FactCheck comes clean on political affiliations

It was some time ago, but a lot of people appear not to have noticed.

Annenbergs and Reagan in the White House

President Reagan talking to Leonore Annenberg and Walter Annenberg at the President’s birthday party in the East Room, February 6, 1981. Photo from the Ronald Reagan Library

FactCheck.org, the group at the University of Pennsylvania that checks the accuracy of political ads and political statements, made a disclosure of its political leanings — in a post way back in 2009.

The truth?  Right here:

President Reagan, in 1981, spent all or part of 42 days away from the White House “on vacation” at his home in Santa Barbara, Calif, according to Knoller. President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, also spent three or four days around New Year’s Day each year in Palm Springs, Calif., at the home of philanthropist Walter Annenberg. (In 1993 the late Mr. Annenberg founded the nonpartisan Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, which is FactCheck.org’s parent organization.)

So there you have it, in FactCheck’s own words — they’re connected to Ronald Reagan through Walter Annenberg.

So, the next time someone tells you FactCheck.org is founded and run by “libruls,” send ’em here to see the real photographic evidence.


Walter Annenberg, Ronald Reagan, and hangers on, December 31, 1985

Official White House photo: From left, Walter Annenberg, President Ronald Reagan, Charles Price, William French Smith, George Shultz, and Donald Regan, December 31, 1985. Photo taken at Annenberg’s estate, Sunnylands: “Sunnylands, the impeccably haute-moderne Shangri-la completed in Rancho Mirage, California, in 1966 by the late billionaire publisher, philanthropist, and power broker Walter Annenberg and his wife, Lee, was a haven for presidents and monarchs, stars and tycoons: the history-makers of the late 20th century.”

26 Responses to FactCheck comes clean on political affiliations

  1. George Fleming says:

    The right wing of today is more virulent than the right wing of 1981. That is the only possible reason for arguing that we should not use the facts of 1981 when analyzing the situation today.


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Peter: Zero percent are “admitted liberals.” Under the rules of Fact Check and the Annenberg Foundation, it’s a non-partisan exercise.

    I didn’t delete any comment. I’ll look to see if your earlier comment went into a “hold” folder for some reason. But nothing deleted here.

    Teresa: Not kidding about 1981. Annenberg himself was still alive, and Ronald Reagan was President. You can check the library yourself. Here at MFB we strive for accuracy.

    Annenberg Foundation has played straight at least since 1981.

    Peter and Teresa: What brings you to this post more than 8 years after it went up? (Thanks for dropping by; come more often.)


  3. Teresa Seitz says:

    1981. You’re kidding me.


  4. peter a palombit says:

    What percentage of Fact Check staff and Board are admitted liberals…..anyone ask that yet. Just wrote lengthier response and it was deleted…..”from the bathtub”.


  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Fact Check’s conservative roots are real. The charges that it was founded by George Soros are false. The claims that it’s a liberal political organization are false. Even more ridiculous is the charge that Annenberg, a crusty old conservative and anti-communist, was liberal and anti-conservative.

    Which hoax were you trying to push that you now cling to despite knowing better?


  6. James Thomasson says:

    Because Reagan and Annenberg partied in 85 makes Factchek a right leaning conservative organization.? Oh now that’s funny…


  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Can you cite an example of Fact Check being in error?

    I think they have a clear conservative bias, an almost-anti-Democrat bias. But they don’t make stuff up.


  8. Ed Darrell says:

    Send the facts to Fact Check, they’ll make corrections.

    Generally, FactCheck is very accurate.


  9. Marie says:

    I don’t think fact check is actually factual on certain aspects!


  10. Ed Darrell says:

    Annenberg family has more to do with the foundation than I thought — they sit on the board. They don’t run the foundation day-to-day.



  11. Ed Darrell says:

    Annenberg Foundation was set up by the old man, not his children. To the best of my knowledge, they do not have any operating jurisdiction over the foundation.

    Similarly, it’s ludicrous to claim the Annenberg Foundation is a liberal font of anything, since it was never set up that way, since it was set up by Reagan’s close friend, and it’s illegal for it to show political bias.


  12. Jan Schmaltz says:

    Bringing up the Reagan’s affiliation with Annenberg is hilarious. That was 40
    Years ago and those people are dead. Annenberg children are liberal and it evidenced by their bias against Republicans in Fact-check.org.


