Apparently the recent example of Snopes resorting to proving a “claim” false that nobody serious was claiming wasn’t an anomaly, but a new strategy. Here, Ethics Alarms commenter Tippy Scales discussed the struggling urban-legend-turned-partisan-hack-site post in defense of ESPN’s ridiculous removal of Asian -American Robert Lee from a football broadcast because he shared a first and last name with Robert E. Lee. Its spin: the accusation that “ESPN Fired Announcer Robert Lee Because His Name Sounds Like the Confederate General’s? was wrong! Except that was not what happened, nor what critics of ESPM were objecting to.
Why would Snopes do this? Tippy opined that Snopes “couldn’t stand having to confirm something that went against their worldview, so they invented a reason to avoid it.” The real reason appears to be even worse than that. Snopes’ current game is to mislead readers by convincing them that criticism from the right is dishonest and absurd, by searching for self-evidently idiotic accusations and then disproving them…which isn’t difficult when the accusations were dredged up from the social media swamp by Snopes specifically to debunk.
Today’s example is hilarious. Snopes:
Fact Check: Was Barack Obama President During Hurricane Katrina?
Twitter users tried to pin the blame for Katrina relief issues on Obama, though he wasn’t even president when it hit New Orleans.
CLAIM: Barack Obama was president when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005.
ORIGIN: As damage from Hurricane Harvey continued to grow in Texas in late August 2017, some Twitter users sought to defend President Donald Trump’s response to the disaster by criticizing the actions of his predecessor, Barack Obama during similarly pervasive flooding in Louisiana in 2016. Other users took that argument even further, knocking Obama for not “doing enough” to help Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina.
Correct me if I am wrong, Snopes, you pathetic fools, but I thought the idea behind your once respected website was to research and factcheck prominent rumors, hoaxes and widespread misconceptions spreading like wildfire through the public, not to cherry-pick the dumbest junk on Twitter, and engage in gratuitous and unnecessary reminders that the Moon isn’t made out of cheese, that Bill Clinton really did have sex with that woman and that Paul Bunyan isn’t real.
The gimmick behind straw man arguments is that an unethical advocate ducks the real issue under debate to “prove” a related fact that nobody disputes, while pretending that it is the real issue. In this case, Snopes is also using a false false claim ( sure, someone somewhere has said almost anything imaginable on Twitter, but anyone making this mistake is placing a metaphorical “I am too dumb and lazy to participate in public discourse” sign on his or her head in neon) to attack the last Republican President. “No, Barack Obama wasn’t the President who screwed up Katrina. Who was that? Oh! Right! President Bush was!”
(CLAIM: President Bush screwed up the Katrina response. RATING: False. But I digress…)
Or perhaps Snopes, being caught multiple times of late fudging its data and lying to disprove serious claims has now decided to aim low, and only tackle questions that any 8-year old with access to Google could answer in 10 seconds or less.
Here’s one for you, Snopes:
Fact Check: Did the Germans attack Pearl Harbor?
Check it out.