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. I wanted to document an example of something I experienced on Snopes. It involves a “fact check” involving the following claim:

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

    Answer: Mostly false.

    Why does it say that this is “mostly false”? In fact, Hillary did successfully defend an accused child rapist. This is a fact. Furthermore, we can clearly hear Hillary Clinton laughing several times in the audio as she is discussing the case.

    I was under the mistaken impression that this written by a real journalist, so I actually wrote to them to try to correct the issue. Here is what they wrote me in a no-reply e-mail:
    ———————————————————————————————–

    You have misread. Nowhere in our article does it say she does not laugh. We already include a link to the audio in our article.

    Rather than telling us what you think we wrote, why don’t you just actually read the article instead? You could then clearly see that yes, Hillary Clinton laughed, and it is discussed on our page.

    Your message will not be forwarded to Kim — she doesn’t have time to read fiction right now.


    sitemail@snopes.com

    ———————————————————————————————–

    I wanted to document this so that people can see the truth about Snopes. By the way, you might be surprised to learn that I am a registered Democrat.

    • Thanks for this. It’s pretty damning. That “check,” as I document as well, was especially tortured and wrong. The letter is also engaging in dishonesty: they denied that she laughed about the case, and she did. “We never said she didn’t laugh!” is addressing a complaint that was never made.

      And yet, just a couple days ago, the Washington Post cited Snopes as an authority. You can’t trust a source that behaves like this.

  2. I realized how skewed Snopes was years ago. I have found it has always been slanted in favor of a more liberal mindset, and has often addressed a claim by fluffing the response and addressing minor issues and bypassing the major one. They were in it to make money, and did not desire to find the truth. I rely on Fact Check more than Snopes any day of the week, but usually try to find several sites to confirm the truth of any subject.

  3. Snopes summary of the story is entirely fair and accurate. Other sources have verified their version. This entire campaign to smear a defense attny for being a defense attny is deeply disturbing. It is effectively showing your willingness to destroy the entire criminal justice system solely because you resent one woman. (http://www.factcheck.org/2016/06/clintons-1975-rape-case/)

    Your central charge is, ‘Notice that the TRUE and FALSE sections don’t match the claim.’ Except they do.

    What Snopes said: ‘Hillary Clinton did not volunteer to be the defendant’s lawyer, she did not laugh about 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.’ Only the “knew the defendant to be guilty” part is questionable, and that becomes an argument over the meaning of the words “knew” and “believed.”

    A lot has been (tried to be) made about her callousness in laughing — but in the interview, decades after the fact, she laughed about the worthlessness of polygraphs, a wild distortion and vile libel that your article perpetuates.

    A “not guilty” plea comes from the defendant, not the attny.

    A filing to challenge the testimony of a witness or victim is part of the process, not a defense attny’s attack on the person.

    Yes, your article demeans a defense attny for doing her job.

    Farther down the same column, “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:” That statement is wholly false. http://www.snopes.com/…/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/dnc.jpg

    Shall a keep going? This attack on Snopes is a defense of fake and biased news sites. It accuses Snopes of a bias towards Clinton that doesn’t exist. I don’t think it is a stretch to state that shameless prevarication in service of dishonest bias is evidence of the dishonest bias itself.

    Yes, Snopes remains a quality source.

    • Be quiet, Bob, you corrupted fool, and let me talk to the honest readers:

      What do you think? Is this a form-comment, with additions, from the Hillary camp, the Snopes camp, or some other pit of lies?? Notice that Bob’s argument completely ignores the details of the post.

      I repeatedly emphasized what I had in two earlier posts, that the criticism of Clinton for this representation was wrong, ignorant and unfair. Here’s one such statement:

      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.

      Yet Tool Bob writes:

      “A filing to challenge the testimony of a witness or victim is part of the process, not a defense attny’s attack on the person.
      Yes, your article demeans a defense attny for doing her job.”

      Well, no, in fact it does the opposite, and damn clearly too.

      There’s no reason for me to waste good time flicking away the other dishonest arguments in this pathetic Jumbo post, though I must flag this:

      “A lot has been (tried to be) made about her callousness in laughing — but in the interview, decades after the fact, she laughed about the worthlessness of polygraphs, a wild distortion and vile libel that your article perpetuates.”

