Checking up on the Catholic fact-checkers
A year has passed since prominent Catholic news outlets joined in an international consortium to launch CatholicFactChecking.com. The goal of the effort, the organizers said, was “to help to clarify fake news and misleading information about vaccines against Covid-19.”
Although it was generously funded, as part of a $3-million Google initiative, CatholicFactChecking.com had very little impact. In fact I did not become aware of the effort until January, when I suggested that it was Just what we don’t need. Like so many other “fact-checking” efforts, I observed, CatholicFactChecking.com presented a completely one-sided view, extolling the benefits of vaccination and downplaying any suggestion that the jab might be unethical, unnecessary, or unsafe.
Months have passed, now, since I offered that criticism. Recently on a tip from an alert reader, I checked back on the CatholicFactChecking.com site, to see what new information the site has provided in those months. The answer: none at all.
The home page looks exactly the same. The latest news (of any kind, true or false) is from late 2021. The listed resources—all enthusiastically supporting vaccination—have not changed. If there is any “misinformation” debunked on the site, I have not found it.
To be perfectly honest, after expressing my skepticism about CatholicFactChecking.com at the beginning of the calendar year, I didn’t hear anything about the site again; the effort generated no discernible waves in the Catholic media world. So I hadn’t really been paying attention. I guess I wasn’t alone. I wonder if the Google donors think they got their money’s worth.
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