by UnHerd Staff
Tuesday, 4
October 2022
Video
15:00

Freddie Sayers: We need to fact-check the fact-checkers

The response to misinformation is more dangerous than the original problem
by UnHerd Staff

Speaking at this year’s HowTheLightGetsIn festival at Kenwood House in Hampstead, UnHerd’s Executive Editor Freddie Sayers claimed that an obsession with misinformation is resulting in a certain kind of expert shutting down any views which go against accepted wisdom. Freddie was appearing on a panel titled ‘Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers’ and in the remarks above he responds to the event’s central dilemma: do we really need fact-checkers?

The full debate will be released on the festival’s online platform IAI.TV soon. The next HowTheLightGetsIn festival will be returning to Hay, Wales from 26-29 May 2023.


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Albireo Double
Albireo Double
2 months ago

You have only to read who funds some of the so-called fact-checkers to realise what is going on.
Many of the funders are the usual woke, leftist suspects. Running any form of charity nowadays is a viable career plan for self enrichment, and if you can combine enrichment with influence, you’ve hit the jackpot.
See for yourself. Here is a link to the relevant page on “Full Fact”

Last edited 2 months ago by Albireo Double
Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
2 months ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

The modern charity sector resembles the church of the Ancien Régime. It has done much good but increasingly, it has become gravy train for the children of the elites.

Last edited 2 months ago by Matthew Powell
Zenobia Storah
Zenobia Storah
2 months ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

Wow. Thanks for that link.
What an eye opener:
‘ We have rigorous safeguards in place at every level of our organisation to ensure our neutrality. These have been carefully constructed based on advice from our board and examples ranging from Amnesty International to the BBC.’
Amnesty International and the BBC to ensure ‘neutrality’?? Explains so much. How depressing.

Peter B
Peter B
2 months ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

So the really large donations seem to be dominated by Facebook. With a bit of Google thrown in. And some WhatsApp – no sorry, that’s just Facebook again isn’t it …
It’s quite a stretch to assume that an organisation whose funding appears to be dominated by Facebook is quite as impartial as it claims.
It is also worth considering for a moment whether the work Full Fact undertakes for Facebook is used in any content censorship policies that Facebook applies. One might also question whether that process is as transparent and accountable as Full Fact would demand from organisations it critiques.

Jez Burns
Jez Burns
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Just one strand out of a potential multitude: Facebook is the biggest contributor to Full Fact. Facebook’s ‘Climate Fact Checking Committee’ has former Danish PM Hella Thorning-Schmidt as co-chair. In 2019, she became a director of Danish turbine manufacturer, Vestas. She is also a director at the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, and was a member of the ’21st Century Council’ of the Berggruen Institute. Part of its mission statement reads:
“The Council has advised and met with chairs of the annual G-20 summit and organized regular “Understanding China” meetings with President Xi Jinping and other top leaders in Beijing in 2013, 2015, 2018, and 2019. In the wake of the anti-globalization backlash that brought nationalist and populist movements to power in major countries, the Council has focused on how to harness globalization so that it works for all and how to prevent the redivision of the world into hostile geopolitical blocs.”
To imagine these people do not have a globalist, let alone establishment agenda would be extremely naïve. ‘Fact checking’ organisations exist only to protect the interests and advance the agenda of the political and economic elites, and effectively act as their propaganda arm.

Last edited 2 months ago by jezburns77
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 months ago
Reply to  Jez Burns

Like you have described in your post, I too occasionally follow the trail of names and organizations and they almost always lead to the same sordid suspects, George Soros’ Open Society being a big one.

Jason Highley
Jason Highley
2 months ago

Why is it so hard for the common man to understand that a wealthy, powerful regime has a vested interest in controlling information in order to prop up their own power? That’s all fact checking is – an attempt to control “truth”, often in torturous and deceptive ways. Soooooo many fell for the “fact” “checker” marketing hype on this one. I try to wake people up, but it’s the ultimate Sisyphean task. It’s depressing.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason Highley

To coin a phrase: you can’t wake up the woke.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 months ago

May I just say, in this context fullfact.org is particularly poor – never been impressed by the framework they set to fact check something, nor by the quality of their research.

