The Poynter Institute, an organization that masquerades itself as a…watchdog…built a list of what it claimed to be unreliable news outlets and then urged censorship through boycotting these offending outlets. “Unreliable,” mind you, was determined by Poynter personnel. Then they got caught, and they’re claiming to have withdrawn their list.
Here are two critical clues to the nature of their list. One is [emphasis added]:
…initially released a list of more than 500 “unreliable” news outlets purportedly “built from pre-existing databases compiled by journalists, fact-checkers, and researchers around the country.”
Even those purported researchers were carefully unnamed.
And this one:
The index was created with the help of an employee for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
That’s by itself is a fatal condemnation.
From those two clues, it’s clear that the Poynter Institute got exactly what it was looking for. It just got caught, like the Ezra Klein’s JournoList of a few short years ago.
Do we have, though, any reason to believe the list actually has been scrapped? Or is it merely being better hidden? Like that JournoList. This is, after all, a long-established member of the NLMSM. The Managing Editor of Poynter, Barbara Allen, had this about that in her statement:
[W]e are removing this unreliable sites list until we are able to provide our audience a more consistent and rigorous set of criteria. The list was intended to be a starting place for readers and journalists to learn more about the veracity of websites that purported to offer news; it was not intended to be definitive or all encompassing
In other words, they’ll be back with a more effectively disguised version of their attempt at censorship, a censorship goal made plain by her next sentence. A starting place for readers and journalists to learn more about the veracity of websites, indeed. A “starting place” written by journalists and JournoList members who will define for us “veracity,” because we’re too stupid to recognize it on our own.
And not intended to be definitive…. Yewbetcha.