PolitiFact is a widely popular website and nonprofit project operated by the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida that has won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2009 for its fact-checking initiatives during the 2008 presidential elections. It was founded by Bill Adair, who worked for the Tampa Bay Times before launching Politifact in 2007. Recently, Adair has been found to have ties to communist China.
According to the National Pulse, Adair served as the Journalist in Residence of the U.S.-China Education Trust (USCET), which hosts journalism programs geared towards advising Chinese Communist Party-run media outlets and journalism schools. USCET's goal is to "[promote] stronger and more stable US-China relations through education and exchange for China's next generation leaders and training of young Americans."
USCET also co-hosts programs with the Party School of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, which is described as "the supreme ideological training ground for party cadres and a prerequisite for any official interested in joining the elite political ranks of China's ruling class," as per Foreign Policy.
USCET is also known for partnering with "more than 70 of China's top universities," as well as the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, which affiliated researchers are stripped off their American visas because of "spying fears" from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York Times reported in 2019.
Critics are now critical of Adair's involvement with USCET because the organization is also known to host conferences that are attended by the Secretary-General of the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), a group that is part of the Chinese Communist Party's United Front effort. This effort is described by the U.S. government as one that aims to "co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party" and "influence overseas Chinese communities, foreign governments, and other actors to take actions or adopt positions supportive of Beijing's preferred policies."
The report revealed that USCET hosts "Journalist in Residence" programs in China, which allows American journalists from establishment outlets to live in the communist state and work alongside state-run Chinese media outlets. Adair was part of this program in 2012. In a write up, USCET described how Adair and James Grimaldi of The Wall Street Journal traveled through Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing as the organizations 10th and 11th Journalists in Residence.
The article recounted how Adair and Grimaldi conducted "investigative and political reporting discussions" on topics including "increased government accountability and the effect of new media on the field of journalism." The article remarked how "Students were intrigued by [Adair's] descriptions of information as having the power to hold powerful people accountable."
Former President Donald Trump was very critical of PolitiFact, calling it a "totally left-wing group" that was often the go-to fact-checking service for several Big Tech companies such as Meta's Facebook and Google's YouTube.