Art C
Art C
2 months ago

Not only the funding, but also the ownership of the “fact-checkers” tells you all you need to know. Case in point is Jim Smith, who sits on Pfizer’s board, and is also former president and current chairman of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, and CEO and director of Reuters parent company, Thomson Reuters Corporation. Reuters fact-checking was some of the most censorious of all media outlets on covid vaccine critics. With these sorts of conflicts of interest it’s no wonder that no-one takes “misinformation” flags issued by fact-checkers seriously!

Last edited 2 months ago by Art C
Albireo Double
Albireo Double
2 months ago



Last edited 2 months ago by Albireo Double
Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
2 months ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

Albireo, URLs are,I believe, autostripped. You will have to disguise it by using re al word s – if you see what I mean.

Xinhang Shen
Xinhang Shen
2 months ago

UnHerd’s Executive Editor Freddie Sayers claimed that an obsession with misinformation is resulting in a certain kind of expert shutting down any views which go against accepted wisdom.”
Yes, this is the current biggest problem in modern physics. The leading journals rejecting all anti-relativity papers unconditionally, while the mistake of special relativity is so obvious that everybody can understand: a real clock can only show the time calculated from the product of a fixed period (a constant) and its recorded number of periods which is absolute i.e. the same observed from all reference frames, but the time of special relativity is the product of the variable period and its recorded number of periods which a clock can never show because it never knows the variable period that is different observed from different reference frames. Clock time and relativistic time are totally different variables but the mainstream physicists including Einstein simply equate them without proof (see a one page summary: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/364090735_Disproving_Special_Relativity). I tried journals: Nature and Science, but they rejected without any reason, and then I published a paper on Physics Essays (https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/pe/pe/2016/00000029/00000001/art00019;jsessionid=7ms25lapr44dh.x-ic-live-03 ), then they don’t recognized it because it is not a leading journal. Here is a deadlock.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 months ago
Reply to  Xinhang Shen

That is the trouble: Special relativity was proposed 115 years ago, and ever since then many people have tried to prove it was an obvious mistake. So far all of them have been refuted, as far as the physics community is concerned. You can hardly blame them for not wanting to keep rehashing a discussion that has been running for over a century – if they did that they would never have time to settle anything and move on to something new. In order to get physicists to pay attention to your publication you would need as a minimum either new, solid data or an argument that is different from anything that people have come up with before.

Last edited 2 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
Xinhang Shen
Xinhang Shen
2 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

My approach is completely new, but those physicists simply ignore it. Actually, you can judge it yourself: clock time is determined by a constant (i.e. absolute) period which makes its displayed time absolute.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 months ago
Reply to  Xinhang Shen

It does not sound new to me – I tried briefly to prove the theory wrong once myself, before I gave up, so I know some of the traps. It will not convince you, but I think I can guess the counterargument: The period is only constant if everybody agrees how fast the clock is going. In your world they will all agree. In the world of special relativity, some observers will think the clock is fast (so the period is shorter) and some will think it is slow (so the period is longer). Either theory will give consistent results – no paradoxes – if it is applied correctly. The only way to choose between them is to see where they predict different experimental results, and check which set of predictions come true. And here you are up against a century of experimental physicists.

Last edited 2 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
Xinhang Shen
Xinhang Shen
2 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Yes, relativists think that the period is not fixed when it is observed from different reference frames, but the clock never knows the period and thus it always uses its fixed period (a constant) to calculate the elapsed time. It is this mechanism of a physical clock that makes clock time always absolute. Please read my one page summary at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/364090735_Disproving_Special_Relativity.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 months ago
Reply to  Xinhang Shen

I have read it. We are not going to agree.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 months ago
Reply to  Xinhang Shen

I think I can see one problem. You are saying that.

