In September of last year, Politifact ruled a claim made by a guest on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News as totally false, labeling it a “debunked conspiracy theory”:
In a Sept. 15 interview, the most-watched program on cable network television aired a conspiracy theory that has been debunked since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Give us, for a non-scientific audience, a summary of why you believe this virus came from a lab in Wuhan,” said Fox News host Tucker Carlson during his self-titled primetime show.
Dr. Li-Meng Yan wasted no time.
“I can present solid scientific evidence to our audience that this virus, COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 virus, actually is not from nature,” she said. “It is a man-made virus created in the lab.”
That “fact-check” has evolved, as spotted by the New York Post’s op-ed page editor:
I never want to hear about Politifact. Ever. Never. Ever. I’m going to use these two screencaps if anyone ever cites that source. pic.twitter.com/5EPgpxEgiW
— Sohrab Ahmari (@SohrabAhmari) May 19, 2021
And now this is at the top of the page:
When this fact-check was first published in September 2020, PolitiFact’s sources included researchers who asserted the SARS-CoV-2 virus could not have been manipulated. That assertion is now more widely disputed. For that reason, we are removing this fact-check from our database pending a more thorough review. Currently, we consider the claim to be unsupported by evidence and in dispute.
Well, at least they updated it.
The fact-check overlords admit they were wrong.
Is the sky falling? https://t.co/UXBl6bGpCQ
— Beth Baumann (@eb454) May 20, 2021
Exactly. If facts or expert opinions come from people who lean conservative then they are conspiracy theories. The media and the “fact checkers” they created are a joke https://t.co/RQvJbHVIj9
— chad sweeney (@chadsweeney) May 20, 2021
Many say that it is great that a correction was issued.
Two challenges. One, original received far more distribution and citations than corrections.
Other is definitive language on the original (“debunked”) v vague/passive language (“more widely disputed”) on correction. https://t.co/hBOFvp4W5j
— Steven Sinofsky (@stevesi) May 20, 2021
Even Politifact withdraws their former "fact" https://t.co/zSH6TOV7JS
— Jack (@JackSmi60054416) May 20, 2021
In other words, take the fact checkers with a grain of salt https://t.co/tzPjcEmgDk
— JonnyAppleseed | The Media is Lying to You (@Scoobyluff) May 20, 2021
Sometimes even less than a grain of salt.