Questionable Reasoning: Propaganda, Poor Sourcing, Conspiracies, Lack of Transparency, Misinformation, Hate
Bias Rating: EXTREME RIGHT
Factual Reporting: LOW
Press Freedom Rating: MOSTLY FREE
Media Type: Organization/Foundation
Traffic/Popularity: Minimal Traffic
MBFC Credibility Rating: LOW CREDIBILITY
Founded in 1958 by candy magnate Robert Welch, the John Birch Society was formed to combat the Communist conspiracy theory that they had infiltrated the federal government. On December 9, 1958, Robert Welch invited the country’s wealthiest men to a meeting, and the John Birch Society was formed.
Welch christened the group the John Birch Society—named in memory of a U.S. soldier-turned-Baptist missionary killed by Chinese Communists in 1945—and laid out its goal: Destroying the “Communist conspiracy … or at least breaking its grip on our government and shattering its power within the United States.”
According to their current about page, “Our mission is to bring about less government, more responsibility, and – with God’s help – a better world by providing leadership, education, and organized volunteer action in accordance with moral and Constitutional principles. The John Birch Society enthusiastically endorses the U.S. Constitution, and we have worked for over 60 years toward educating and activating Americans to abide by the original intent of the Founding Fathers.”
They also publish the Right Biased and Mixed factual The New American Magazine.
For a detailed history of the organization, see here.
Funded by / Ownership
The John Birch Society is a for-profit organization funded through private donations, membership fees, and corporate sponsors. Some notable corporate sponsors include Big Daddy Guns, Creation Today, Batton Forestry Services, and Action Group Incorporated. In the past, the John Birch Society was funded by the Koch Brothers and other large right-leaning corporations. Finally, Fred Trump (Donald Trump’s father) was a financier of the JBS and a personal friend of founder Robert Welch.
The John Birch Society was initially formed as a right-wing advocacy group opposed to communism and in support of social conservativism. The society rose quickly in membership and influence and was controversial for promoting conspiracy theories. Bircherism existed on the fringes of the far-right for 50 years, until the 2010s and increased further after the election of Donald Trump in 2016.
The members and followers of the John Birch Society are known as Birchers, and their movement is Bircherism. The Society has been compared to an early version of Qanon, where they promote anti-left conspiracies and fears of globalism. They opposed the civil and equal rights movements and perceived threats to the family, including abortion, drugs, homosexuality, crime, violence, teenage pregnancy, teen suicide, feminism, and pornography. They also promote Christian conservatism and the libertarian principles of states’ rights and limited government.
The current platform of the Society is nearly identical to Trumpism. Further, Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who hosted Trump on his Infowars radio show and claimed to have a personal relationship with the president, called Trump a “John Birch Society president” and previously said Trump was “more John Birch Society than the John Birch Society.” It should be noted that Alex Jones is a fountain of misinformation, but he did say it.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “The John Birch Society, the conspiracist group exiled by the right a half-century ago, is on the march and gaining influence.” The SPLC states, “Charges of racism and anti-Semitism have dogged the John Birch Society since its earliest days.”
Currently, JBS promotes conspiracy theories on Covid-19 where they claim the Chinese control the World Health Organization. Other conspiracies include the government taking guns away, replacement theory, baseless election fraud conspiracies, and the new world order (agenda21). In general, JBS is an extreme right-wing advocacy group that often promotes conspiracy theories and misinformation.
Failed Fact Checks
- None found in the last 5 years. See examples above.
Overall, we rate the John Birch Society extreme right biased and Questionable based on the promotion of conspiracy theories, propaganda, poor sourcing, lack of transparency, the publication of misinformation, and charges of racism and antisemitism by third-party evaluators. (D. Van Zandt 07/08/2022)
Last Updated on July 8, 2022 by Media Bias Fact Check