A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, consistent promotion of propaganda/conspiracies, poor or no sourcing to credible information, a complete lack of transparency and/or is fake news. Fake News is the deliberate attempt to publish hoaxes and/or disinformation for the purpose of profit or influence (Learn More). Sources listed in the Questionable Category may be very untrustworthy and should be fact checked on a per article basis. Please note sources on this list are not considered fake news unless specifically written in the reasoning section for that source. See all Questionable sources.
- Overall, we rate Left Exposed Questionable based on Extreme Right-Wing bias, promotion of anti-science propaganda, poor sourcing, and numerous failed fact checks by their parent organization.
Reasoning: Extreme Right, Propaganda, Poor Sourcing, Numerous Failed Fact Checks
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
Founded in 2014, Left Exposed is a project of The Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. The Heartland Institute is best known for climate change skepticism. According to the Left Exposed about page they are an: investigative journalism project designed to seek out the foundations, organizations, key players, and individuals who spend their time, energy, and money trying to change the way you live your life.”
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Funded by / Ownership
Left Exposed is owned and funded by the Heartland Institute. The Heartland Institute has received funding from notable right-leaning institutions such as Exxon-Mobil, Charles G. Koch Foundation, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. In the past, the Heartland Institute listed their donors, however, they stopped this practice based on this reasoning: “For many years, we provided a complete list of Heartland’s corporate and foundation donors on this Web site and challenged other think tanks and advocacy groups to do the same. To our knowledge, not a single group followed our lead. However, critics who couldn’t or wouldn’t engage in fair debate over our ideas found the donor list a convenient place to find the names of unpopular companies or foundations, which they used in ad hominem attacks against us. Even reporters from time to time seemed to think to report the identities of one or two donors–out of a list of hundreds–was a fair way of representing our funding or our motivation in taking the positions expressed in our publications. After much deliberation and with some regret, we now keep confidential the identities of all our donors.”
Analysis / Bias
In review, Left Exposed lists organizations and foundations that they deem to be either anti-corporate, supporters of climate science, or radical left. Some of the organizations they portray negatively are The Center for Public Integrity (we rate Least Biased) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (we rate Pro-Science). Left Exposed claims that “The Union of Concerned Scientists is a left-wing advocacy organization that spreads unscientific alarmism about environment and energy topics.” While the UCS does frequently promote the realities of climate change, they do so through evidence-based science and proper sourcing, which is backed by the consensus of climate scientists.
Left Exposed also has a blog in which they republish articles by other right-wing or questionable sources. They frequently republish from Red State (Right Bias), Breitbart (Questionable), American Thinker (Questionable), and of course the Heartland Institute. All of these sources have a poor track record with fact-checkers.
In general, Left Exposed always publishes information that is favorable to the right and in particular corporations and the fossil fuel industry, while frequently denigrating the left and pro-science organizations.
A factual search reveals that the Heartland Institute has failed numerous fact checks by IFCN fact-checkers.
Overall, we rate Left Exposed Questionable based on Extreme Right-Wing bias, promotion of anti-science propaganda, poor sourcing, and numerous failed fact checks by their parent organization. (D. Van Zandt 1/27/2019) Updated (5/27/2020)
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