Unethical Website Of The Month: Bye-Bye Snopes…You’re Dead To Me Now [UPDATED 10/12/2016]

bye bye

Ethics Alarms has been tracking the increasing political bias exhibited by Snopes, once the definitive “Urban Legends” web source to identify false stories on the internet, e-mail hoaxes and other pollution of public information. The website has made the disastrous decision to wade into political topics and to hire some new social justice warriors and wanna-be Democratic Party operatives to cover them, resulting in the site becoming a bad imitation of PolitiFact.

The disturbing trend really established itself this month, but it was in evidence earlier. For example, Snopes rushed to defend Hillary Clinton when the story of her defense of a child rapist was used to smear her. (Ethics Alarms explained, correctly, unlike Snopes, what was unethical about the attacks on Clinton—all defendants deserve a zealous defense, no matter what the charge, and a lawyer isn’t endorsing or supporting a client’s crimes by doing her professional duty.) The Snopes defense, in contrast, was dishonest and misleading. Quoth Snopes, via its primary left-biased reporter, Kim LaCapria.

Claim: Hillary Clinton successfully defended an accused child rapist and later laughed about the case.

MOSTLY FALSE

WHAT’S TRUE: In 1975, young lawyer Hillary Rodham was appointed to represent a defendant charged with raping a 12-year-old girl. Clinton reluctantly took on the case, which ended with a plea bargain for the defendant.

WHAT’S FALSE: Hillary Clinton did not volunteer to be the defendant’s lawyer, she did not laugh about the the case’s outcome, she did not assert that the complainant “made up the rape story,” she did not claim she knew the defendant to be guilty, and she did not “free” the defendant.

Notice that the TRUE and FALSE sections don’t match the claim. That’s because Snopes is playing the logical fallacy game of moving the goalposts and using straw men. The claim, as stated by Snopes, is 100% true.

Clinton did successfully defend her client; very successfully, in fact. Getting a beneficial plea bargain that is the best outcome a client can hope for is a successful defense. LaCapria is displaying her ignorance. Acquittal isn’t the only successful defense outcome.

Clinton also laughed about the case. What would you call this? ( from FactCheck.org)

In 2014, the Washington Free Beacon published the audio of an interview that Arkansas reporter Roy Reed conducted with Clinton in the 1980s. In the interview, Clinton recalls some unusual details of the rape case, and she can be heard laughing in three instances, beginning with a joke she makes about the accuracy of polygraphs.

Clinton: Of course he claimed he didn’t. All this stuff. He took a lie detector test. I had him take a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs. [laughs]

At another point, Clinton said the prosecutor balked at turning over evidence, forcing her to go to the judge to obtain it.

Clinton: So I got an order to see the evidence and the prosecutor didn’t want me to see the evidence. I had to go to Maupin Cummings and convince Maupin that yes indeed I had a right to see the evidence [laughs] before it was presented.

Clinton then said that the evidence she obtained was a pair of the accused’s underwear with a hole in it. Clinton told Reed that investigators had cut out a piece of the underwear and sent the sample to a crime lab to be tested, and the only evidence that remained was the underwear with a hole in it.

Clinton took the remaining evidence to a forensic expert in Brooklyn, New York, and the expert told her that the material on the underwear wasn’t enough to test. “He said, you know, ‘You can’t prove anything,’” Clinton recalled the expert telling her.

Clinton:I wrote all that stuff and I handed it to Mahlon Gibson, and I said, “Well this guy’s ready to come up from New York to prevent this miscarriage of justice.” [laughs]

That is certainly laughing about the case. Then Snopes tries equivocation, saying that Clinton didn’t laugh about the outcome of the case. I see: she laughed (three times!) while talking about the case, but wasn’t laughing about the case’s outcome, just…the case.

Ridiculous.

Similarly ridiculous is Snopes’ claim that Hillary “did not assert that the complainant ‘made up the rape story.'”  She pleaded that her client was not guilty, meaning that she argued in court that he didn’t rape the victim. Hillary claimed that her client was not guilty of rape while the victim was saying he raped her. Again from FactCheck.org:

Clinton filed a motion to order the 12-year-old girl to get a psychiatric examination. “I have been informed that the complainant is emotionally unstable with a tendency to seek out older men and engage in fantasizing … [and] that she has in the past made false accusations about persons, claiming they had attacked her body,” according to an affidavit filed by Clinton in support of her motion.

Clinton also cited an expert in child psychology who said that “children in early adolescence tend to exaggerate or romanticize sexual experiences and that adolescents with disorganized families, such as the complainant’s, are even more prone to such behavior,” Clinton wrote in her affidavit.

If Snopes is arguing that Hillary didn’t use the precise words ‘made up the rape story,’ that’s deceit. Obviously her defense was that the child said there was rape when there wasn’t one. In the meme Snopes was using in its post, “made up” is reasonable short hand for “falsely claimed that she was raped.”

Contrary to Scopes’ denials, Hillary also made it clear, in her quotes in the interview, that she thought her client was guilty. What else could “I had him take a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs” mean?

No, she didn’t volunteer for the case, and saying that she “freed” him is self-evidently sloppy in describing any criminal defense representation. Judges, juries and prosecutors free defendants; no defense lawyer has that power. Did Clinton’s efforts on behalf of the rapist make him a free man long, long before he would have been without Clinton’s efforts? Unquestionably. He was sentenced to just one year in a county jail and four years of probation, according to the  final judgment signed by the judge.

Conclusion: Snopes was dishonestly spinning for Hillary, even though what she had done in this case was simply competent lawyering, and entirely honorable.

As I explained here, there was nothing wrong, unethical or hypocritical about Clinton’s work in this case. Her laughter in the interview is a little unsettling, but Hillary’s laughter is often unsettling. She did her job as a defense lawyer, ethically, and well. The accusation that what she did was unethical is ignorant, but Snopes’ deceitful and misleading denial of what she did is just partisan spin.