      Pretty hilarious. Hillary laughs (I have never written that it was callous, though the exchange might be unethical, since she essentially tells the world that her client committed rape), as the TRANSCRIPT SHOWS, because the fact that her supposedly innocent client that she knew was guilty passed the lie detector test is what indicated that polygraphs could be conned. The discussion wasn’t about polygraphs, the discussion was about her client. Of course she’s laughing—ruefully, ironically, nervously, it doesn’t matter–she laughed—about THE CASE. The whole discussion is about THE CASE. The reason she made the little joke about polygraphs is the CASE.

      I especially like this dolt using snopes to rebut my claim about snopes. Note that he doesn’t bother to explain the misleading photograph.

      Who ARE these people, and how typical are they of Hillary Clinton supporters?

      • You are being completely dishonest and unethical, Jack. Snopes examined the veracity of the meme in that post. You didn’t even post the meme in your response. The meme was clearly biased and misleading: it speaks in 1st person as if the victim wrote it (she did not), it says Hillary volunteered to defend the guy (nope), it says Hillary told the judge, in court, that the victim made up the rape story because she enjoyed fantasizing about old men (she did not), it says Hillary got the rapist freed (nope), it says Hillary gave an interview where she admitted she knew he was guilty (he pled guilty, and she never “admitted” she knew he was guilty), it says she laughed about her admission that he was guilty (he pled guilty, she made a quip about the lie detector). Everything in that meme that Snopes debunked was a lie, and you ignore that — not sure if that’s because you are no intelligent, do not understand what Snopes does, or are being intentionally dishonest.

        This coming from a supposed ethicist? Lol.

        • By rights I should spam this comment, because it’s insulting, it’s really intellectually crippled, it recycles bad arguments that I have rebutted on this thread repeatedly, and it uses LOL, which is banned here. Read the comments policies—and it uses the equally disfavored “supposed ethicist” : I am a professional, full time 80 hours a week ethicist, jerk.

          But I really, really hate it when tools like you deny facts and airtight arguments, and use a string of fallacies to mislead others, so I’ll take the time to show what a disgraceful steaming pile of disinformation and stupidity this comment is…and THEN you’re banned.

          Snopes stated what it was “checking” this way:

          Claim: Hillary Clinton successfully defended an accused child rapist and later laughed about the case. This it said was “Mostly False.”

          It was entirely true. 100%. Clinton defended the client successfully by making a plea deal, and laughed about the case, three times, in the recorded interview anyone can listen to. There is no dispute about either of these facts. The tapes make it obvious that Clinton laughed about the fact that her client passed a polygraph even though he was guilty. And the client faced serious jail time; Clinton poked enough holes in the case to get him a deal. He risked major prison time otherwise.

          I’m sorry you don’t understand what qualifies as successful criminal representation, but I do, having been both a defense attorney, a prosecutor, and having co-authored a book about the greatest criminal defense attorney who ever lived. HIS greatest success may have been in a case where his two guilty clients got life imprisonment. Snopes relies on the ignorance of its readers. Like you.

          1. “It speaks in 1st person as if the victim wrote it (she did not)”
          Yes, It’s a meme. The meme also shows a drawing that it represents as a real person, but its just a drawing: misrepresentation! My post concerned the substantive matters Snopes falsely argued, not this foolishness that is typical of almost every meme. Anyone can dissect any meme like that, but Snopes unethically used the meme to deny the two major facts that mattered, and they were TRUE. ALL memes are exaggerated political hit graphics. This one was unfair and sloppy: I pointed that out, and what was wrong with the criticism it represented when I defended Clinton’s defense work in a separate post, linked to this one.

          2. It says Hillary volunteered to defend the guy (nope)

          I already flagged that in the post, and it is irrelevant anyway. It doesn’t reflect on Hillary’s feminism, ethics, ANYTHING whether she volunteered, or as really happened, was appointed. Her duty and function as a lawyer is the same; both are wholly ethical, and if you stop being as lazy as this comment shows you are, you can find them on this blog.

