By Jacqui Deevoy
Up until this week, I’d largely suspected that Facebook fact-checkers were robots, wound up in the morning and left to do their stuff, unhindered, all day. It was only when I received an email from one – with a name attached – that I began to think that perhaps they were human beings!
The very polite email went thus:
Good afternoon Jacqui,
I am a journalist for Reuters fact-checking department working with Facebook as third-party fact checkers.
We contacted Sussex police and the coroner about the death of your friend Wayne Smith after reading your article.
The police said his death was not being treated as suspicious and the coroner said: “A covid test at the mortuary showed that Mr Smith was covid positive, and this, together with the history of covid related symptoms in the lead up to his death, satisfied the Coroner that this was the cause of death.”
They added: “The Coroner was asked for a Post Mortem (Autopsy) but as there were no credible grounds to request one, due to the evidence provided, the Coroner declined to have one. The friends were offered the opportunity to have their own Post Mortem, but to date no request has been forthcoming.”
We are writing to ask you on the record if you still believe that Smith’s death was suspicious and if you have any concrete evidence to prove this?
Please reply by tomorrow morning for your comment to be included.
A name was at the bottom, and a job title under that – Journalist for Reuters Fact Check.
I was surprised that my article about Wayne Smith – an honest and truthful account of the death of an honest and truthful man – had stirred up enough interest to have an actual living breathing (although still faceless) fact-checker writing to me in person! Although I felt oddly honoured, I also felt uncomfortably intruded upon. Why was this person questioning me and why did they feel they had the right to interrogate me? Whilst I pondered this, I replied that I’d get back to them.
After discussing the matter with Dr. Mark Jones, who was also friends with Wayne and who felt, as I did, that his death hadn’t been properly investigated, I passed on both my and Dr. Jones’ phone numbers and said they were welcome to call either or both of us. The reply stated that they wanted a quote from me via email, adding:
We just wanted to check whether you stood by what you had written in context of what the coroner told us. If you do and don’t want to add anything, then we don’t need any further comment.
When anyone suggests that I don’t need to comment further, my knee-jerk reaction is to comment further, so I responded with this email:
As far as I know, the coroner didn’t suggest to me or Dr. Jones that we should get a post mortem done. We requested one from the coroner and they replied in the letter I included in the article.
I stand by everything I said in the article. I’d known Wayne for about a year, we were in regular contact – on the phone and via WhatsApp and email – and I was shocked by his sudden death. The article is a personal account, written from my own point of view.
I then asked her what was going to happen next and what had led her to fact-check my article in the first place. I am nosey by nature and was wondering if there had been complaints about it.
The following day, the fact-check article appeared on social media, complete with the gauzy grey overlay and the ‘verdict’ stamped on the front. I felt like I’d been to court – or that my article had anyway!
Now, before we go any further, let’s just fact check the fact-checker’s facts… The headline is “Fact Check – UK Coroner said Wayne Smith died of Covid 19”. So far so good: the coroner did actually say that.
The article then describes how rumours were being spread on social media about Wayne dying “mysteriously after investigating the sedative Midazolam” and said that the “police are not treating the death as suspicious, and a UK coroner told Reuters he died of Covid-19.” Correct again. The police are not investigating the death. And the coroner did, in fact, state – in writing, no less – that Wayne had died of Covid-19.
Wayne’s mate Dr. Mark Jones was then quoted and I get my first mention, with them kindly referring to some articles I’ve written for the Telegraph this past year. (Not sure what the relevance of those were, but it was kind of them to share nonetheless.)
They then referred to the article in question, posted here on DavidIcke.com on August 7th. It said I described Wayne’s death as “strange”. (I did and, from where I was standing and still am standing, it was and it is). It mentioned how I believed Wayne hadn’t died of Covid (I still believe that) and how the PCR test used in the post mortem check was not fit for purpose. (Like many people, I’ve known that from the start.)
It was diligent of Reuters to contact Sussex Police (I was actually very impressed they went that far). The police confirmed that what I’d written with regards to the finding of Wayne was true and that the letter from the coroner, which I’d included in the original article, was genuine. (As if I’d fake a coroner’s letter!)
The nice journalist at Reuters must have been gutted that everything in my story turned out to be true. It must be so much more fun to be uncovering a big fat pack of lies. But, as far as Reuters (on behalf of Facebook) was concerned, it still had to be proved false in some way.
So they slapped a ‘missing context’ verdict on it – I’m not even sure what that means – but, it would seem, that that’s the best they could do.
I emailed to ask what “missing context” actually meant, but I don’t expect to hear back. It’s a shame because I thought the fact-checker and I could maybe go out for a drink one night and I could uncover the inner machinations of fact-checking and discover who these people really are and why they waste their time doing what they’re doing. I’m sure they believe they’re doing it for all the right reasons – that ‘fake news’ is evil and must be stymied – but I’d really like to find out for sure.
Back to the verdict though… After declaring it a ‘missing context’ verdict, it then went on to say: “The police and coroner told Reuters that Wayne’s death was not suspicious and that he died of Covid-19. There is currently is no evidence to suggest otherwise.”
And there we have it, folks: the truth! All facts checked! For it is 100% true that the police and coroner made both those statements.
My question now though is this: who checks that those statements – the ones made by the police and coroner – are true? Were those ‘facts’ checked? Silly question: why would they be? No point checking stuff that is obviously the truth. They’re true. They must be true. Why? Because they themselves said so. And police and coroners never lie, do they?
What kind of pathetic and biased fact-checking is that?
RIP, Wayne (1961 – 2021): if you’re looking down on us, I’m sure you’d agree.