In June, Snopes decided that the outrageous news story about a school calling the police to grill a fourth grader about something he said at a class party warranted undermining. After all, we can’t have people thinking that our schools abuse students based on hysterical political correctness and race-baiting.  Snopes then titled its post, dishonestly: “Police Called Over ‘Racist’ Brownies?”

No news reports claimed that the police were called because of the brownies. None. Police were called because a student made some statement about brownies that another student deemed racist, and the school staff called the police. It’s really easy to debunk a claim that was never made. Does the Snopes story prove that the story is false in any way? No. Why was it written then?

In July, we learned that the trend was no aberration. Snopes apparently felt that the inspiring Facebook post by officer Jay Stalien needed to be discredited, so it had LaCapria write this, which suggested by the inherent innuendo of presenting such a post on a hoax-exposure site that readers should be skeptical. The Stalien post expressed anti-Black Lives Matter sentiments. And Kim couldn’t prove that Stalien exists.

Come to think of it, I can’t prove that Kim exists.

When did Snopes start fact-checking Facebook opinion posts? It started when the site decided to choose sides, that’s when.

Last week, several sources, all so-called “conservative” news media, noted that the American flag was conspicuous by its absence on the set of the Democratic National Convention on its first day. Liberal media went into full-spin mode, scoffing at the criticism. Ethics Alarms concluded that the omission was intentional, at least to some extent:

…the Democratic Party has morphed into an organization that is increasingly dependent on the pleasure and approval of anti-American groups. The supporters of illegal immigration, some of whom advocate returning the Southwest to Mexico; angry black liberation movement activists, who regard the United States as a racist nation and culture; radical internationalists, who believe the United States should not only behave like “other first world nations,” but allow itself to be governed by them; progressives whose view of the United States, nourished by indoctrination in the public schools and colleges dominated by far left faculties, is relentlessly negative; growing numbers of socialists, anti-capitalists, anti-law enforcement activists and fans of soft totalitarianism—-these are increasingly the voting blocs that the professional politicians who  run the Democratic Party feel they must pander to and satisfy….These groups that the Democrats feel they have to prostrate themselves before don’t like the Constitution, free speech or the separation of powers; they don’t respect or care about democracy, as the conduct of the Democratic National Committee revealed in the leaked e-mails proved; they don’t honor the sacrifices of veterans in foreign wars; and they view the history of the United States as nothing better than a parade of  genocide and discrimination. The United States flag is affirmatively offensive to the Democrats’ core constituencies, so the Democratic Party has apparently decided that so few of its members or supporters have a genuine love of country and respect for its history that the central symbol of both is no longer welcome at its national celebration.

I believe my interpretation is valid. Flag imagery is so central to the history of political conventions that its sudden reduction by 2016 progressives could not have been a mere oversight.  Protests registered on Ethics Alarms from commenters arguing that “Democrats don’t care about symbolism” were belied by the recent Democrat-led efforts to purge the Confederate flag from the cultural scene, even to the extent of banning the sales of memorabilia and souvenirs bearing the symbol in Civil War battlefield gift shops, because of what it symbolized.

I also made two observations: Let’s see how many mainstream media journalists notice the missing flags, or care that they are gone” andIf there is sufficient criticism, watch how the DNC will suddenly make sure the flags re-appear, because forgetting to show the flag in a traditional celebration of American democracy is a mistake anyone could make.”

Observation #1 was borne out by the near total denial of the issue, or rationalization for it, in the mainstream media and from Democrats. My prediction, the second observation, came true by the second day of the convention, when more physical flags suddenly appeared.

Then Snopes, in full spin mode, issued a rebuttal of the no-flag observation, complete with a couple of photographs showing  when the flag appeared in digital form, a bunch of flags stuffed away somewhere, and a few individual Democrats in flag-themed garb. I expressed my skepticism about Snopes’ “proof.” It turned out that the rebuttal was worse than I suspected. The site was just busted by The Daily Caller, which checked the photos.

The DC’s findings: the photos offered by Snopes consisted of a screenshot from PBS’ coverage of day one, taken during the pledge of allegiance at the very beginning of the convention, before the physical flags were removed,  and a screenshot of C-SPAN’s day two coverage. Snopes falsely claimed that photo was from day one of the convention. Mallory Weggemann, the paralympic swimmer who gave Tuesday’s pledge of allegiance, is seen to the left of the C-Span logo, sitting in her wheelchair as the flag-bearers walk past her…

SnopesFlagsCSPAN-620x352

The verdict: Snopes lied. It deliberately presented a Day 2 photo as being taken on Day 1, because it was desperate to disprove the claims by “right wing sites” that the Democrats were minimizing the presence of the American flag.

That’s the end for Snopes. Even one example of bias-fed misrepresentation ends any justifiable trust readers can have that the site is fair, objective and trustworthy. Snopes has proven that it has a political and partisan agenda, and that it is willing to mislead and deceive its readers to advance it.

Can it recover? Maybe, but not without…

…Getting out of the political fact-checking business.

…Firing Dan Evon, who used the misleading flag photos, as well as Kim LaCapria.

…Confessing its betrayal of trust and capitulation to partisan bias, apologizing, and taking remedial measures.

With all the misinformation on the web, a trustworthy web site like Snopes used to be is essential. Unfortunately, a site that is the purveyor of falsity cannot also be the antidote for it.

I’ll miss Snopes, but until it acknowledges its ethics breach and convinces me that the site’s days of spinning and lying were a short-lived aberration, I won’t be using it again.

