A science organization that fact-checked Live Action content “fell short” of International Fact-Checking Network standards, IFCN announced Friday.
IFCN initiated an investigation on Sept. 11 into whether Health Feedback, an arm of the verified IFCN signatory Science Feedback, had violated its non-partisanship and fairness standards. The investigation found Science Feedback fell short of the standards when fact-checking the anti-abortion organization’s founder Lila Rose.
“The failure to declare to their readers that two individuals who assisted Science Feedback, not in writing the fact-check but in reviewing the evidence, had positions within advocacy organizations, and the failure to clarify their role to readers, fell short of the standards required of IFCN signatories,” an IFCN press release said.
“This has been communicated to Science Feedback,” it added. (RELATED: In Check On Live Action, Fact Checkers Cited Doctor Who Openly Spewed Hate For Anti-Abortion Groups)
The Aug. 30 fact check, published in Health Feedback, targeted an Aug. 9 video that included the statement “abortion is never medically necessary.” The fact check rated Rose’s statement as “inaccurate” and “misleading.”
IFCN is a unit of the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit journalism school and research organization. A Poynter spokesman told the Daily Caller News Foundation Science Feedback did not violate IFCN’s Code of Principles.
“The failure to disclose those two affiliations were not among the best practices required by our code of principles,” the spokesman told the DCNF. “But since their fact-check was written by their science editor and the scientists’ role was limited to reviewing the evidence, there was no decision made by IFCN to take any ramifications against them.”
IFCN brought on an independent assessor to review the fact check: assistant professor of multimedia journalism at Lebanese American University Sarphan Uzunoglu, who IFCN said “has never taken ‘pro-choice’ advocacy positions.”
“Science Feedback’s conclusion appears sound and fair, based on the best evidence,” Uzunoglu said in a statement. “Their fact-check is an accurate attempt to inform readers on the veracity of a claim and strictly adheres to their scientific fact-checking methodology.”
“Their decision to fact-check the claim fits with the mission of the organization to fact check claims about important topics, and shows no evidence of bias in the selection process,” he said.
The fact check originally cited Drs. Daniel Grossman and Robyn Schickler. An updated version from Sept. 11 also listed feedback from Dr. Alexis Shub and cited Dr. Jennifer Gunter, author of “The Vagina Bible.”
“Certain medical conditions such as placenta previa and HELLP syndrome can make abortion a necessary medical procedure in order to prevent the mother’s death,” the fact check reads.
“In situations where a fetus has not developed sufficiently, it would not be possible for expedited delivery to save its life,” it said.
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