Fact-Check Expert Has to Debunk Himself, Then Gets Schooled on How to Do His Job

(AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)

Another in the long line of fact-check follies.

If you are not familiar with Mike Rothschild, that is fine. He describes himself as a self-styled “Debunker Guy”. This freelance fact-checker lists a number of media outlets in his bio, and has a book coming out about QAnon. It would appear the media outlets turn to him as a guest to bolster their narratives. It does not appear they do so as a result of being good at his job.

Rothschild went after the viral video of the parent seen at a school board meeting speaking against the proposed inclusion of Critical Race Theory in the curriculum. Tylian Smith became a sensation as he railed about the victimhood they were pushing on the students, as well as a number of other valid concerns. Smith’s video struck many people, but Rothschild found a reason to ‘debunk’ Smith — he was the brother of Candace Owens!!

This was based on a posting where Ty Smith made a note to Candace and referred to her as his ‘’little sister’’. This is where all of Rothschild’s work began to unravel; or as we are about to learn, his claims unraveled. It turns out he did not really do any work in his boasting that Smith had been debunked. To start, why would Smith being the brother of Candace Owens disprove…well, anything? It becomes evident that the moment Rothschild found out Smith is something of an activist on the right that meant, in his mind, that nothing Smith said can be accurate.

This is not how fact-checking works. This is how one year of claims that a Wuhan virus lab leak theory was debunked works. You consider only the source, and never look into the facts. If Trump says there could have been a laboratory leak, then it is a FALSE claim and filed away as Debunked. If a father speaking at a school board meeting is discovered to be a conservative then all of the details of the video are said to be faked. This is the trap Rothschild set for himself, and it took little time for him to be ensnared.

First off, the Debunker Guy soon learned that Ty Smith was not in fact the sibling to Candace Owens. (A quick note for Mike to save time and effort in the future — most people who refer to each other as “Bro” are also not related.) A number of people pointed out this stunted claim, and this amusement led to the fact-checker actually debunking — himself. Yet after discrediting his efforts Rothschild insisted everything else was still as he stated.

Of particular note here, the Debunker Guy stipulates the Ty Smith video is a hoax without ever delivering evidence showing it to be the case. There is no contradictory evidence he cites — it is just a hoax, based on his credentials. Rothschild also disputes the reports that Smith carries two medical degrees.

This would be the portion of the thread where it needs to be pointed out that the fact-checker is decidedly missing the facts. When you resort to asking for evidence of something, you have- 

  1. A) Proven to be lacking in evidence.
  2. B) Failed to grasp that when you make a claim the burden of proof is on you.
  3. C) Shown to have an inability to do the basic research your task entails.

So we have a fact-checker who is claiming now that a man who portrayed himself as a father, at a school board meeting, and as the holder of multiple degrees, is completely fraudulent, because Rothschild has declared the video to be a hoax. One twitter account — @AUChizad — stepped in and decided to help Rothschild by getting to the bottom of the story; in other words, he did Mike Rothschild’s job for him. Doubtful the Debunker Guy will be happy with the results.

In a great thread Chizad looked at the individual facts — a novel concept.

As for the detail surrounding the meeting, that was found to be accurate.

He addresses his degrees here.

Then there is the matter of his child at the school being confirmed.

That is a pretty effective takedown on the matter, and done so by someone NOT tasked with the job of fact-checking. This is as big of an indictment as you can get; it would be one thing to say Anyone can do that job, but to show a fact-checker refusing to do the job is something else entirely.