          3.”It says Hillary told the judge, in court, that the victim made up the rape story because she enjoyed fantasizing about old men (she did not)”

          Wrong. l’ve read the transcript, and that is a simplified and inartful but mostly accurate description of Hillary’s defense. She said there was no rape, that the victim made it up or imagined it, and suggested that she is so inclined. And a perfectly ethical defense it was.

          4. “It says Hillary got the rapist freed (nope)”

          Wrong again. Hillary got the rapist freed long before he would have been had he stood trial. He was free when, without her effort, he would have been in prison. And again, I flagged that misleading phrasing too. It’s nitpicking. She defended him, and got a good result. How good doesn’t make her better or worse, though the stupid meme suggests so, and so does Snopes, by bickering over phrasing, and so do you.

          5. It says Hillary gave an interview where she admitted she knew he was guilty (he pled guilty, and she never “admitted” she knew he was guilty),

          “Admitted” is a characterization; it’s no lie. It is wrong, though, because she has nothing to “admit.” Admit suggests wrongdoing. But it wouldn’t change what Snopes was arguing if the meme said that she “shamelessly” implied that he was guilty, which she did…because she had nothing to be ashamed about. She did a good job. She made it clear that she knew he was guilty (which may have been an ethics violation: I call it one.)

          6.“It says she laughed about her admission that he was guilty (he pled guilty, she made a quip about the lie detector).”

          It doesn’t say that. But she did laugh about the fact that he passed the lie detector test, and the reason she laughed was that he passed despite being guilty. And she laughs two more times ABOUT THE CASE.

          7 Everything in that meme that Snopes debunked was a lie”..
          Well, except he two major points that Snopes highlighted specifically:

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

          Both of which are true, completeLy. And the trivia tha you cite are not lies; they are, insequence..

          1. Typical meme style that is not intended to taken as literally true, a transparent devise not intended to deceive anyone.

          2. A non-material detail reported in error

          3. A fairly accurate representation of Clinton’s defense.

          4. A too vague but essentially correct description of what Clinton accomplished.

          5 and 6. The factual description of the interview and what Hillary said and did during it, which can only be denied by willfully ignoring what is on the tape.

          7. Your complete misrepresentation, lack of comprehension, integrity or all three.

          Now you’re banned.

    • Bob,
      Everything you ignored and wrote proves you’re a genuine tool of the political left and a blatantly ignorant snopes.com apologist. Congratulations for being a puppet!

      Don’t go away mad, just go away.

    • Hillary only laughs once in the beginning when she mentions the lie detector.

      Here’s where Hillary laughs when they are not talking about the polygraph:

      I had to go to Maupin Cummings and convince Maupin that, yes, I had a right to see the evidence before it was presented. 1’20”
      And he sat at his little desk, and I pulled out my underpants gave them to him… 2’4″

      And I wrote all that stuff and I handed it to Mahlor Gibson, “Well this guy is ready to come from New York to prevent this miscarriage of justice.” [big laugh on “miscarriage of justice” which she is clearly stating ironically since she already stated that she believes her client was guilty of child rape.] 2’28”

      Here she isn’t laughing but talks about how fun it was getting the child rapist off: “That was Maupin. Had a lot of fun with Maupin.” 3’17”

      It seems to me she’s laughing about how clever she was and fun it was to get a child rapist off. But it is not possible to make a case that she was only laughing at the lie detector.

  4. You made a statement that seems to be incorrect.
    “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.”
    As far as I know, the lawyer is not the one who makes the plea. The client does. Or can a lawyer override the client’s plea and change it to the one the lawyer thinks it should be? I certainly hope not!
    So saying that Hillary pleaded that her client is not guilty is incorrect. She only stated what her client’s plea was, and then, as you pointed out, was legally obliged to defend that plea.
    So you can’t blame her for her client’s plea.

    • What, in God’s name, is your point? The lawyer advises the client. The client is responsible for the plea, but the lawyer usually advises, as in “You’re caught dead to rights, and will get convicted. Plead guilty, and we can get a light sentence.” Or “the case is weak. Plead no guilty, and make we can get a deal to plead guilty. OR “You’re innocent, and we might get an acquittal.” The lawyer also is responsible for trying to discourage a stupid plea, or a dishonest one.

      And I didn’t blame her for his plea, anywhere. Do you knee-jerk idiots read anything before you write this crap?