“For a cesium clock, the clock time is always counted as the number of cycles divided by a constant: 9192631770”

but the constant depends on the frequency. In fact the constant *is* the frequency (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesium_standard#Time_and_frequency). So if the frequency changes in a different coordinate system, as you say it does, the constant will change too. And if k does not have the same value in the different circumstances, your equations do not hold.

Xinhang Shen
Xinhang Shen
2 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The problem is that the clock always uses the same constant in calculating its displayed time, and never uses and never knows the variable frequency. The variable frequency only stays in relativity, never in real clocks.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 months ago
Reply to  Xinhang Shen

The clock (of course) always uses the frequency that is appropriate in the coordinate system where it is at rest. Which is always the same number. The problem comes in when you have two clocks moving relative to one another. No matter which coordinate system you use, the two clocks will not agree. What then?

Last edited 2 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 months ago
Reply to  Xinhang Shen

Again, it will not convince you, but this link shows a real-life proof of relativity. Basically, muons are created in the upper athmosphere by cosmic radiation, and can be observed at the earth’s surface. We can observe where they are created, we can measure their speed, so we know how long it takes for them to reach the surface. We also know, because we have measured it, the lifetime of a muon (strictly speaking half-life = decay rate). We could say that we are comparing two moving clocks, a ‘muon clock’ that measures time by the decay of muons, and a normal cesium clock down in the observatory. And the two clocks do not agree. A simple classical calculation shows that we should observe almost no muons down at sea level, because they should all have disintegrated before they get there. Yet we do see muons, a lot more than expected. The theory of relativity can explain why. Of course there could be another theory that explained it as well, or even better. But if you want to convince people, let alone physicists that your theory is better, you need to be able to explain this kind of result.

Explanation: An observer moving with the muon will see the muons decay as fast as they always do – but will see the distance through the atmosphere as much shorter than the 10km we see it, so that the muons have time to make it to the bottom. An observer on earth will see that time is moving more slowly for the muon, so they do not decay as fast. The end result is the same for both.

Last edited 2 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
Xinhang Shen
Xinhang Shen
2 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I have already shown in the article that special relativity itself indicates that relativistic effects won’t appear in any physical process because any change of a physical process is always the product of relativistic time and relativistic changing rate. Relativistic changing rate of a physical process on a moving frame similar to the frequency of the moving clock becomes faster, which cancels the effect of time dilation (i.e. time becoming shorter) of relativistic time of the moving frame to make their product always the same as that of the corresponding physical process in the stationary frame. Therefore, we can never see relativistic effects in any physical process. All so-called relativistic effects are misinterpretations of other effects, for example, extending the life-spans of muons is very likely the effect of aether dynamics.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 months ago
Reply to  Xinhang Shen

It is entirely possible that the theory of relativity is wrong and that the lifetime of muons is being extended by aether dynamics – which would be an alternative theory. To start convincing physicists all you now need to do is to work out your theory so that it can reliably predict all the results that the theory of relativity can predict, and preferably some that the theory of relativity can not. Then you can demand a hearing. Until then, you are asking them to reject a theory that has been working in practice for a hundred years without proposing a replacement – all because of a glaring error that is obvious to you but that somehow all the best physicists of the past century have missed. You cannot blame them for preferring the alternative explanation – to wit that the mistake is on your side, not theirs.

Xinhang Shen
Xinhang Shen
2 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You are right. I am working on aether dynamics, but it’s extremely difficult because it is governed by non-linear partial differential equations similar to Euler Equations and Navier-Stokes Equations. What I am trying is to let people know the obvious fatal mistake of special relativity that makes all relativistic theories wrong. They should abandon them as early as possible and redirect all resources to the study of aether dynamics which may explain the particle-wave duality, dark matter, dark energy, and many other phenomena, but not all We are still far from the theory of everything..