- Overall, we rate Project Veritas Right Biased and Questionable based on the promotion of misleading videos and several failed fact checks.
Bias Rating: RIGHT
Factual Reporting: MIXED
Country: USA (45/180 Press Freedom)
Media Type: Website
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.
UPDATE: On 5/21/21, Project Veritas added Media Bias Fact Check to their Wall of Shame. The Wall of Shame is where they put news organizations or reporters who may have retracted a statement about PV or published something they deem false about their organization. Our crime was removing a clerical error from this page, specifically, a link to Politifact under our failed fact checks section. The link was removed because it did not belong on this page. It was meant to be placed on the Neonnettle source page. Yes, the editor dropped the ball on this one as he is human.
With this said, there is much more to this story than what is presented in O’Keefe’s video. First and foremost, we did not retract any of our statements. Simply, we removed a clerical mistake (link to a third-party source). We also suspect this may have been a planned “gotcha” moment for MBFC.
On April 6, 2021, John Sullivan, Special Counsel for PV, contacted the editor of MBFC via email stating, “As the Editor/Owner of Media Bias / Fact Check, I’m bringing an item to your attention, and request that a correction be made, to your page on Project Veritas.” Mr. Sullivan pointed out that the Politifact fact check we had listed was not a direct fact check of PV. He was correct, and we promptly removed the link from the page.
On April 7th Mr. Sullivan wrote back, “Thank you for deleting the hyperlink to Politifact’s article. It is greatly appreciated.” He also provided hyperlinks demonstrating that Project Veritas checks Republicans. We felt that was good information and added it to the analysis section below. Finally, on April 9th, after making the changes, Mr. Sullivan wrote, “I appreciate your indulging these requests which, in the end, seek the same goal as your website – to fact check. Your objectivity here is refreshing, and, once again, it is very much appreciated.”
We have not made any changes to this source page since that date. We find it ironic that doing the right thing and correcting mistakes is considered a badge a shame. Perhaps to Project Veritas, striving to be factual is not important, but to us, it is. We are not ashamed at all and proud of our record of correcting mistakes and errors. That is what credible sources do.
Funded by / Ownership
James O’Keefe owns project Veritas. Funding primarily comes from donations. 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 source to receive funds without disclosing who they come from. Needless to say, most funding for Project Veritas comes from conservative and libertarian organizations.
Analysis / Bias
In review, videos are difficult to fact-check based on the way 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 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 often sourced 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 just share that he does endorse them and nothing more.
Finally, during the 2020 election, 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 clear through counting the number of stories targeting the left that they favor the right, whether on purpose or not.
Failed Fact Checks
- “Money raised to help (Beto) O’Rourke get elected is being used to fund migrants. This is clearly breaking campaign finance laws.” – FALSE
- Did CBS News Stage a ‘Fake Testing Line’ at a Michigan Hospital? – MISLEADING
- No Proof of ‘Lying’ – FALSE
- Project Veritas discovered a voter fraud scheme connected to Rep. Ilhan Omar in Minneapolis – FALSE
- Postal workers in Michigan backdated ballots so that they could be counted. – FALSE
Overall, we rate Project Veritas Right Biased and Questionable based on the promotion of misleading videos and several failed fact checks. (11/16/2016) Updated (D. Van Zandt 05/22/2021)