Facebook ‘Fact-checker’ Poynter Concerned White House Correspondents’ Dinner Could Be ‘Disastrous’ Under Trump

President Barack Obama speaks during the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner on April 30, 2016 at the Washington Hilton hotel in Washington, DC. This is President Obama's eighth and final White House Correspondents' Association dinner (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

TEL AVIV – Donald Trump has not even been sworn in, yet the group helping Facebook determine whether certain news stories are “disputed” is already expressing concern that the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner four months from now could be “disastrous” under the coming Trump presidency.

“What will the White House correspondents’ dinner look like under President Trump?” was the title of an article written by James Warren, chief media writer for the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

In the article, posted on Poynter’s website, Warren claims the U.S. has “never had a president-elect who so openly disdains much of the media — and won in part by ridiculing the ‘swamp’ of politicians, lobbyists and press that largely comprise the 3,000 attendees at Washington’s celebrity-filled, self-reverential social event of the year.”

Warren compared the possible Trump-media showdown to “disastrous” dinners in Hollywood movies:

It could be a dinner akin to the disastrous ones in “Meet the Parents,” “Talladega Nights” and “Wedding Crashers.”

Or maybe “American Beauty,” where newly unemployed Kevin Spacey turns to his wife (Annette Bening) and daughter (Thora Birch) and says with dark, Spacey-ish foreboding, “Will someone please pass me the f*cking asparagus?”

Warren cited two unnamed former members of the Correspondents’ Association board as “confirm[ing] the mutual Trump-press wariness has brought ample informal discussion among current and former board members pertaining to what could play out.”

The Poynter columnist speculated whether Trump will attempt to “strong-arm” the association.

He wrote:

Remember when he tried to force CNN to acknowledge his ratings power by saying he wouldn’t show at one of their Republican presidential debates unless they gave millions of dollars to charity? Well, why not do likewise here potentially, maybe strong-arm the association into selling the TV rights?

The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), which is a project of the Poynter Institute, drafted a code of five principles for news websites to accept, and Facebook last week explained it will work with “third-party fact-checking organizations” that are signatories to the code of principles.

Facebook says that if the “fact checking organizations” determine that a certain story is fake, it will get flagged as disputed and, according to the Facebook announcement, “there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why. Stories that have been disputed may also appear lower in News Feed.”

Breitbart News last week reported that a cursory search of the Poynter Institute website finds that Poynter’s IFCN is openly funded by billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, and the U.S. government-funded National Endowment for Democracy.

Poynter’s IFCN is also funded by the Omidyar Network, which is the nonprofit for liberal billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. The Omidyar Network has partnered with Open Society on numerous projects and has given grants to third parties using the Soros-funded Tides Foundation. Tides is one of the largest donors to left-wing causes in the U.S.

Another significant Poynter Institute donor is the Craig Newmark Foundation, the charitable organization established by Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark. Last Monday, just days before the announcement of the Facebook partnership, Poynter issued a press release revealing that Newmark donated $1 million to the group to fund a faculty chair in journalism ethics.

States the press release:

The gift will support a five-year program at Poynter that focuses on verification, fact-checking and accountability in journalism. It’s the largest donation Poynter’s ever received from an individual foundation.

The Newmark Chair will expand on Poynter’s teaching in journalism ethics and develop certification programs for journalists that commit to ethical decision-making practices. The faculty member will also organize an annual conference on ethics issues at Poynter and be a regular contributor to Poynter.org.

Newmark funds scores of liberal groups also financed by Soros, including the Sierra Club, the New America Foundation, and the Sunlight Foundation.

Newmark also finances the investigative journalism group called the Center for Public Integrity, where he serves on the board.  Soros’ Open Society is another Public Integrity donor.

Soros has earned his megafortune in part by short-selling currencies and causing economic crises. He is credited with breaking the pound on September 16, 1992 on a day that became known in Britain as “Black Wednesday.”  He reportedly made $1.2 billion from that crisis.  In 2002, he was convicted of insider trading.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

With research by Brenda J. Elliott.



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