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Media Ratings Firm Ad Fontes Seemingly Shields Media that Falsely

Media ratings firm Ad Fontes turned a blind eye to the leftist media outlets that infamously ran the Hamas-driven Gaza hospital hoax, thus shielding their favorable ratings.

Ad Fontes, the self-anointed arbiter of truth and facts, has thus far refused to rate media outlets’ stories that preemptively accused Israel of bombing a Palestinian hospital in Gaza. Leftist outlets like The New York Times, Politico, Time Magazine and Reuters carelessly reported Hamas’s since-discredited claims that Israel caused the deaths of over 500 Palestinians after bombing a hospital. Outrageous anti-Israel headlines — like The Times’s “Israeli Strike Kills Hundreds in Hospital, Palestinians Say” — dominated early coverage and numerous homepages despite a lack of evidence to back such claims. Yet, Ad Fontes, which claims to rate the news on media reliability and bias, was nowhere to be found.

The pro-Hamas-driven headlines, which were plastered all over the homepages of the aforementioned liberal media outlets, mired President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel and influenced vile anti-Israel protests around the globe. Amidst the backlash, Ad Fontes was missing in action despite stating specifically on its website that “[f]or each news source, we pick a sample of articles that are most prominently featured on that source’s website over several news cycles.” How is it that Ad Fontes inexplicably missed such widespread, shoddy reporting?

Ad Fontes “Media Bias Chart” places The Times, Politico, Time Magazine and Reuters on the political left-of-center. It also considers all four of these media outlets reliable sources for information, with highly favorable scores above 40. As explained in our Sept. 21 exposé of Ad Fontes, the company selects a sample of articles from media entities and gives each media entity a score between 0 and 60. MRC exposed Ad Fontes, using its own data and statements, to show how it habitually abandons its own methodological framework to pursue its founder’s aggressive bias favoring the left. And here, a little over a month later, Ad Fontes’s actions in failing to rate the bad reporting of leftist outlets further underscores just how accurate our study was. 

Related: MRC ORIGINAL: Media Literacy Firm Rigged to Favor Left-Wing Media

In response to the findings, MRC Free Speech America Vice President Dan Schneider slammed the media ratings company. “Ad Fontes’s politicized leaders cherry pick the stories it chooses to evaluate, ignoring the whoppers their favorite liberal outlets publish, like the stories that run cover for the atrocities committed by Hamas,” Schneider said. “It is bad enough that Ad Fontes works to silence conservatives and others who disagree with their political agenda. It’s unforgivable that it protects the media outlets that inflame anti-Semites to engage in even more violence.”

Despite scathing criticism against the leftist outlets for running with Hamas’s disproven claims, Ad Fontes has since refused to rate any of the original articles that were embarrassingly disproven by both the U.S. and Israeli intelligence bodies. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) assessed that the parking lot bombing “was the result of a failed rocket launch by militant terrorists and not the result of an Israeli airstrike.” The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence similarly concluded that the bombing “was not the result of Israeli military action.” 

Rather than focusing on such a consequential news story, Ad Fontes waited nearly two weeks to rate a Times article about the hospital hoax, selecting a follow-up story headlined, “What We Know About the Explosion at the Hospital in Gaza.” The piece, as expected, served as a mea culpa for The Times, with the leftist newspaper giving both Israel and Hamas’s side of the story. Once again Ad Fontes disturbingly turned a blind eye to protect the leftist outlet amid mounting backlash and criticism.  

Moreover, Ad Fontes picked other seemingly innocuous articles to rate from The Times, including obituaries from 2015 and 2018, as samples to rate, thus allowing the infamous leftist outlets to maintain its relatively high scores. Notably, the latest Times piece that Ad Fontes bafflingly rated was an obituary of the late Lee Kuan Yew, the first premier of Singapore, who passed away in 2015. Yes, Ad Fontes resuscitated an almost nine year-old Times story and gave it a perfect score for bias of 0 and a high reliability score of 48.67. Just before that, the media ratings company also tapped another obituary of former professor Saba Mahmood, who passed away in 2018, giving it a 0 for bias and a high reliability score of 46.33. Ad Fontes also rated an article about a humanitarian aid deal for the Gaza Strip, giving it a relatively neutral bias score of -1.67 and a favorable score of 51 for reliability.

Ad Fontes did not stop there, however. It also cheered a Times article that painted Harvard students who signed an infamous pro-Hamas letter as victims. One of the most recent Times pieces Ad Fontes rated since the hospital hoax was a smear campaign against House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH). The piece — which was rated as a left-leaning, reliable news piece (-7.67 for bias and a 43.67 for reliability) — relied entirely on Democratic politicians and anti-Jordan Republicans to claim that if Jordan ascended to House Speaker, the GOP would be cemented as “an extreme group that is composed of Mr. Trump’s loyal foot soldiers.”

At the time of this review (Oct. 25), Ad Fontes had only rated three Reuters articles since the bombing hoax, including one that reported on Russia and China vetoing a U.S. push to call for the United Nations Security Council to respond to the Hamas terror attack in Israel. As expected, Ad Fontes gave the veto report a relatively neutral bias score of 1.33 f and a favorable reliability rating of 47.33. The other two articles Ad Fontes rated were rather innocuous. One was about the Russian Duma seeking to revoke a nuclear test ban treaty, and the second piece was on Google’s artificial intelligence. The two articles received identical scores of 0 for bias and 48.67 for reliability respectively. Strikingly, the Duma article was initially published the day of the alleged bombing.

The so-called media ratings company has not rated any news articles on Time Magazine and Politico since the outlets ran Hamas’s anti-Israel propaganda.

Mounting backlash from The Times outrageous reporting prompted the outlet to issue an apology, albeit six days later. In an editor’s note published on Oct. 22, The Times dismissively acknowledged its mistake. “Given the sensitive nature of the news during a widening conflict, and the prominent promotion it received, Times editors should have taken more care with the initial presentation, and been more explicit about what information could be verified,” The Times wrote.

Both Politico and Time Magazine posted a syndicated news piece from The Associated Press (AP) to further push pro-Hamas propaganda. “Hundreds killed in Israeli airstrike on Gaza City hospital, Health Ministry says,” AP’s original headline read. Adding to the pro-Hamas sensationalism, the news outlet added, “If confirmed, the attack would be by far the deadliest Israeli airstrike in five wars fought since 2008.” Both Politico and Time Magazine appear to have stealth-edited their pieces to reflect new information published by AP.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact ABC News (818) 460-7477, CBS News (212) 975-3247 and NBC News (212) 664-6192 and demand they report on Ad Fontes’s egregious left-wing bias.

Read More: Media Ratings Firm Ad Fontes Seemingly Shields Media that Falsely

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