UPDATE (10/12/16): Popehat’s estimable Ken White has finally written about the Clinton rape defense, no doubt because the victim in the case has been recruited by the Trump campaign, and makes most of the same points I have, earlier and above. The representations of Clinton’s critics are largely accurate, but their assertion that Clinton’s conduct was wrongful is largely mistaken, based on a mistaken view of the legal profession.  Snopes, intent on running interference for Hillary, spins to deny the facts of her representation rather than explaining that she was just doing her job, and well at that. Ken does make an important  legal ethics point that I never flagged that was Hillary’s one major breach in the case. In her radio interview, she breached her duty of confidentiality by suggesting that she thought her client was guilty. Ken writes:

Clinton just suggested that she believed her client did what he was accused of, and a fair inference is that her belief may be premised in part on her confidential communications with him. That’s a violation of her ethical obligations of loyalty and confidentiality, and it’s not goddamn funny. It’s completely inappropriate. It’s easing her ethical duty to the former client in order to get a laugh line in an interview. The fact that it’s common for attorneys to put their egos ahead of their obligations to the client doesn’t make it right.

Snopes, meanwhile, is apparently still spinning for Clinton, or so I’m told. I’m never going back there, and I have to rely on the accounts of others.

210 thoughts on “Unethical Website Of The Month: Bye-Bye Snopes…You’re Dead To Me Now [UPDATED 10/12/2016]

  1. Several right-wing web sites offered the misleading claim that American flags had been banned and were absent from display at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

    Snopes shows several photographs portraying the on stage, on Day 1. When I posted the rebuttal, the Day 2 session had not yet even begun, so the original photographs could not have been from Day 2 speeches. They probably added more evidence as it came in, and some were in Erie. But their original point stands. There were flags on stage, and in the audience. It was in no way “banned.” Obviously there were not enough to suit some people, but the spurious and ridiculous claim that the flag was banned was successfully debunked.

    I am interested in the follow up to the brownie story. Has anyone heard of any progress on that story.

    • I didn’t say they were “banned” and nobody else did. The issue was visible flags during the first day of the convention. After the obligatory Pledge of Allegiance and the color guard that every convention has included for decades, the flags were carried off. Snopes posted that Day 2 photo ON Day 2, about Day One. Why are you trying to excuse that? When Charles asked a friend about it DURING THE CONVENTION, his answer wasn’t, “What? I saw flags!” but “Gee, I don’t know why.” Because it was obvious, and Snopes couldn’t find photos to prove otherwise.

      Snopes can’t make “mistakes” like that when its function is to debunk falsehood. This corrupt and dishonest party is forcing people like you and sources like Snopes to cover for it. Don’t

        • I never claimed flags were “banned” and Snopes was lying: it used photos that were not what it said they were. That’s not an allegation, it’s fact. The presence of the woman from Day 2 in the photo Snopes said was Day 1…the only day that’s relevant to any of the posts, since the Democrats rushed to add flags by Day 2.

          Why do people like you try to cover up dishonest stuff like this, or back-up those who do? What’s the matter with you? I don’t understand it. Lies are lies.

          • Snopes was NOT lying. I read several claims online that claimed flags were banned at the Democratic convention. They were not. That was the claim snopes was debunking. Any other mistake regarding dates, if there was one, is irrelevant to that claim.

            Furthermore, the information about Clinton laughing about the polygraph result regarding the rape case is on snopes.com site. Whether that laugh is “about the case” is a matter of semantics. Since snopes clearly explained the context for the laughter in their story, claiming they lied about this is false.

            The snopes article about Hillary Clinton is correct.

            • Just denying what is clear as it can be is not a rebuttal. Are you being paid? Are you blind? Are you stupid? The site used a day two photo to disprove an assertion about day one. That’s not a “mistake,” and a fact-checking site can’t make such “mistakes.” As for Clinton, the Snopes “verdict” about the laugh is the semantics, and semantics aren’t fact-checking. I explained very carefully, that the meme, except for minor details, is substantially true, not “mostly false.” No, Snopes denied the context of the laughter. I’ll print this out again, just to be clear, though it won’t make any difference because you are either an idiot or have some hidden agenda to be defending Snopes…I really don’t care.

              Claim: Hillary Clinton successfully defended an accused child rapist and later laughed about the case.”

              FACT: Hillary Clinton successfully defended an accused child rapist and later laughed about the case.

              Snopes didn’t label it “Summary”..Snopes itself labelled it the CLAIM. I correctly quoted the site. You’re not just spinning, you’re denying what’s right in front of your face. I’m holding them responsible for what they wrote.

              Did you, CAN you, read the post after the break? I was very specific and very correct. Snopes is accountable for how it frames what it claims to be disproving. Here, read what I wrote AGAIN , or maybe for the first time, since your comment doesn’t reflect any comprehension:

              Notice that the TRUE and FALSE sections don’t match the claim. That’s because Snopes is playing the logical fallacy games of moving the goalposts and using straw men. The claim, as stated by Snopes, is 100% true.

              Clinton did successfully defend her client; very successfully, in fact. Getting a beneficial plea bargain that is the best outcome a client can hope for is a successful defense. LaCapria is displaying her ignorance. Acquittal isn’t the only successful defense. Clinton also laughed about the case. What would you call this? ( from FactCheck.org)

              In 2014, the Washington Free Beacon published the audio of an interview that Arkansas reporter Roy Reed conducted with Clinton in the 1980s. In the interview, Clinton recalls some unusual details of the rape case, and she can be heard laughing in three instances, beginning with a joke she makes about the accuracy of polygraphs.

              Clinton: Of course he claimed he didn’t. All this stuff. He took a lie detector test. I had him take a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs. [laughs]

              At another point, Clinton said the prosecutor balked at turning over evidence, forcing her to go to the judge to obtain it.

              Clinton: So I got an order to see the evidence and the prosecutor didn’t want me to see the evidence. I had to go to Maupin Cummings and convince Maupin that yes indeed I had a right to see the evidence [laughs] before it was presented.

              Clinton then said that the evidence she obtained was a pair of the accused’s underwear with a hole in it. Clinton told Reed that investigators had cut out a piece of the underwear and sent the sample to a crime lab to be tested, and the only evidence that remained was the underwear with a hole in it.

              Clinton took the remaining evidence to a forensic expert in Brooklyn, New York, and the expert told her that the material on the underwear wasn’t enough to test. “He said, you know, ‘You can’t prove anything,’” Clinton recalled the expert telling her.