  5. Hillary missed an opportunity to stand up for rape victims. Last century it was common for rapists to walk free. A lawyer could easily win a case By proving the little girl craved or had the propensity or sex drive to allure older men and cause him to rape her. the children were sent to psychiatric hospitals or clinics or private offices to under go extensive testing and observation. Children heard and were Asked about things they should not hear at that age. Did Hillary take a stand for rape
    Victims and say, “Hey, this is not right. I’m going to turn this around, right this wrong.” ? She could have refused the case but she took it. She took it because she wanted to win and it would be an easy win. That is Hillary – easy wins and win by having other people do her dirty work ( the psychiatrists). And win no matter who gets hurt. Or who pays. Hillary is not a friend to children and women. She could have made a difference to turn around the old last-century conviction of little children and letting racists walk away. But she didn’t.

    • She can certainly choose not to represent rapists and accused rapists and those unjustly accused, for all she knows.

      But the ethics of the profession is that everyone deserves a defense, and that all lawyers should take such cases if they are competent to handle them.

  6. The folks countering the article ignore the core content and instead are looking for a word, a statement, a …they are looking to get Hillary off on a technicality the same way Hillary got her client off…ignore the facts, ignore the events, and if you manage to find a single mistake then somehow that means everything stated is wrong. What is worse is that Snopes has this trick of framing the question in such a way as to make it easier to state True or False. So by adding someone’s, anyone’s or making up a false sentence to a mostly correct scenario they can latch on that to state ‘mostly false’ Politi-fact and others do that all the time. Then they launch into the most innocuous part of the statement to render their ‘False’ verdict while ignoring the fact there may be victims, rapists, and bodies strewn all over the place. Then the sheeple defending their almighty heros on their social media site can link the “false” verdict to their replies.

  7. Thank you. These are several and I have seen a few others. They have turned into a propaganda machine. I expressed some dissatisfaction to them on their articles which only few knew were disingenuous. Unfortunately many believe them and so they have become willing to use that for political gain “while it matters”. I hope more people call them out.

  8. Still waiting for Snopes to debunk the hands up don’t shoot narrative, but I suppose hell will freeze over, or longer that the Jets will win a Super bowl before that happens

  9. Just like snopes said that the story of the 5 year old girl (in Twin Falls i believe) who was raped by 3 immigrant boys while a 4th one video taped it on a phone was “mostly false”, when it was MOSTLY TRUE. That’s when I knew snopes had an agenda.

    • Did you read the snopes article? What part are you disagring with? It said it was the claim that is was Syrian refugees that were the ones involved.

  10. Someone just left another pathetic defense of Snopes in this matter. Repeating the same ignorant arguments doesn’t make them any better or less dishonest. The assertions of the Hillary meme in question were mostly true, not mostly false, She did get her client released well before his actual crime would dictate. She knew he was guilty. She did argue that the plaintiff made up or imagined the rape. She did laugh about the case. No, she didn’t volunteer for the case, but she accepted the assignment, and didn’t have to. The meme was mostly correct in its specifics, but wrong in its conclusion, which was that anything about the representation reflected badly on Clinton. It didn’t, as I explained. Now, if Scopes weren’t the hack partisan site it is, it would have explained this to its readers, which would have 1) been useful and 2) been fair and accurate, AND debunked the intent of the meme, but not its facts. Instead, because it is neither objective nor honest, like, say, ME, Snopes chose to bend the truth to claim the meme was false.

    This latest jerk actually gave his screen name as BANNEDJERKLOL, guaranteeing that his terrible pro-Snopes defense wouldn’t be seen, AND that d be banned here. Go figure.

  11. Hi Jack – if you’re still monitoring comments, here’s another hide-the-ball type snopes deceit by writer David Emery, who flat out labeled as “FALSE” Trump’s claim that the Obama birther ruckus came from 2008 Clinton campaign supporters.

    Why was it “FALSE”? After tossing up several hundred words worth of chaff to lead the reader around in circles so that he/she forgets what the claim was actually about (or, more likely in hopes the reader will quit reading and simply be left with the impression the claim is “False”), he admits that Clinton supporters were spreading the birther rumor by email in April 2008.

