Google & Washpo Are Asked: ‘What Is It Called When a Fact Check Needs Fact Checking?’


Google searches about the claim that the Palestinian Authority pays terrorists includes a Washington Post fact check rating of “Two Pinocchios,” despite the New York Times recently issuing the “correction of the year” admitting that the PA does indeed pay terrorists — leading to fresh concerns about the quality of fact-checking by the Silicon Valley Masters of the Universe.

Despite a full correction in the New York Times, Google has still marked claims that the Palestinian Authority pays terrorists with a Washington Post “Two Pinocchios” ranking. This ranking would likely be marked as a “half-truth” or “partly-true” on most other fact-checking websites. Despite Google prominently including the Washington Post fact check in their search results, other media outlets have been forced to admit the truth of the story.

The New York Times article claimed reports that the Palestinian Authority paid the families of dead or imprisoned Palestinian terrorist a stipend was “fake news.” Shortly after the publication of the article, a full correction was amended, referred to by many as the “correction of the year.”  The correct reads:

An article on Sunday about Campbell Brown’s role as Facebook’s head of news partnerships erroneously included a reference to Palestinian actions as an example of the sort of far-right conspiracy stories that have plagued Facebook. In fact, Palestinian officials have acknowledged providing payments to the families of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Israelis or convicted of terrorist acts and imprisoned in Israel; that is not a conspiracy theory.

So the New York Times has acknowledged their mistake and admitted that the Palestinian Authority does indeed pay stipends to the families of dead or imprisoned terrorists. Why have Google and the Washington Post marked the claim as only partly true? Lahav Harkov, Knesset reporter and analyst for the Jerusalem Post, first noticed the dubious fact checking tag on Google. Harkov posted these screenshots to Twitter, tagging Google directly and requesting an explanation, adding, “What is it called when a fact check needs fact checking?”

The fact-checking tag is attached to an article by the Washington Post titled “Does the Palestinian Authority pay $350 million a year to ‘terrorists and their families’?” which admits that $350 million is paid by the Palestinian Authority to “martyrs,” the Washington Post just questions whether these people should be considered terrorists — despite their murder of Israeli citizens.

The article states:

A big problem is definitional. Netanyahu refers to “terrorists and their families.” In the Palestinian Authority’s budget, one can find $350 million in annual payments to Palestinian prisoners, “martyrs” and injured, but can one with certainty say they are all terrorists?

An Israeli prison pamphlet from 2007 says that 70 percent of Palestinian security prisoners were “sentenced for offenses that involve blood on their hands,” meaning they killed Israelis.

So why do Google and their Washpo fact checkers afford this article the fact-checking rank of “Two Pinocchios” rather than just “True”? Google has not responded to a request for comment from Breitbart News at the time of the writing of this article.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan_ or email him at