  13. Andrew says:

    That’s like saying the next time you hear Democrats are not racist we can send them back to the Ku Klux Klan’s origins and their affiliation With the Democrats.


  14. George Fleming says:

    Here is a good article indicating that FactCheck is a right-wing outfit:


    It begins:

    “FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenburg Public Policy Center, wrongly attacked a number of prominent Democrats for correctly pointing out that Social Security does not contribute to the deficit.”

    In that attack, FactCheck cited a study by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget to support their false claim. The most virulent opponent of Social Security, Pete Peterson, is on the board of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, as are his sidekicks in the vicious war on Social Security, Erskine Bowles and Alan K. Simpson. I suppose that even more of those board members would fit that description.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ed Darrell says:

    Ayers was never a power in the Annenberg Foundation, nor was Obama. Both were grantees, and they got grants on a limited range of issues — education.

    Their getting small grants in Chicago to help local schools in no way changes the mission or organization of the Annenberg Foundation, which was set up as a defense of the western canon and conservative values.

    Reading newspapers, and getting accurate news, is part of the western canon’s philosophy, and a key part of conservative values up to Ronald Reagan.

    Fact Check was set up to defend newspapers, a big business, by a very conservative businessman, who believed in free market solutions, and who firmly disbelieved in socialism in almost all forms.

    Those are the facts.


  16. Hackneyed Hank says:

    All organizations change over time. The Annenberg Foundation is just one of those that has certainly done so. Annenberg was a friend of Reagan >30 years past. Yes, Bill Ayers did use the organization in an underhanded way, to create an organization that the current president became the titular head of (titular because he wasn’t really qualified for to be in charge of anything at the time). And yes, the AF has become more aligned with the Leftists who, we know, work hard to redefine anything so they can use it to be used as ‘proof’ to support an unsupportable Leftist ideal or situation.


  17. Robert Veite says:

    From whence ye came, doesn’t show where you are, just where you came from. The EPA was Nixon, The civil rights movement was republican, and the Cincinnati Enquirer was the Republican newspaper that counterbalanced the Post Times Star, the democratic leaning local paper. The post went out of business, the Enquirer is now coopeded by the left, and the EPA and Civil Rights Leadership is hardly the same as the late great Republican, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


  18. Ed Darrell says:

    So it wasn’t a $49 million payment to Ayers as you originally said, but a grant to an organization which as best you know did nothing wrong, and advocated for better schools, in the tradition of Abraham Lincoln. I see.

    But, of course, it’s still your word hanging in the wind. Got no sources we might check to make sure you’ve corrected all the errors?

    Plus, nothing about that changes the facts you failed to acknowledge, that Ambassador Walter Annenberg was a staunch conservative, friend of Ronald Reagan and not Bill Ayers, and didn’t set up a group with a liberal political bias.

    You’re free to hate Bill Ayers all you want. That doesn’t change history, doesn’t change the political stripes of Walter Annenberg, and doesn’t make any of those unbiased foundations, biased.

    Were any of the Annenberg foundations biased as you say, you could sue to end their tax-exempt status. Of course, the judge would require you to tell the truth. But if you’re so convinced, why don’t you sue?

    See also:

    => https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Annenberg
    => http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/02/arts/walter-annenberg-94-dies-philanthropist-and-publisher.html?pagewanted=all
    => http://www.anb.org/articles/10/10-02280.html
    => http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/press_box/2002/10/citizen_annenberg.html

    In the end, I wonder whether your own biases haven’t polluted your ability to discern the facts, if not blinded you completely.


  19. scout13fox says:

    I most certainly read the article and many others to boot! Facts are fundamental! William Ayers was one of three writers that secured $49.2 million for ABC. YOU check your facts.

    Without resorting to belittling comments and personal attacks can you source anything to refute what I’ve pointed out?


  20. Ed Darrell says:

    Pay attention. First, read the article above (it’s obvious you didn’t).

    Second, read the links to the biography of Annenberg, Ronald Reagan’s friend, lifelong Republican and radical conservative.

    Third, check your figures on Ayers. He didn’t get a nearly 50 million grant from anyone, any time.

    Now, can you stand back for a moment and weigh the credibility of your claims?