    But the knock-out conclusive punch making Trump’s claim “False” was – get this – a “post” (that is, a reader comment) on a conservative blog which was made “at least a month before Clinton supporters got on the e-mail bandwagon”.

    Anyone with self respect would not have labeled Trump’s claim flat out “False”. At worst it’s in the category “mostly true” or “true but not completely accurate as to details/background”.

    I wonder how snopes would have gone about spinning their story if Trump had said that Clinton supporters had “publicized” the birther controversy rather than “started” the birther controversy.

    • Thanks for reporting on this. I meant it when I said snopes was dead to me; I’m assuming what they write is untrustworthy and biased, so I’m not going to look for examples. Nobody should trust the site. Period.

      Still, this is an excellent example.

  12. snopes is doing worse than obvious pro Hillary twisting.
    They are posting the fake news stories supplied by the Hillary camp that either trash Trump or glorify Hillary with the nonsense that it can’t be confirmed somewhere in the middle of the text.
    THEN WHY POST IT.
    They post it so the paid Hillary Trolls can go on Facebook, Twitter, and other sociAL media to LINK BACK TO SNOPES POST
    TO GIVE THE FAKE STORY FALSE LEGITIMACY FROM SNOPES NAME.
    then there’s the following piece that the Clinton’s used their charity to avoid tax.
    Snopes Claims it’s False by rewriting the original to show Clinton Foundation as claimed benafactor of the $1,000,000.
    so they could say it’s false.
    It is actually TRUE.
    Snopes OWN article shows the:
    “Clinton Family Foundation” received the Million dollar donation and this separate entity is the Clinton piggy bank for making charitable donations with no offices nor employees. NOT the real NGO “Clinton Foundation”
    Misleading crap to make Hillary look good.

  13. Looking for the transcript of hillary interview. SHE talks about people “from the other side of the track” & how she went to the expert because “he would make it the you wanted .?

    Show her disdain for people and willingness to lie to a court !,

    • It doesn’t show that at all. Experts are genuine authorities or they can’t testify. Finding one who genuinely supports a theory of a case isn’t lying; it’s criminal defense. Maybe if you included all the words in your sentences I could explain a little more.

  14. This is one of those posts that attract commentary that cause me to despair for the nation. The degree to which people are literally incapable of reading it without allowing their partisan bias to distort what they think they read is astounding.

    I know this is complicated for those with rudimentary comprehension skills, but nothing in this post is critical of Hillary’s Clinton’s handling of the rape defense in question.(except for the confidentiality breach noted in the update, which wasn’t under discussion.) She defended her client competently and well,. She got a good result for him. The case and her conduct in it does not make her a hypocrite as a feminist.

    Snopes, rather than explaining why what Hillary did was not unethical, chose to spin and deny the facts that critics erroneously regard as unethical. They deny that she argued that the child falsely accused her client of rape. She did. They deny that she freed a likely rapist. She did—he went free long before he might have because of her lawyering. They deny that she laughed about the case in an interview. She did. It’s right on tape. She laughed about an aspect of the case, that her client passed a polygraph.. Snopes is supposed to check facts, not spin facts. I debunked Republican attacks on Hillary Clinton for good criminal defense work, but because I also called Snopes on its dishonest effort to deny the facts that were being unfairly used against their favorite candidate, I keep getting these attacks here and elsewhere calling my analysis partisan. How can I be partisan when I’m the one defending Hillary Clinton against ignorant criticism accurately, while Snopes is playing ridiculous sematic games like,”Hillary didn’t free her client, he just took a pleas deal that got him out of jail years early,” and “Hillary didn’t laugh about the case, she just laughed about the fact that her client In the case was guilty as hell but still passed a lie detector test, but that’s just laughter RELATED to the case but not ABOUT the case.”

  15. Jack, you are absolutely right about Snopes, and LaCapria in particular. Besides outright misstatements (lies), one of their favorite tricks is, as you noted, to use straw man arguments, and they frequently do so by initially presenting some slightly flawed version of a subject in question, They then “disprove” a few minor mistakes or unimportant points, and use that smokescreen to give the impression of gross error and rate the claim as “false” or “mostly false”, while the gist of the general issue before the public is actually true.

