- Overall, we rate Project Veritas Right Biased and Questionable based on the promotion of misleading videos, unsubstantiated theories, and several failed fact checks.
Questionable Reasoning: False Claims, Misinformation, Failed Fact Checks
Bias Rating: RIGHT
Factual Reporting: MIXED
Press Freedom Rank: MOSTLY FREE
Media Type: Organization/Foundation
Traffic/Popularity: Medium Traffic
MBFC Credibility Rating: LOW CREDIBILITY
Founded in 2010, Project Veritas was created by James Edward O’Keefe III, an American conservative political activist. He produces secretly recorded undercover audio and video encounters, some selectively edited to imply its subjects said things they did not, with figures and workers in academic, governmental, and social service organizations purporting to show abusive or allegedly illegal behavior by employees and/or representatives of those organizations. Project Veritas primarily targets liberals and liberal organizations.
In April 2021, Project Veritas was permanently suspended by Twitter for violating its “platform manipulation and spam policy,” suggesting he was operating multiple accounts in an unsanctioned way. O’Keefe has already announced that he will sue the company for defamation as he claims to have only one account.
In February 2022, in a defamation case filed by Project Veritas against the New York Times, NYT was given the green light to publish Project Veritas attorney memos. As of this review date, the case is still pending.
On 11/21/2022, it was announced that Project Veritas had been reinstated under Elon Musk’s controlled Twitter.
Funded by / Ownership
Project Veritas is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Funding primarily comes from donations and grants. However, most of these donations come from the Donor’s Trust. The purpose of the Donor’s Trust Fund is to “safeguard the intent of libertarian and conservative donors.” In other words, it allows the organization to receive funds without disclosing who they come from. Some funding for Project Veritas comes from conservative and libertarian organizations such as Koch-backed organizations and the Mercer Family Foundation.
James O’Keefe’s work is also supported by the Project Veritas Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, which, based on its (c)(4) status, allows for political advocacy and lobbying.
Analysis / Bias
In review, videos are difficult to fact-check based on how they are edited. Sometimes his information is debunked, but it is too late as the information has already been watched by thousands or more. In general, O’Keefe’s videos, more often than not, target those with a liberal perspective. However, Project Vertias does target conservatives, such as this NEW VIDEO: James O’Keefe Ambushes Republican Congressman Over Racist Bill and Faces Of Voter Fraud #1: NY Republican Votes Twice in 2018 Elections, Casts Mail Ballot in Florida.
Our review of numerous articles/videos reveals that many more target Democrats, such as HIDDEN CAMERA: NYC Democratic Election Commissioner “I Think There Is A lot of Voter Fraud.” Project Veritas counters this argument in the article Lie #9: James O’Keefe and Project Veritas only go after Democrats and individuals and organizations on the left, where Mr. O’Keefe states, “It is true that because America’s mainstream media is overwhelmingly leftist and in favor of centralized federal power in Washington, their best opportunities for Project Veritas are in the institutions dominated by allies of the mainstream media, such as colleges and universities, state and federal bureaucracies and the media itself.”
Further, former President Trump referenced Project Veritas, such as this: President Trump Thanks Project Veritas Tech Investigations at White House Social Media Summit. The fact that the former President endorses them can mean different things to different people; we share that he does endorse them and nothing more. Further, the former President donated $10,000 to Project Veritas about a month before he announced his candidacy for President in 2015.
Finally, during the 2020 election and the Covid-19 outbreak, Project Veritas promoted misleading and false information (See fact checks below). While Project Veritas claims not to be intentionally biased in whom they target, it is evident through counting the number of stories targeting the left that they favor the right, whether on purpose or not.
Failed Fact Checks by third-party fact-checkers (last 5 years)
- Did CBS News Stage a ‘Fake Testing Line’ at a Michigan Hospital? – Misleading
- Project Veritas discovered a voter fraud scheme connected to Rep. Ilhan Omar in Minneapolis – False
- “Coercive Interrogation of Military Veteran and @USPS #BackDateGate Whistleblower Richard Hopkins by Federal Agents He Believed Were There To Help Him.” – No Evidence
- Children don’t need to get a vaccine, and the long-term safety of COVID-19 vaccines is in doubt – Lacks Context/Inaccurate
- A crime was committed when a New Jersey election worker allowed someone who said he was not a citizen to fill out a ballot. – False
- Pfizer Scientist: ‘Your Antibodies are Probably Better than the Vaccination,’” – Misleading
- “The videos that you’re about to see appear to show Beto’s campaign workers and his staff all the way up to his campaign manager, Jody Casey, knowingly using campaign resources and funds to help assist, subsidize illegal aliens entering the United States, some of them from the migrant caravan,” – False
- Director Concerned Over Women’s Reproductive [Health] After COVID-19 Vaccinations. – Misleading
Project Veritas’ legal counsel has contacted us numerous times, disputing our ratings, analysis, and some of the failed fact checks. The failed fact checks above are for reference only to indicate that they have failed fact checks by many different credible fact-checkers. Any disputes Project Veritas or anyone else has with the fact checks should be addressed individually with the fact-checker. If the fact checks are amended, we will change them. We are simply providing links to them.
Overall, we rate Project Veritas Right Biased and Questionable based on the promotion of misleading videos, unsubstantiated theories, and several failed fact checks. (11/16/2016) Updated (D. Van Zandt 02/08/2023)
Last Updated on June 30, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
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