              Clinton:I wrote all that stuff and I handed it to Mahlon Gibson, and I said, “Well this guy’s ready to come up from New York to prevent this miscarriage of justice.” [laughs]

              That is certainly “laughing about the case.” Then Snopes tries equivocation, saying that Clinton didn’t laugh about the outcome of the case. I see: she laughed (three times!) while talking about the case, but wasn’t laughing about the case’s outcome, just…the case. Ridiculous.

              Similarly ridiculous is Snopes’ claim that Hillary “did not assert that the complainant ‘made up the rape story.’” She pleaded not guilty. She claimed that her client was not guilty of rape while the victim was saying he raped her. Again from FactCheck.org:

              Clinton filed a motion to order the 12-year-old girl to get a psychiatric examination. “I have been informed that the complainant is emotionally unstable with a tendency to seek out older men and engage in fantasizing … [and] that she has in the past made false accusations about persons, claiming they had attacked her body,” according to an affidavit filed by Clinton in support of her motion.

              Clinton also cited an expert in child psychology who said that “children in early adolescence tend to exaggerate or romanticize sexual experiences and that adolescents with disorganized families, such as the complainant’s, are even more prone to such behavior,” Clinton wrote in her affidavit.

              If Snopes is arguing that Hillary didn’t use the precise words ‘made up the rape story,’ that’s deceit. Obviously her defense was that the child said there was rape when there wasn’t one. In the meme Snopes was using in its post, “made up” is reasonable short hand for “falsely claimed that she was raped.”

              Hillary also made it clear, in the quotes in the interview, that she thought her client was guilty. What else could “I had him take a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs” mean?
              ***

              No, she didn’t volunteer for the case, and saying that she “freed’ him is self-evidently sloppy in describing any criminal defense representation. Judges, juries and prosecutors free defendants; no defense lawyer has that power. Did Clinton’s efforts on behalf of the rapist make him a free man long, long before he would have been without Clinton’s efforts? Unquestionably. He was sentenced to just one year in a county jail and four years of probation, according to the final judgment signed by the judge.

              Conclusion: Snopes was dishonestly spinning for Hillary, even though what she had done in this case was simply competent lawyering, and entirely honorable.

              As I explained here, there was nothing wrong, unethical or hypocritical about Clinton’s work in this case. Her laughter in the interview is a little unsettling, but Hillary’s laughter is often unsettling. She did her job as a defense lawyer. The accusation that what she did was unethical is ignorant, but Snopes’ deceitful and misleading denial of what she did are just partisan spin.

              The amazing thing is that I defended what Clinton did with this case using the facts, and Snopes tried to do it by denying the facts. The other amazing thing is that people like you are so corrupt that you are willing to go online and argue that up is down and black is white.

              • NOTE: I know I’ve copied the same text into comment replies three times already. Out of over 7000 post, I have seen dumb comments, biased comments, ignorant comments, and illogical arguments. I have even read the occasional comment that refuses to acknowledge what is undeniable, but never, ever, has the same post generated three almost identical comments in the manner of Bill H’s, which simply denies the evidence and maintains that what is false is in fact true.

                Why this post? Another commenter has attributed the phenomenon to an organized effort by Democrats to go online and discredit anything that runs counter to the predominant media pro-Democratic bias. But why would protecting Snopes fall under this category? The obstinate comments are especially ironic in this case, since I have defended Hillary Clinton in the matter of her representation of the rapist, while pointing out that Snopes’s ham-handed and dishonest effort to do the same falsifies the facts, while I based my defense on the facts. Why would that warrant a coordinated disinformation effort by the Democrat “Truth” Brigade, if in fact there is such a thing? Is Snopes seen as so vital an ally that it must be defended?

                I don’t get it. Maybe it’s a coincidence…after all, this post has set an Ethics Alarms record for views in a single week..why, I don’t know.

                • I was re-reading some of the articles published about MLK that run counter to what is upheld in this country and got to thinking about how Snopes might be spinning things this year. Sure enough, there was an update to something originally posted in 2003; an update further mitigating the facts concerning Mr. King’s use of plagerized material to gain his PhD. Needless to say, I was un-surprised. Thank you though, for your time and effort.

  2. I haven’t paid much attention to Snopes since I found out it’s “debunking” was running about 73% accurate. That other 27% worries me.

  3. Jack said, “With all the misinformation on the web, a trustworthy web site like Snopes used to be is essential. Unfortunately, a site that is the purveyor of falsity cannot also be the antidote for it.”

    We’ve been told that “they can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true”.

    Funny, eh?

    I’ve thought more than once that the idiot portrayed in that commercial is a lot closer to reality than we care to admit. I’ve met real life idiots just like that character. The problem is the that there is a growing segment in our society that seem to be ignorant as to how to figure out the differences between the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth and everything else. Genuine critical thinking for the general populace seems to be on a downward trend and rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

    I don’t think it’s funny anymore.

    The real problem is that the internet is full of absolutely false information, loads and loads of false innuendo, false this, false that, and much of it is presented as fact and a growing segment in our society is so damned lazy that they won’t spend a moment to think critically or check the validity of the information they read and/or use. Dumbed down is the best description of this trend. This dumbing down trend makes it really easy for politics to dive head first into using nothing but propaganda and innuendo as their dominate tactics; when presenting actual facts you’re now “looked at” like your nucking futs, I’ve been “attacked” by Progressives for stating simple verifiable facts with bigoted arguments like “your a Conservative, therefore you’re a liar”, it’s as if many Progressives believe that non-Progressive thinking is invalid. If it supports Progressive ideology, “they can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true.”

    Snoops and other sites are perpetuating the dumbing down of America.