    For example, suppose Snopes wanted to “disprove” that the sun set in the west. They might present part of the claim as “Bob Jones said, in Oregon, last Tuesday, that the sun set in the west at 7:30 pm”. They would then go on to point out that Bob Jones was legally a resident of northern California, that the official time of sunset in that area was 7:28 that day, and that because of the latitude and time of year, the sun would have appeared then to be 6 degrees south of west from that location. They might also, of course, also note that the sun doesn’t actually “set”, but just appears to because of the Earth’s rotation. Conclusion: Therefore “false”, and implying the sun doesn’t set in the west.

    I’m noting one Snopes (LaCapria) article below that bolsters your observations on their deceptions. Like you, I made no argument in support of or against the event(s) themselves, just the dishonest way Snopes reached their conclusion.

    Article: http://m.snopes.com/2015/06/30/gay-pride-crucifixion-photos/#v1RLPtwJctCTFxsM.99
    Title: A set of photographs appear to depict a mock crucifixion of Jesus at a gay pride parade.

    The article appeared in my Snopes RSS feed about a year ago. At that time, Snopes actually allowed comments. They’ve apparently discontinued this practice and deleted the existing exchanges. If I had to guess, I’d say they ran into too much pushback pointing out their errors and bias. I kept a copy of my comments in a self-email, and was able to recover an archived page that showed most of the now-deleted comments. (here: http://web.archive.org/web/20150709111645/http://m.snopes.com/2015/06/30/gay-pride-crucifixion-photos/ )

    The relevant posts, starting with one from another commenter, Lynn (my posts are “cathammer”):

    Lynn says:
    2015-07-01 at 7:42 am
    “So you’re basically making the excuse that it’s okay as long as it’s done in the “spirit of humor” or not at a pride parade, even though they’re gay, naked and mocking Jesus? We’re not blind. These acts were done to shock & mock.”

    David Mikkelson
    2015-07-01 at 9:36 am
    ‘The “You didn’t condemn something I find offensive, so you’re saying it’s okay!” thing is rather tiresome.

    Our function is to document when, where, and why the photographs were taken, not to subjectively decide whether or not the pictured actions are “okay.”’

    cathammer says:
    2015-07-02 at 7:36 am
    “Spare us your disingenuous “We’re only documenting” line. Talk about tiresome!

    As Bernie Goldberg pointed out some time back, bias is not only shown by blatant partisanship, but more subtly by what facts are chosen to be presented and how they are stressed. In this case, the basic claim is that Jesus has been presented in a mocking manner in one or more gay events. That is true.
    From the very start, though, the author steers the presentation towards relatively minor, tangential, points that she can “disprove”.

    Beginning with the opening statement that the photos are purported to be from A (singular) gay pride parade, she follows with source quotes that make no such claim and then “proves” they were from different events. She then sets up the straw man that “many were lead to believe” these things occurred after the recent Supreme Court ruling (no support cited), which she chases to her conclusion, as if that were the main focus of the issue. Along the way, she throws in a diversion of an inconsequential, possibly erroneous, statement about the number in attendance at one event (from a source she used for “proof”, otherwise).

    When your “documentation” is presented with such pains to divert the focus of the issue, you’re making a subtle statement as to what you consider “okay”, whether you openly condemn or not.”

    David Mikkelson
    2015-07-02 at 9:39 am
    “Actually, if you read the examples included in our article, you’d see that people were referring to the photographs with descriptions such as “This is what America has and will become,” implying both that the photographs were all taken in the U.S. and that they were somehow related to the recent Supreme Court decision — neither of which was true.”

    cathammer says (my saved copy; posted after archived page capture}
    “That’s a pretty big, and highly subjective, leap to that implication. People often say the same sort of thing when openly referring to incidents in Europe, for example, without meaning that the events occurred in the US, only that the country is on a similar path, in their opinion.

    The author went way off into the weeds for most of her commentary to “disprove” claims no one seemed to be making, and which facts (time, place) were, in any case barely relevant to the views the pictures’ re-posters were espousing.”

    Mikkelson made no other reply.

