Thomson-Reuters Fact-Checkers Financially Tied to Pfizer

By Michelle Edwards -February 3, 2022

UnderCover DC

In its “Trust Principles,” news organization Thomson Reuters pledges its obligation and commitment to “supply unbiased and reliable news services” to the many outlets it serves.


Mr. Jim Smith represents Reuters as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. He is also a Director of Pfizer, Inc., serving on the company’s Board since 2014. Known as James C. Smith at Pfizer, he is a member of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Partnering Against Corruption Initiative and the Forum’s International Business Council. Additionally, he serves on the International Advisory Boards of British American Business and the Atlantic Council.


Interestingly, Thomson Reuters Corp.—a $40 billion international multimedia company—is a significant and growing force in the “fact check” world, with a fact-checking unit based in its editorial department. Partnered with Facebook’s third-party fact-checking program since February 2021, the principal aim of the unit is to “fact-check visual material and claims posted on social media.”

Notably, when announcing the launch of its fact-checking initiative to identify misinformation in partnership with Facebook, Reuters made no mention of its ties to Pfizer, the WEF, or Trusted News Initiative (TNI). Instead, when explaining its new mission, the world’s largest multimedia news provider reported its initiative was an extension of its current long and trusted history of media verification efforts. Elaborating that the fact-checking objective would occur “in the run-up to the U.S. election and beyond,” Jess April, Reuters Director of Global Partnerships, said at the time:


“We are steadfastly recognizing the magnitude of misinformation taking place around the world. It’s a growing issue that impacts society daily, and it’s a responsibility for news organizations and platforms to halt the spread of false news. Reuters has a superior track record in sourcing, verifying, and clearing user-generated content for distribution to thousands of clients globally and we are best placed in using our in-house expertise to fact check social media content.”

Following its censorship alliance with Facebook, Thomson Reuters—who received funds from TNI to combat the “spread of harmful vaccine disinformation”—partnered with Twitter. The association marked the first time the tech oligarchy collaborated with any news organization to monitor information on its site. At the time, Hazel Baker, global head of user-generated content (UGC) newsgathering at Reuters, said in a statement:


“Trust, accuracy, and impartiality are at the heart of what Reuters does every day … those values also drive our commitment to stopping the spread of misinformation.”


On June 28, 2021, Dr. Robert Malone, who has since been banned from Twitter, pointed out Reuter’s potential conflict of interest on the social media platform. As reported by the Defender, Twitter didn’t censor or remove Malone’s post, but when he posted the same information on LinkedIn, he was banned from the platform the next day for violating the platform’s “User Agreement and Professional Community Policies against sharing content that contains misleading or inaccurate information.”

Sometime after Malone’s tweet, Mr. Smith removed his LinkedIn profile noting his loyalty to Pfizer and Thomson Reuters. Fortunately, it has been archived and is referenced in the screenshot below. Dr. Malone—a staunch advocate for patient safety and medical freedom—remains suspended from both LinkedIn and Twitter. He is heavily censored like many COVID-19 treatment alternatives to “vaccines” (such as Ivermectin, which has been consistently discredited and mischaracterized).

In an interview last August with the Defender, Dr. Malone talked about the thought process behind his Twitter and LinkedIn posts about Reuters and its conflicts of interest. According to him and the reactions the posts provoked, it very much matters that Reuters has partnered with social media companies to call out what its fact-checkers determine is “misinformation.” Citing the lack of transparency and obvious “journalistic conflict of interest,” Malone explained:


“I was a little bit tongue and cheek with the question. But if you go back to the LinkedIn post, there were a huge number of responses to it where people were unanimously saying this is absolutely a conflict of interest.


What we have here is this horizontal integration across pharma, big tech, big media, government, and traditional media. It’s not just the Trusted News Initiative. It goes beyond. The same thing is true with Merck and all the others. Pfizer is really playing quite aggressively here.”


Indeed, with no background rooted in science or health, fact-checkers can shut down online communication between scientists and doctors by flagging or deleting posts. With a reference page on the “wider newsgathering process” that no longer exists, Reuters fails to provide any definitive standards for how information comes to be labeled as “misinformation.” Likewise, the $1.53 billion publicly-traded company does not disclose the qualifications of the fact-checking individuals tasked with deciding what information is “fact” and what is deceiving “misinformation.”


SOURCE: UnderCover DC


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