  4. A related observation.

    I’ve noticed a disturbing general trend especially in the past few years where Progressives (not exclusively of course but it’s been very prominently used by many Progressives) will use absolutely anything they find on the internet or in print to support their argument, regardless of its validity, and they will present it in endless repetition and in such a way that gives the direct impression that they think that since it’s published it’s fact; I personally call this Progressive Magical Thinking (PMT) which is a direct extension of what I call Liberal Magical Thinking (LMT) which is if a Liberal says something it is automatically deemed truth and therefore fact.

    Disagree if you like; but, from my right of center vantage point that’s the overall trend I’ve been seeing.

    • It’s not just the people whom you oppose that do that. Everyone does that, because everyone wants to win an argument. Very rarely do people step back and think why they’re arguing, and contemplate the ultimate meaninglessness of what they’re doing.

      People are too attached to ideologies and labels in my opinion. This attachment causes them suffering.

      • stachus21,
        I’d just like to point out that I also wrote within that comment “(not exclusively of course but it’s been very prominently used by many Progressives)”. Thanks for reading.

        • “Notice that the TRUE and FALSE sections don’t match the claim. ”

          Right here you’re being totally fucking dishonest. The “claim” is just a summary of a much longer set of claims in THIS meme:

          You’re conveniently ignoring the actual claims Snopes is talking about and focusing on that summary sentence, as though it’s the entire argument.

          The claim, as stated by Snopes, is 100% true.” You mean the summary, taken out of context is 100% true … if you ignore the meme the God damn summary is talking about.

          Are you hoping people won’t click on the Snopes article or what?

          Sorry but Snopes is NOT the one being unethical here.

          • sinistar99,
            Ok, using your rhetoric so you completely understand my question…

            Who the fuck are you talking to? You posted that under my comment and it’s not fucking related to my comment and the quote you quoted is not mine. Fix your fucking error.

          • Wrong. Snopes defines its claims. The claims it chose to define, it did not disprove. It’s a web page–it’s not like they have space limitations. They should be held to their own framing of the issues.

            “Claim: Hillary Clinton successfully defended an accused child rapist and later laughed about the case.”

            FACT: Hillary Clinton successfully defended an accused child rapist and later laughed about the case.

            Snopes didn’t label it “Summary”..Snopes itself labelled it the CLAIM. I correctly quoted the site. You’re not just spinning, you’re denying what’s right in front of your face. I’m holding them responsible for what they wrote.

            Did you, CAN you, read the post after the break? I was very specific and very correct. Snopes is accountable for how it frames what it claims to be disproving. Here, read what I wrote AGAIN , or maybe for the first time, since your comment doesn’t reflect any comprehension:

            Notice that the TRUE and FALSE sections don’t match the claim. That’s because Snopes is playing the logical fallacy games of moving the goalposts and using straw men. The claim, as stated by Snopes, is 100% true.

            Clinton did successfully defend her client; very successfully, in fact. Getting a beneficial plea bargain that is the best outcome a client can hope for is a successful defense. LaCapria is displaying her ignorance. Acquittal isn’t the only successful defense. Clinton also laughed about the case. What would you call this? ( from FactCheck.org)

            In 2014, the Washington Free Beacon published the audio of an interview that Arkansas reporter Roy Reed conducted with Clinton in the 1980s. In the interview, Clinton recalls some unusual details of the rape case, and she can be heard laughing in three instances, beginning with a joke she makes about the accuracy of polygraphs.

            Clinton: Of course he claimed he didn’t. All this stuff. He took a lie detector test. I had him take a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs. [laughs]

            At another point, Clinton said the prosecutor balked at turning over evidence, forcing her to go to the judge to obtain it.

            Clinton: So I got an order to see the evidence and the prosecutor didn’t want me to see the evidence. I had to go to Maupin Cummings and convince Maupin that yes indeed I had a right to see the evidence [laughs] before it was presented.

            Clinton then said that the evidence she obtained was a pair of the accused’s underwear with a hole in it. Clinton told Reed that investigators had cut out a piece of the underwear and sent the sample to a crime lab to be tested, and the only evidence that remained was the underwear with a hole in it.

            Clinton took the remaining evidence to a forensic expert in Brooklyn, New York, and the expert told her that the material on the underwear wasn’t enough to test. “He said, you know, ‘You can’t prove anything,’” Clinton recalled the expert telling her.

            Clinton:I wrote all that stuff and I handed it to Mahlon Gibson, and I said, “Well this guy’s ready to come up from New York to prevent this miscarriage of justice.” [laughs]

            That is certainly “laughing about the case.” Then Snopes tries equivocation, saying that Clinton didn’t laugh about the outcome of the case. I see: she laughed (three times!) while talking about the case, but wasn’t laughing about the case’s outcome, just…the case. Ridiculous.

            Similarly ridiculous is Snopes’ claim that Hillary “did not assert that the complainant ‘made up the rape story.'” She pleaded not guilty. She claimed that her client was not guilty of rape while the victim was saying he raped her. Again from FactCheck.org:

            Clinton filed a motion to order the 12-year-old girl to get a psychiatric examination. “I have been informed that the complainant is emotionally unstable with a tendency to seek out older men and engage in fantasizing … [and] that she has in the past made false accusations about persons, claiming they had attacked her body,” according to an affidavit filed by Clinton in support of her motion.

            Clinton also cited an expert in child psychology who said that “children in early adolescence tend to exaggerate or romanticize sexual experiences and that adolescents with disorganized families, such as the complainant’s, are even more prone to such behavior,” Clinton wrote in her affidavit.

            If Snopes is arguing that Hillary didn’t use the precise words ‘made up the rape story,’ that’s deceit. Obviously her defense was that the child said there was rape when there wasn’t one. In the meme Snopes was using in its post, “made up” is reasonable short hand for “falsely claimed that she was raped.”

            Hillary also made it clear, in the quotes in the interview, that she thought her client was guilty. What else could “I had him take a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs” mean?
            ***

            No, she didn’t volunteer for the case, and saying that she “freed’ him is self-evidently sloppy in describing any criminal defense representation. Judges, juries and prosecutors free defendants; no defense lawyer has that power. Did Clinton’s efforts on behalf of the rapist make him a free man long, long before he would have been without Clinton’s efforts? Unquestionably. He was sentenced to just one year in a county jail and four years of probation, according to the final judgment signed by the judge.

