Boris Reitschuster is a popular German vlogger and journalist. The following article from his website discusses the tendentious efforts by a well-known and supposedly independent fact-checking organization.
Many thanks to Hellequin GB for the translation:
Correctiv shoots themselves in the leg during fact check
Truth-guards co-financed by the taxpayer embarrass themselves
These days, if you report critically, you will rapidly have the fact-checker on your back. In recent years the self-appointed truth keepers have sprung up like mushrooms around the world, often with opaque financing models.
The best-known “fact-checkers” in Germany are the “fact fox” of the Bavarian broadcasting company, the “fact finder” of the Tagesschau, the agitation portal Volksverpetzer, and the self-proclaimed research network Correctiv.
Correctiv refutes the quote on the basis of a wrong source
This is about Correctiv. There, on November 17, a fact check was published on an allegedly false quote from DIVI [Deutsche Interdisziplinäre Vereinigung für Intensiv- und Notfallmedizin] President Gernot Marx.
The quote reads: “We are currently registering a strong increase like last year. The big difference, however, is that we have 4,000 fewer intensive care beds available today than in 2020.” (Gernot Marx, President DIVI)
The content of the quote is therefore the significant reduction in beds in hospitals. Correctiv writes: “However, essential context is left out and the myth is fueled that intensive care beds were dismantled in Germany during the pandemic.”
So the dismantling of beds is just a myth? Regardless of the quote in question, this fact can be understood by everyone on the DIVI website.
A rather clumsy attempt to twist the facts.
Regarding the quote, Correctiv claims: “Context is missing: Gernot Marx’s complete statement does not indicate that beds have been dismantled.”
Corrective claims to have researched the quote. The alleged source mentioned is from an interview by the MDR on October 26, 2021, which was quoted in the Ärzteblatt on October 26, 2021.
Professor Marx, how do you assess the current situation in the intensive care units with regard to covid-19 patients?
Gernot Marx: Here at the Aachen University Clinic, the situation is still balanced, but the strain is increasing significantly across Germany. On Wednesday we had 2,136 intensive care patients with Covid-19; 52% of these had to be ventilated. Currently, 60-80 new patients are added nationwide every day In September the situation was stable for a long time with 1,400 Covid-19 patients; now we are registering a strong increase, as in the previous year. The big difference, however, is that we now have 4,000 fewer intensive care beds than in the previous year.
Source: Aachener Zeitung, 4. November 2021
However, the quote is correct and complete, as it was reproduced above, printed in the Aachener Zeitung of November 4, 2021. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the attentive reader who pointed out the incident.
The impression that Correctiv gives that the quote is “taken out of context” or misleading is absurd.
The “research network” obviously has difficulties exercising its own core competence — the correct research. What could be more natural than to contact the person involved directly to have the authenticity confirmed? With Correctiv you try to research online instead, but don’t do it thoroughly and end up with the wrong source.
Errors in research happen, no question about it. Especially if there is no editorial team behind the author to check everything again meticulously.
It becomes uncomfortable when such sloppy research happens on a subject that is relatively easy to validate.
However, with a “research network” that is so committed to troubleshooting and truthfulness, perhaps other standards can be applied. After all, they pride themselves on fighting fake news on the Internet. “Whether tax fraud, illegal party financing or targeted fake news — we want to make visible where power is abused,” says the website.
Correctiv hardly cares about the “power” or the “powerful”, which they also indirectly subsidize through taxpayers’ money. Instead, it constantly bombards those who criticize these powerful people who are helping to finance Correctiv.
Correctiv swims in money
In any case, the financial means to be able to carry out a thorough research would be available.
In total, Correctiv received donations of over €2.4 million in 2021 alone. Of this, around €885,000 allegedly from private supporters. Thanks to the non-profit status, they can in turn deduct their donations from taxes — which the taxpayer has to pay. The remaining money came from various foundations, companies and political institutions.
George Soros’ Open Societies Foundation (€70,240.54), the Omidyar Network Foundation by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar (€ 414,078.67), the Schöpflin Foundation (€ 250,000.00), but also Google (€ 150,000.00) and the State Chancellery des Landes NRW (€ 218,886.00) are among the supporters of various Correctiv projects this year.
The selfless service to the community is worthwhile. The Correctiv logo reads: “Research for society”. Who could doubt that with such highly respected donors?
However, it would certainly be welcome there if the incorrectly made factual allegations were a little less easy to refute, since otherwise the image of the highlighted devotion to the facts crumbles badly.
Although this image has never looked good for an organization that has dedicated itself to the fight against the abuse of power, but at the same time allows itself to be financed to a considerable extent by the “powerful”.