    Ronald Reagan’s buddy funding Bill Ayers with massive grants to do anything at all?

    BTW, what was wrong with the Annenberg Challenge, other than it was pro-plutocrat, anti-public school? You mean, getting a grant from Annenberg turned Ayers into a Republican on education policy?

    Perhaps you’ve misinterpreted what facts you may have, or you’ve been otherwise misinformed.


  21. scout13fox says:

    Another fact, the ANNENBERG Public Policy Center (APPC), the sponsoring agency behind FastCheck.org, is itself supported by the same foundation, the ANNENBERG FOUNDATION, that Bill Ayers secured the 49.2 million dollars from to create the Chicago ANNENBERG Challenge “philanthropic” organization in which Barack Obama was the founding Chairman of the Board for and Ayers served as the grant writer of and co-Chair of for its two operating arms.

    This one is much closer to present than the picture of President Reagan with philanthropist Walter Annenberg. Google his name and President Clinton if you’d like to see plenty of pictures of them together.


  22. Ed Darrell says:

    It’s a pretty good disproof of the claims that the guy was NOT a conservative.

    Got any pictures of Annenberg golfing with Mao? Fidel? Che?

    No, of course not.


  23. John says:

    A deceased relative posing in a picture with a deceased president is no solid proof of anything, really.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. JamesK says:

    So if I write a biography on Reagan, I become a Reagan supporter automatically? And if I write one on Lenin, I become a Communist?

    Really? That’s the logic you want to engage in, Henry?

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Ed Darrell says:

    If the article claims that Kathleen Hall Jamieson is an Obama supporter — and I didn’t find that — it’s a lousy source. It’s a false claim. I saw a claim that she authored a book on the Obama victory — but Jamieson is an academic, a person who studies journalism and public policy. That’s what she’s supposed to do.

    Kathleen Hall Jamieson is a nationally recognized authority on political communication, campaigns, and political rhetoric. The Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, she is also the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Director of the University’s Annenberg Public Policy Center.
    * * * * *
    Jamieson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Political and Social Science and the International Communication Association.

    The book mentioned is a non-partisan, academic look at the election. I suppose a lot of people think that everyone with an IQ above room temperature is automatically an Obama supporter and biased, and consequently, so are Jamieson and the other academics who co-authored the book, but that’s part of my lampoon here. Obviously, the reporter in the article to which you link asks us to judge the bias of the book, not even from the cover, but just from the title, and it wants us to assume that a book with Obama’s name in the title must be adulatory. I don’t see any evidence of that.

    Have you read the book? The Obama Victory: How Media, Money, and Message Shaped the 2008 Election, Kate Kenski, Bruce W. Hardy and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, was published by Oxford University Press, intended as much as a textbook for college classes as a book in the public sphere.

    If you’re arguing that the move towards non-partisan, hard scholarship is a move away from Reagan-esque policies, I would suggest you hold Reagan in much lower regard than can be justified.

    One of the sources relied on in the link you offer is Texas Darlin’, a McCain-created parody Democrat site whose great contribution to politics was a commenter’s description of a visit to the Honolulu public library where he discovered contemporary published accounts of the 1961 Honolulu birth of Barack Obama, thereby establishing Obama’s eligibility as a “natural born” citizen of the U.S. under the business records rule of evidence. That wasn’t what the site wanted, and they went private shortly after that. You’ll notice the site is dead and the URL abandoned, now.

    In short, what we see in that link is the lunatic ravings of the unhinged, again.

    What do you mean by “non-partisan,” and why doesn’t Jamieson qualify? What partisan activities do you find on her resume? Not even the extreme Tea Party American Thinker found fault with Jamieson’s political views in their review of the book.

    Look at the photos. Claiming FactCheck.org is a tool of the left is absurd on its face. It’s also absurd if one digs down a few layers.

    Also, see this:


  26. henrymowry says:

    One of your links in turn linked to a story about how the current Director of the Annenberg Foundation is an Obama supporter, so perhaps the organization has strayed from the Reagan-era connection. Here’s the article: http://www.mockazine.com/but_seriously/2009/11/fact-checking-factcheckorg.html#axzz2Fwe6f6AJ. Bottom line for me is that until we truly have non-partisan fact checkers, no one is above suspicion. Unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

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