            Conclusion: Snopes was dishonestly spinning for Hillary, even though what she had done in this case was simply competent lawyering, and entirely honorable.

            As I explained here, there was nothing wrong, unethical or hypocritical about Clinton’s work in this case. Her laughter in the interview is a little unsettling, but Hillary’s laughter is often unsettling. She did her job as a defense lawyer. The accusation that what she did was unethical is ignorant, but Snopes’ deceitful and misleading denial of what she did are just partisan spin.

            Got all that? Don’t you dare come on this blog and accuse me of being “unethical”when everything I posted is factual and supported by the facts. You are deliberately ignoring the facts on the record to defend Snopes, which was indefensible in this case.

            Clinton DID laugh. She DID assert that the defendant wasn’t raped—that’s called “criminal defense.” The girl WAS raped. Hillary WAS an advocate, as in “lawyer” for a rapist. Hillary did know her client was guilty. Criminal clients almost always are.

            So the false points are that Hillary was appointed to the case and she didn’t volunteer. Big deal: to a lawyer that is meaningless. She could have refused the appointment. And the fact that she represented a rapist doesn’t mean that she isn’t an advocate for women and children, but that’s an opinion, though an unfair one.

            Though the meme is hysterically phrased, factually it is MOSTLY TRUE, not “mostly false.”

  5. Snopes did the same thing in their “debunking” of the no uniformed police allowed on the DNC floor during proceedings” If you read the article closely, you’ll see that they merely say that the police chief said police were there (no one disputes that) and that they worked with secret service (no one disputes that) on the floor — but FAILS to say if they were or weren’t in uniform DURING proceedings or not – which was the claim. they also apparently failed to note the NY post article which states they confirmed the claim with 3 of the policemen who were there. http://nypost.com/2016/07/29/philly-police-say-uniformed-cops-were-barred-from-dnc-floor/
    Snopes needs to get out of political “fact checking”.

  6. Politifact is also significantly biased. They often don’t address relevant issues, sometimes for legit reasons but then include more trivial issues and then compare the totals as if all issues carry equal weight. They will then rate candidates truthfulness based on simple counts of these unequal measures.

  7. The hypocrisy on display here… Drama on the Internet draws views and pays the bills. Where to we draw ethical lines? Apparently not here.

  8. Almost a thousand Facebook shares, but just 14 comments that aren’t my own. Isn’t that odd? It means that many, many comments on this post are on the web, and I have no idea what they are.

  9. Snopes has always seemed almost entirely about propaganda. Any truth that finds it’s way in, is for purposes of creating a thin veneer of credibility, in order to shill their crap easier.

  10. Don’t you think it’s ODD that all these “fact Checking “sites are FOUND to be Left biased? I think _biased_ is the word to be questioned here. In other words,if they find that the Right-wingers are offloading another pile of Bullshit,after a few, it’s biased.

    • What a uniquely silly comment! Most media factchecking operations are left-biased because about 95% of journalists are progressive and Democrats. That’s not even a matter of controversy. So if a 90% of group that tilts one way, what is the likely tilt of their “factchecking”? Come on, you can do it!

      Yours is a particularly bad argument on this post, since I included specific and unquestionable examples.

      My job is tracking bias. Kessler tries to overcome his, occasionally succeeding. PolitiFact is disgraceful. FactCheck.org is the best, and generally trustworthy, but they have an ideological prism too, and it sometimes mars their work.

      Denying the bias, however, is embarrassing.

  11. “She laughed (three times!) while talking about the case, but wasn’t laughing about the case’s outcome, just…the case. Ridiculous.”

    Actually that seems pretty normal from a psychological perspective. Professionals with stressful jobs have weird forms of humor. Doctors are notoriously glib about the horrors they have to deal with, I’d expect a lawyer to be awkwardly giggly when dealing with literally absurd Kafkaesque situations like a violent criminal passing a lie detector test. Laughter is a normal response to uncomfortable events, especially when they are absurd and wrong.

    • Absolutely. That kind of nervous laugh is a common and normal reaction to something disturbing. She clearly was not happy with the outcome, and the “ha ha you got raped” idea the meme is trying to shovel is utter crap. Snopes is right to bust the misleading and ridiculous meme.

      • True: She laughed about the case. Why she laughed, and how you and Snopes may spin it, doesn’t make the statement untrue. Nor is she not happy with the outcome. Did you read the post? She succeeded in the case. Are you suggesting that she woould have been glad if her client had been convicted? If so, she would be guilty of a conflict of interest. Lawyers are not unhappy when they help their clients.

        You don’t know what you are talking about, and are very positive about an incompetent opinion based on ignorance of what lawyers, including Hillary, do.

        • The more I think about these two comment of yours, the more annoyed I get. You are literally denying what is plain and undeniable. The meme is not “mostly wrong.” The objective of it is completely wrong: there was nothing unethical or improper about what Hillary did in that case. But the meme is mostly factual.

          Was the girl raped? Yes. By a 42 year old man? Yes.
          Did Hillary “volunteer”? No, she was appointed.
          Hillary’s case, presented through experts,was that girls like the client often fantasized about sex and may have made up the accusation. This is true. This was her case.
          Hillary’s settlement deal indeed DID result in the rapist being freed.
          She did know he was guilty (though the meme implies there’s something wrong with that, and there’s not.)
          She did laugh, about the case. That was the context of her laughter.
          She WAS an advocate for a rapist, though “is” is incorrect.

          That means the meme is substantially and overwhelmingly accurate on the FACTS, though not what the facts are assembled to suggest. Snopes’ posts are supposed to check facts, not show how opinions are wrong.

          That’s MY job.

          Your post is biased, insulting AND dishonest, and if the next one is anything like it, it won’t be published, and you’ll be banned here.

