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NewsGuard questions on FreedomsPhoenix.com

Written by Subject: Freedom's Phoenix

To Mr. Hancock and Mr. Gammill, 

My name is John Gregory, deputy editor at NewsGuard. We publish written reviews of news and information websites' credibility and transparency, and we seek comments from the sites that we're rating out of fairness and for the benefit of readers.

After coming across your site after it was mentioned in a New York Times article over the weekend (please see: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/01/technology/local-media-misinformation-vaccine-skeptics.html) , we had questions about its editorial policies and transparency. Since I did not receive a response to my last email or my phone call, I'm including my questions here:

1) Is there a reason why the site's About page names Mr. Hancock as publisher, but not as the site's owner?

2) Do all donations to the site go to Mr. Hancock personally, or are they directed to a nonprofit or LLC?

3) How does the site decide which outside sources to republish articles from?

4) Is there a reason why the site includes opinionated articles in a section labeled as News, rather than including them in your Opinion section? https://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Current-News-List.htm

5) What is the site's approach to correcting errors in its content? Can you point me to examples where the site has published a correction?

6) Regarding specific pieces of content, we've noted several that contain false claims. For example, this July 2021 article headlined, "EXPOSED! - CDC RECALLS PCR Tests For FALSE POSITIVES! - Conspiracy Theorists Right AGAIN!," falsely claimed that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration are "announcing a recall of RT-PCR tests as they cannot differentiate between covid and the flu." The article went on to state, "What does this mean? It means that with a 96% false positive rate, there is either a few thousand cases of covid worldwide, or there are none and ALL cases have been influenza dressed up with fear to push everyone into cowardly subservience."

While the CDC did announce that it would voluntarily withdraw its request for emergency use authorization at the end of 2021 for an early PCR testing method, this was not a recall by either the CDC or FDA. The withdrawal also did not mean the test was unreliable or would have counted flu cases as COVID-19, but was driven by lower demand now that newer tests can screen for flu and SARS-CoV-2 from the same sample. The CDC withdrawal also did not affect the other 280 PCR tests for COVID-19 given EUAs by the FDA. 

Does the site stand by this article, or is a correction or retraction warranted?  

7) Another July 2021 article, republished from NaturalNews.com and headlined, "CDC confesses to COVID-19 "vaccines" being a medical HOAX…," stated, "In a shocking announcement, the CDC actually confessed to the fact that the Trump Vaccines it has been aggressively pushing as the final solution to the Chinese Virus were nothing but a medical hoax, providing no protection against infection or spread. After baiting millions of people into getting jabbed on the promise that life would return back to 'normal' if they did, the CDC now admits that being 'fully vaccinated' does not actually fight the 'delta variant,' but instead contributes to more infections."

The July 27 CDC announcement about updated mask guidelines did not state that COVID-19 vaccines were a "medical hoax" or provided no protection. In fact, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in her press briefing: "Getting vaccinated continues to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even with Delta. It also helps reduce the spread of the virus in our communities. Vaccinated individuals continue to represent a very small amount of transmission occurring around the country. We continue to estimate that the risk of a breakthrough infection with symptoms upon exposure to the Delta variant is reduced by seven-fold. The reduction is 20-fold for hospitalizations and deaths." Moreover, the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines against preventing symptomatic COVID-19 has been documented in peer-reviewed medical studies. 

Does the site stand by this article, or is a correction or retraction warranted?  

8) A May 2021 article republished from TheGatewayPundit.com and headlined, "BREAKING: Maricopa County Elections Officials DELETED ENTIRE DATABASE," stated the Arizona audit "discovered that 'the entire database' showing the 'Results Tally and Reporting' for the 2020 election had been deleted from the Maricopa County voting machines!"

Maricopa County staff members wrote in a memo less than a week after The Gateway Pundit's article was published that the database in question had not been "spoiled or deleted" and that the audit team investigating the vote count had likely used an incorrect data retrieval process. The co-founder of an audit subcontractor said at a meeting with Arizona state senators six days after The Gateway Pundit published the article that he could access the data.

Does the site stand by this article, or is a correction or retraction warranted?  

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.   

On Tue, Aug 3, 2021 at 2:41 PM John Gregory <john.gregory@newsguardtech.com> wrote:

To Mr. Hancock and Mr. Gammill, 

My name is John Gregory, deputy editor at NewsGuard. We publish written reviews of news and information websites' credibility and transparency, and we seek comments from the sites that we're rating out of fairness and for the benefit of readers. 

After coming across your site after it was mentioned in a New York Times article over the weekend, we had questions about its content, including its approach to correcting errors, separation of news from opinion, and its disclosure of ownership. 

We were hoping you'd be available sometime Wednesday or Thursday for a phone interview to discuss your site. Let me know what time would work for you. My number is provided below. Thank you. 

--
John Gregory

john.gregory@newsguardtech.com

Office: ?(312) 489-8676

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