    • Terrific post, and fascinating stuff. That technique of arguing against a non-material part of the whole is indeed a trademark of Snopes now, as well as other ideological sites. In the Clinton post, the fact that Clinton didn’t “volunteer” to represent the rape victim was an example. Lawyers are free agents; if they don’t feel they can handle a case from a moral and ethical standpoint, then they have to withdraw. If Hillary represented the defendant, she was all in, whether she was assigned the case or volunteered, and exactly as accountable for the outcome either way.

      Not allowing comments is a great way to duck accountability for rigged analysis, and a red flag.

  16. Snopes is not all that liberal. They “de-bunk” achievements made by blacks quite often. The thing that troubles me about this post is that there are similar actions in right wing media all the time and they’re never renounced by anyone on the right.

    • The post isn’t about liberal or conservative, but rather Snopes warping facts and not meeting its obligation to the truth, while falsely posing as an objective, non-partisan fact-checking sources.

      No, there is no “right wing media’ equivalent, because, of course, a “right wing media” fact checker isn’t holding itself out as non-partisan and objective. Don’t say “nobody,” because I write posts about dishonest conservative sources frequently.

      Meanwhile, you complaint boils down to “I don’t like this post because it is about something other than what I would write about.” Start your own damn blog then. This was about Snopes, and only Snopes.

      • Not sure when this was posted but my “opinion” was more than just an opinion. Snopes de-bunks a post about the inventions made by African-Americans every year during Black History Month. You’re denial like theirs indicates racism and I would appreciate if you not contact me again.

        • My comment is entirely about your last “whataboutism”dodge, and it was 100% accurate. Your comment is moronic. I don’t care what Snopes writes about when t isn’t lying about politics; that wasn’t the topic.If there are any right-wing factcheckers, as you suggest in your previous silly comment, I’ve never encountered one.
          And when have I ever contacted YOU? You’re contacting ME, you blithering idiot. Tell you what: I’ll make it easy for you: you’re banned from commenting. There. Problem solved.

            • The lack of growth in over two years is astounding.

              -Anything the left wishes is ‘racism.’

              -Only the right can be ‘racist,’ what else is implied by saying Snopes was ‘racist’ and therefore cannot be biased toward the left?

              -“…my “opinion” was more than just an opinion.” Translation: ‘My opinion is fact, because I am WOKE and ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY. How dare you contradict the narrative! See, this is the reason we need to control speech…’

              -‘Don’t contact me again’ because I live in a bubble and being exposed to other ideas disturbs me. You are evil, and do not deserve to intrude upon my day.

    • I’ll allow this to be published, Carla, because it is self-indicting. You are pathetic, and apparently don’t know what a lie is, so no wonder you think Snopes is a “long-standing source for truth.” Since everything in my post is documented and factual, and since you haven’t pointed out a single item and explained what’s disingenuous about it, this is just partisan static and noise in defense of a favored ideological mouthpiece. Sorry. The other pro-Snopes arguments here have been lame at best, and yours is worse…because you have neither the wit nor the substance to attempt an argument. It is you who should be ashamed. And Snopes, of course.

      “A long-standing source for truth!” Hilarious.

  17. I cannot believe the naive individuals defending snopes in this thread. One need only look at how quickly snopes are posting ‘fact checking’ articles concerning the campaign and specific instances of ‘wrongdoing’ on the part of the trump campaign.

    They stand silent on defending any untruth pointed towards the right, while they wrote an article defending the clinton camp within 24 hours of a posted statement contrary to their obvious political leaning.

    I’m not for Trump or Hillary, but the bias is obvious to those with their heads not buried in the sand.

    • I know. This has been profoundly depressing in this thread. If the culprits here are among the Media Matters paid pro-Hillary trolls, they are truly morons, because I have defended Clinton in regard to this case, but factually, unlike Snopes. I’ve been getting peiec after piece of hate comments…I’ve gone back several times to review the post. No doubt about it: Snopes was spinning. Hillary did acknowledge that her client was guilty. She did claim the victim made up the rape story. She did laugh about the case. And she did free him, because thanks to her, he was freed many years before he would have been without her work…which was ethical and good defense work. Snopes was obfuscating for Hillary, and once a fact-checker will obfuscate, it’s worthless.

      People want to attack the messenger, in this case, ME. That’s the Clinton way!

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