          • You said “You are literally denying what is plain and undeniable. ”
            This seems to be a common disorder among subversives. (I refuse to call them progressives or liberals. That is inaccurate. Maybe Democrats or “the left”.) I have posted so many things with audio/video/written proof to back up my point. But people get an opinion in their head about a person, thing, concept, and they will not accept ANY proof at all to the contrary of their idea/belief! It makes my belly hurt with disgust.
            There is a pair of pictures floating around of the scene of the inauguration from a vantage point up high, perhaps inside the Washington Monument. On the left, it shows a blurry scene, full of people which represents Obama’s in 2009. On the right, Trumps. Trumps is about 1/2 full of people. The captions claim that these represent each man’s inauguration. But there are other pics WITH TRUMP IN THEM which clearly lead me to believe that the sparsely-populated one was taken many hours before. My experience says that you can spend hours trying to convince people that they have been duped. But few will EVER admit that they’re wrong, even with the evidence right in front of them!

  12. This is willfully misleading at best. Here’s the link to the snopes article.

    http://www.snopes.com/hillary-clinton-freed-child-rapist-laughed-about-it/

    As you can see, the wording in the claim section might be a bit off, but it CLEARLY shows that the reasoning is deb inking the actual meme, not the poor wording of the claim. This site is cherry picking and putting g words in Snopes mouth. It’s also building its own strawman. It doesn’t like snopes because snopes doesn’t agree with them. Snopes never claimed to be an ethics site. It’s a reference site, nothing more.

    • Baloney. Read the post. (I did link to the Snopes story, and you are slimy for pretending that I didn’t.) I just explained to a similarly addled commenter that the Meme is almost completely correct factually, and Snopes spins the statement to mislead readers. You’re right, Snopes is supposed to be a reference site, which is why its partisan lying and spinning is outrageous. Here, once more, I’ll reprint the facts of the matter, as entered in mypost, which you either didn’t read, can’t understand, or are deliberately ignoring or misrepresenting.

      Was the girl raped? Yes. By a 42 year old man? Yes.
      Did Hillary “volunteer”? No, she was appointed.
      Hillary’s case, presented through experts,was that girls like the client often fantasized about sex and may have made up the accusation. This is true. This was her case.
      Hillary’s settlement deal indeed DID result in the rapist being freed.
      She did know he was guilty (though the meme implies there’s something wrong with that, and there’s not.)
      She did laugh, about the case. That was the context of her laughter.
      She WAS an advocate for a rapist, though “is” is incorrect.

      Unless you can rebut any of this, and you cannot, since it is 100% true, then your comment is total junk. And it is.

      That means the meme is substantially and overwhelmingly accurate on the FACTS, though not what the facts are assembled to suggest. Snopes’ posts are supposed to check facts, not show how opinions are wrong.

  13. looks like i won’t be using snopes for anything political the same way i don’t use wikipedia.

    at first I couldn’t believe that people were trying to argue against the facts that are plainly laid out here, then I remembered that there is a superpac that hires people to comment online to defend hillary.
    https://sli.mg/iXqOgY

    • Interesting…is that where these dumb comments are coming from? Why? I’ve taken Hillary’s side in this…or are they just protecting a Democratic Party operative masquerading as a neutral reference site?

  14. Ugh. In the blog equivalent of finding out you have been on live TV with a big piece of spinach on your teeth, I just noticed and fixed about ten typos…missing articles, plurals, words missing spaced between them. These typos have been up on Ethics Alarms while over 7000 Facebook pages shared the post, an Ethics Alarms record by a mile. (As usual, I never can guess which posts take off. There are many others that I wish got that kind of attention.) It’s also been linked in Reddit and similar sites. How embarrassing, though all typos are embarrassing…meaning that my steady state is embarrassment.

  15. Did anyone see a post about Hillary’s private email server on snopes? I was told that it said that George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell all did exactly the same thing that Hillary did. I don’t think that’s true. For one thing, Hillary had her personal email account, the State Dept. acct., the Clinton Foundation acct., Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton’s acct.s on the same server. I’ve never heard that anyone else had a private server in their house before.

    • You can find the explanation for why that is just deception and spin on Ethics Alarms as well as many other places. The short answer is that the use of e-mail, hacking technology and government policies were completely different: what was acceptable then is negligent and incompetent now. That was one of Hillary’s first lies on this topic, and one of the most obviously stupid, designed for ignorant partisans. At this point, I don’t care what Snopes says or said about anything. It has no credibility. I’m not going back there.

      • Thanks for the information Jack Marshall. I have also heard bad reports of snopes coverage recently and have been skeptical of their site for a while. I have been arguing with someone who keeps saying that all those people did the same thing Clinton did and they didn’t get in trouble so she didn’t do anything wrong. It is maddening. What Hillary did was a blatant flaunting of the law. She should be held accountable but she’s not for that or anything else criminal that she’s done.

      • Did you see this?
        http://www.technorms.com/454/get-your-facts-right-6-fact-checking-websites-that-help-you-know-the-truth

        Get Your Facts Right – 6 Fact Checking Websites That Help You Know The Truth

        The Internet has been called “The Information Super Highway” and rightly so. It’s now the epicenter of breaking news and the free flowing information has brought the world and the people closer and made us aware of other cultures and traditions. But all this comes with a flipside.

        The amount of misinformation that is spread on the web is staggering. It is spread mainly via Websites, Social Networks, and Email. The Hot Topics for such misinformation are Politics, Government Policies, Religion and various Scams and Hoaxes.
        -snip-

        • Since the list includes Snopes, which lies, and PolitiFact, which is little better than a Democratic Party shill, I don’t care who else is on the list. The list creator is spreading bad information, and aiding and abetting untrustworthy sources.

          • FactCheck.org is the lead fact checking service of the article. Kathleen Hall Jamieson was on Bill Moyers show several times and she is associated with it. FactCheck.org looks reliable to me.

