German government-funded fact checkers launch smear campaign against protesting farmers
By Cassie B. // Feb 07, 2024

German farmers who carried out a peaceful protest against cuts to their subsidies have been branded conspiracy theorists by a German fact-checking site, and it’s not surprising -- considering who funds the fact checkers.

The protests in question brought Berlin to a near standstill, with more than 10,000 farmers taking to the streets with their trucks and tractors. At the Brandenburg Gate, 500 tractors lined up in a convoy every day for a week. Road blockages were reported in multiple cities, including Munich, Hamburg, Nuremberg, Bremen and Cologne, each involving thousands of tractors and trucks.

The protests broke out after the German government decided that it would phase out a tax break on agricultural diesel in an attempt to balance its budget for 2024 after a ruling by its constitutional court forced it to go back to the drawing board with its spending plans. Many farmers argued that cuts to subsidies would leave them bankrupt. Although the government has since backtracked slightly on this and said that they would spread the agricultural diesel subsidy cut across a period of several years, most farmers felt it was not enough.

It’s an understandable concern, but the news and fact-checking site Correctiv launched a smear campaign against the farmers, essentially labeling them far-right conspiracy theorists who are spreading Russian propaganda and COVID-19 disinformation.

Although it may be true that some of the farmers have other concerns that go beyond the subsidy cuts, such as COVID-19 restrictions, not all of them share the same beliefs. Correctiv did not explain what type of “disinformation” the farmers were spreading about the virus, nor did they supply any proof supporting their claims that they are somehow linked to the Russian government. They only noted that some accounts on X that support the farmers also had posts that “coincided with the methods of a pro-Russian propaganda network,” which is a pretty weak argument.

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The German media has also been quick to point out that a neo-Nazi group endorsed the protests, even though the German Farmers Association has rejected the group’s support in no uncertain terms.

The farmers likely struck a nerve with the government by blaming the government’s climate policy for the subsidy cuts as the budget reshuffle that led to the cuts was driven by a need to unlock funds for climate action projects. Some of the protestors even called for the dissolution of the German government and new elections.

Follow the money

It should come as no surprise that one of Correctiv’s backers is Meta, owners of Facebook, who were all too happy to go along with the U.S. government’s insistence that they censor posts that went against the official government COVID-19 narrative. They also get funding from Open Society Foundations, a nonprofit organization that was founded by globalist George Soros, as well as the current German government.

The use of fact checkers to smear those who voice unpopular opinions is nothing new. It’s been going on for years, and it ramped up quite a bit during the pandemic, when fact checkers were used to discredit anyone who dared to suggest that COVID-19 came from a lab leak or that vaccines are risky. Freedom of Information Act-requested documents and the Twitter Files have both proven that governments and other entities often bankroll fact checking groups to help them further their political agendas.

Jeffrey A. Tucker explained the relationship between governments and fact checkers in an exposé for The Epoch Times, writing: "Government wants to censor but cannot so it turns to the social-media company to do the dirty work. To make this hand-in-glove racket less obvious, the companies would outsource to a fact-checking organization, making the lines of control even more blurry."

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