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 the Santa Monica Observer Questionable based on the routine publication of false and misleading information and the use of poor sources.
Reasoning: Poor Sourcing, Fake News, Lack of Ownership Transparency, Imposter
Bias Rating: RIGHT
Factual Reporting: LOW
Press Freedom Rating: MOSTLY FREE
Media Type: Website
Traffic/Popularity: Minimal Traffic
MBFC Credibility Rating: LOW CREDIBILITY
According to their about page, “The Santa Monica Observer is a free weekly print newspaper of general circulation and interest, founded in Santa Monica, California in 1998.” The publisher is David Ganezer, who ran unsuccessfully for Santa Monica City Council in 2010.
On 10/29/2022, the Santa Monica Observer produced a story that was shared on Twitter by Elon Musk called “The Awful Truth: Paul Pelosi Was on Drugs And In a Dispute With a Male Prostitute Friday Morning.” Fact-checkers have debunked the story. The story was temporarily offline but returned several hours later at this link. Elon Musk also deleted the tweet.
Funded by / Ownership
The Santa Monica Observer is owned by SMMC, LLC, which appears to be inactive. The website and print publication are funded through advertising.
Analysis / Bias
In review, The Santa Monica Observer publishes a mix of local news and patently false information. There is a right-wing bias in story selection such as this: FBI: Hillary Clinton to face Criminal Indictment for Email Abuse Very Soon. This story also is not true. In general, non-local news favors the right and is almost always questionable. This is a classic imposter site masquerading as a local news source.
Failed Fact Checks
- Did Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Announce She Will Be Retiring in January 2019? – FALSE
- The gunman in a November 2017 mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas was identified as a Muslim convert named “Samir Al-Hajeed.” – FALSE
- Paul Pelosi brought the man who attacked him with a hammer in October 2022 home from a gay bar. – FALSE
These are two failed fact checks that were reported by IFCN fact-checkers; however, there are many others such as the SMO reporting, Kanye West Appointed Under-Secretary of the Interior After Meeting at Trump Tower. Several things, first, Kanye West was not appointed Under-Secretary of the Interior, and second, there is no such position!
Overall, we rate the Santa Monica Observer Questionable based on the routine publication of false and misleading information and the use of poor sources. (D. Van Zandt 3/30/2019) Updated (11/01/2022)
Last Updated on November 1, 2022 by Media Bias Fact Check