            • As I said, it’s the best of the group, but it’s still left biased. It tries to be fair, though, and usually succeeds.
              Which makes it all the more damaging when it is influenced by bias.

              • Frankly, many times the truth is labeled left leaning because the right often obscures the truth, I am talking about members of both major parties. the GOP supports the denial of science, for example. It is in their party’s platform.

                • Obscuring the truth is a bi-partisan exercise. The Democratic platform is equally bad, all platforms are. Ideologies can only survive in the denial of reality. Platforms are documents designed to keep the whackos happy. A plank demanding nuclear disarmament or a 15 dollar minimum wage is just as ridiculous as one denying evolution or something else. I don’t read them, because they aren’t serious. Using platforms to attack either party is a cheap shot, and intellectually lazy. They are worthless.

                  • OK, It’s not just the GOP platform that does not respect science, it is their legislation and the ideology of conservative legislators. The belief that man has nothing to do with climate change or water quality because of fracking. Blasting into the earth has nothing to do with earth quakes either.
                    Nuclear disarmament would not make us safer but it could do damage to munitions companies’ bottom lines. $15.00 an hour minimum wage wouldn’t be practical if corporate executives are to continue making millions of dollars every year plus stock options. The man’s got to have his yacht and private jet. Let minimum wage earners go on welfare if they can’t live on $7.25 an hour. Taxpayers will take care of them.
                    Tell me why you have determined that that FactCheck.org is left leaning?

                    • I’ve caught them a few times “fact-checking” opinions from conservatives—that’s the most common kind of bias. They also, like the Post’s Fact-checker, tend to rate Democrat lies as less serious than GOP lies. I actually caught the head of the service spinning in a live Q and A some years back. She was very defensive. I’ll check the current set of checks and get back to you. Since I think “fact-checking” is inherently biased, I don’t routinely peruse them. I see Kessler’s because I live in DC, and because when the Post flags a Democratic lie, it’s news.

                      The rest of the comment is a free-standing political screed, and those are not allowed here. Both fracking and climate change are more complicated than your black and white representation, and the science in both cases is hyped by activists, and subject to over-selling by the news media. There’s nothing anti-science about concluding that projections about climate change are still too speculative, and that confirmation bias reigns. None of the models have proven accurate enough to base expensive, economy-killing regulations on. As for the causes of climate change, and how to address it, completely unproven. Asserting that is pro-science, and anti-hype. The Democratic platform claims that an embryo isn’t a living human life, because it’s in thrall to the abortion lobby. That denies science too.

                    • Just checked Fact-Check.org. Right up front: “Donald Trump claims that President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “founded ISIS.” But the origin of the Islamic State terrorist group dates back to the Bush administration.” NO, he did not claim that, and any fair observer who isn’t determined to see what they want to see knew exactly what he meant: that Obama and Clinton policies allowed ISIS to grow and take hold. Of course that’s what he meant, and only biased reporters and those determined to undermine Trump have claimed otherwise. Here’s Ann Althouse, no more of a Trump admirer than I am but sick of this garbage:

                      I’m really tired of it, but then I pay excessive attention to the jabber of the day. I find it hard to bother to talk about Trump’s saying Obama is “the founder of ISIS” and Hillary Clinton is “the co-founder.” Really, does anyone want to own up to being so deficient in language skill that they don’t get it? Apparently they do. Here’s Allegra Kirkland at Talking Points Memo: “Trump Now Says Claim That Obama Was ‘Founder Of ISIS’ Was ‘Sarcasm.'”

                      I remember when liberals liked to present themselves as the smart people. But these are not normal times.

                      If Fact-Check.org was objective, they’d see this the same way as Althouse and me. Typical Trump trolling, inarticulately delivered and not a statement to be taken, and “fact-checked.” since it is obvious hyperbole.

                    • The Clinton/Trump back and forth is a distraction from what is really going on. I don’t think either one of them have anything to do with a left or right wing point of view. Too bad politics has reached such a low point with nothing to offer anyone human.

                    • I doubt that the Trump-Clinton disaster has grand systemic implications. Both parties have weak leadership and irresponsible hacks in charge. With luck, both will also pay a high price for betraying the public and democracy by allowing these awful individuals to be the choices.

  16. Snopes also spun a story about a little girl being gang raped by 3 refugees and called it false because the local report was that they were Syrian refugees, that there was no evidence of the 14 yr old being high fives by his dad, that there was no knife involved because the cops didn’t find one. They further claimed that since 2 children weren’t sexually developed and couldn’t ejaculate, that it couldn’t be deemed a gang rape. Here is the link to the snopes page: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.snopes.com/three-syrian-refugees-assault-5-year-old-girl-at-knifepoint/&ved=0ahUKEwiwo-bG9LzOAhVHTCYKHc9WDdQQFggbMAA&usg=AFQjCNH1zT4UWgctXIu4b8tWBNFrVuJQ8w&sig2=DWPTixNwtNvj2QJEIXSYaA

    And here is one of many articles from mainstream news sources: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/06/22/idaho-town-torn-by-alleged-rape-fear-refugees.html&ved=0ahUKEwjO6_fr9LzOAhUBxCYKHV53BgMQFggnMAM&usg=AFQjCNFUkqu9wPZ8nEsb08wB-GjfEQNRiA&sig2=JVs1ZGs7IXVTXpQy6A61sQ

    Ever since this, I’ve lost any respect I had for snopes. They are politically driven and corrupted.

    • That’s a perfect example; I wish I had know about it when I wrote the post. But it’s also so obviously spin. When lawyers make arguments that whispy, it signals desperation. So does Snopes. I can’t imagine how this can do anything but wreck its reputation.

  17. I’m delighted to have stumbled across this site; this good read being the post that finally caught my eye, as I have discerned a certain slant on Snopes for more than a year. I was going to comment that a couple of commenters here were completely and repeatedly missing your point and you should probably just give up on them. Then I read zodak’s comment, and it all makes sense to me now. You should still give up on them. They’re not here to understand, they’re merely here to shill.

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