If you thought the quality of India’s left-leaning news outlets was bad, the quality of its left-leaning fact-checkers is even worse.
Alt News today carried out a ‘fact check’ on the number of AIIMS hospitals developed under different governments. “Did UPA govt build only one AIIMS institute during their tenure? False claim viral,” the headline of its fact check said.
In its article, Alt News included a graphic made by The Daily Switch, claiming it was “widespread on Facebook.”
On 19th April, The Daily Switch had posted a graphic which laid out the number of AIIMS hospitals that had been announced by different PMs. “AIIMS hospitals announced under different PMs: Nehru: 1 Vajpayee: 6 Manmohan Singh: 1 Modi: 14,” our post had said. The graphic clearly said that the list we’d enumerated was a list of AIIMS “announced” by PMs.
But Alt News did a fact check on the number of AIIMS “built” by PMs. “All the six AIIMS that the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government is being credited for in the viral list were therefore established under the Congress government,” Alt News said. “The viral list therefore paints a misleading picture. To date, seven AIIMS are fully functioning. This includes AIIMS Delhi. The six new AIIMS were announced by the BJP government but established under the Congress government. AIIMS Rae Bareli was also established under the Congress government but its OPD services were started during BJP’s tenure. The 15 other AIIMS were announced by the BJP government but they are either partially functional or under-construction,” Alt News article said.
But The Daily Switch post had never claimed that these hospitals were “built” or “finished” under these Prime Ministers — it only said that these AIIMS were announced under these PMs. This claim is completely correct, as can be evidenced by the Wikipedia list of AIIMS hospitals. Under Nehru, one AIIMS, Delhi, had been announced. Under Vajpayee, 6 AIIMS had been announced, which included Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur and Rishikesh. Under Manmohan Singh, 1 AIIMS had been announced, which was in Sonia Gandhi’s constituency of Rae Bareli. Under PM Modi, 14 AIIMS have been announced, including Mangalagiri, Nagpur, Gorakhpur, Kalyani, Bathinda, Guwahati, Vijaypur, Bilaspur, Madurai, Darbhanga, Deoghar, Rajkot, Bibinagar and Manethi.
But Alt News somehow seemed to conflate the “announcement” of hospitals — which our post was talking about — with the building of hospitals, and did a fact-check on something we’d never claimed. To add to that, Mohammaded Zubair, the co-founder or Alt News, responded to The Daily Switch’s post, and shared his fake fact-check. “Misleading. To date, 7 AIIMS are fully functionating. The six AIIMS were announced by the BJP govt but established under the MMS/Congress govt. The 15 other AIIMS were announced by the BJP govt but are either partially functional or under-construction,” he wrote, again appearing to mistake the announcement of AIIMS with the building of AIIMS.
We have sent a message to Mohammed Zubair, but are yet to hear back. We will update this article when Alt News removes our graphic from its ‘fact-check’ and apologizes.