forgotten Fact Checks column called the recent collapse of Hunter Biden’s plea deal “an inflection point” that made Hunter’s “wrongdoings… harder for the mainstream media to ignore.”
National Review cited comments from several CNN opinion (Left bias) analysts like Jake Tapper and Shan Wu, NBC News’ (Lean Left bias) Chuck Todd and Brendan Buck, and an essay from The Washington Post (Lean Left bias) which expressed increased concerns toward Hunter Biden’s current legal situation and the Biden administration’s handling of it so far.
Tapper, from whom National Review cited several different analyses, was quoted in an interview with Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) as saying Hunter “was about to plead guilty to some of the things he did wrong. Does the president need to stop publicly saying his son did nothing wrong?”
A perspective from NBC’s Buck noted the shifting media and public perception of the case: “It was very easy for a long time for Democrats to just say, well that’s stuff on the crazy right… and now if it’s going to be in trial, it’s going to be in front-page news everywhere.”
National Review also noted Tapper said President Biden, while potentially involved in his son’s business dealings (knowingly or not), hasn’t yet been proven to have done anything illegal. Nonetheless, Tapper said, “Some of the political questions being raised by Republicans have merit.”
In the column, National Review also noted a community fact-checked tweet regarding unauthorized migrant deaths from Democratic strategist Sawyer Hackett, and a deleted, then corrected tweet from Politico (Lean Left bias) regarding payments from entities in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan to Biden family members.
National Review also gave props to Politifact (Lean Left bias) for “offering a solid fact-check” on Kamala Harris’ claim that she enjoys “great approval ratings.”
Fact Check From the Left
Over the past few weeks, a Facebook post claiming lab-grown meat that’s been approved for sale in the United States is actually made with human cells made its rounds on Facebook. Originally posted on July 26, the post has been shared 448 times at the time of writing.
USA Today rated the claim “False” and added context around lab-grown meat. The publication said there are only two companies allowed to sell “lab-grown” (the term “lab-grown” was marked in quotations each time USA Today mentioned it) meat in the U.S., UPSIDE Foods and GOOD Meats, and both claim to use animal cells, not human ones. It said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also claims the production involves animal cells.
Carrie Kabat, a spokesperson for GOOD Meat, said the animal cells used to cultivate meat products are fed “the same types of nutrients animals need to grow," and that "the entire process takes place in a safe and controlled environment that looks like a beer brewery."
The fact check was not USA Today’s first foray into the space of cultivated meats. The publication has also “debunked” claims about lab-grown meats being sold without labels, cultivated from animal cancer cells, and used by KFC.
USA Today said it reached out to the Facebook user who made the claim for comment but did not hear back.
Fact Check From the Center
In light of the recent coup d'état in which a militant force unseated the democratically elected president of Niger, a post circulated on Instagram claiming the country banned exports of uranium to France and other European Union countries in protest of “French exploitation.” It alleged this ban was linked to Kremlin influence.
For context, Niger is one of the world’s largest uranium producers and supplies the EU with 25% of its stock. While the Kremlin has condemned the coup in Niger, Russian Wagner mercenary group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin hailed it as a stand against Western colonialism.
The Instagram post said Niger’s ban of uranium exports to the EU compound with the union’s refusal of Russian oil has created an energy crisis in Europe. However, Reuters debunked the claim, saying Niger has not announced a halt in uranium exports to Europe, and that the EU has not entirely weaned itself off Russian oil yet.
Reuters also highlighted a statement from the federally-run Euratom (European Atomic Energy Community) that said there would be no immediate threat to European nuclear power production should Niger cut its exports. It also gave context on some EU countries that are still receiving Russian oil in some way: Hungary, Slovakia, Czechia, and Bulgaria.
Reuters ruled the claims regarding Niger’s ban on uranium exports and Europe’s refusal of Russian oil as “False and misleading.”
Why We’re Watching the Fact Checkers
Whether the product of a carefully coordinated propaganda campaign or an innocent mistake by a journalist or social media user, misinformation is inevitable. Because of this, many fact checkers have popped up as their own entities, like Snopes (Lean Left bias), or as part of an existing outlet, like National Review (Right bias).
Fact checkers aim to get to the bottom of claims that may or may not be true. But sometimes, they themselves become part of the problem, such as by only fact checking one side, drawing subjective conclusions about what the facts mean, or showing bias by downplaying or playing up certain facts.
At AllSides, we’ve highlighted the types of bias fact checkers are most prone to, and developed the AllSides Fact Check Bias Chart™ so readers can easily identify bias and similarities in fact checking coverage.
This piece was reviewed by Henry A. Brechter, Editor-in-chief (Center bias), Julie Mastrine, Director of Marketing and Media Bias Ratings (Lean Right bias), and Joseph Ratliff, Daily News Editor (Lean Left bias).