Nah, Snopes Isn’t A Spinning, Left-Biased Fake Fact-Checking Organization! OK, I’m Kidding, It Really Is. [UPDATE]

If you hear about a social media company of a media organization that cites Snopes and a reliable authority, that’s all you need to know. They’ll lie to you, just like Snopes, and probably to assist a progressive political agenda.

Here’s an especially blatant example of Snopes’ fake fact-checking, as opposed to what they claim to do, which is to check fake facts, from 2016. It’s actually pretty funny.

The fact being checked:

Bernie Sanders has been criticized as hypocritical for only paying his interns $12 an hour despite his campaigning to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Snopes’ unbiased and objective analysis:

WHAT’S TRUE: Bernie Sanders pays his interns $12 an hour.

WHAT’S FALSE: Bernie Sanders pays his staff workers $12 an hour.

Ah! It’s misleading to say that Bernie, who said during the campaign,

“Millions of Americans are working for totally inadequate wages. We must ensure that no full-time worker lives in poverty. The current federal minimum wage is starvation pay and must become a living wage. We must increase it to $15 an hour over the next several years.”

was a hypocrite who, as a meme circulating in 2016 claimed, he only payed his “staff interns” $12 an hour while simultaneously campaigning to raise the national minimum wage of $15.

Says Snopes, spinning like mad:

“It’s true Sanders pays his interns $12 an hour, as noted by a page on the candidate’s own Senate web site that clearly states that “interns are paid $12 per hour.” This, however, does not necessarily mean that Sanders gave himself a “pass” on his proposal to raise the minimum wage.

First, the above-displayed meme uses the confusing term “staff interns,” which has led many people to believe that the senator only pays his staff members $12 per hour. This pay rate, however, applies only interns (who in many occupational fields work without compensation or for very low pay in return for gaining valuable experience) filling positions available to college students and recent graduates seeking work in Congress…Second, the national minimum wage does not apply to internships. The Fair Labor Standards Act lists six criteria (such as “the internship experience is for the benefit of the intern”) that private sector companies may meet in order to offer unpaid internships, and Congress has further exempted itself from some of these standards. According to an article published in the Atlantic, only one third of U.S. senators paid their interns anything at all in 2013.

It should also be noted that these $12 per hour internships are for positions working as aides to Sanders in the U.S. Senate, not for positions on his 2016 presidential campaign staff.”

Why does anyone trust these hacks?

“Staff interns” means interns, not “staff.” The term is not misleading: the fact that “many people” can’t understand English doesn’t make that statement less than accurate. Interns are also members of a staff; I know: I’ve been an intern, and employed interns. If Bernie claimed that less than 15 dollars was “starvation pay,” then he had an ethical obligation not to pay anyone less than 15 dollars. It doesn’t matter that they were interns: minimum wage employees are always at the bottom rung of the work force. It doesn’t matter that lots of companies underpay interns; Snopes is making an “everybody does it” rationalization.  Bernie was condemning that practice because “everybody does it”: how can Snopes cite that as a defense?  It was entirely in his power to pay his most lowly employees the amount that he was condemning everyone else for NOT paying. It doesn’t excuse Bernie from the hypocrisy charge to say that the law allowed him to pay “starvation wages.” No law prevented Sanders from paying his interns whatever he thought was fair and right. He was exposed as a phony, but Snopes rushed to muddy the water in his defense.

This is typical of Snopes’ dishonesty and partisan propaganda. One post like this is too much, but Snopes does this kind of thing constantly. Amazingly, over at the primary Ethics Alarms anti-Snope post, Democratic operatives still write in and deny that Snopes is what it is: untrustworthy, dishonest, biased, and not very bright.

In related news, the developments where progressive cities have taken Bernie’s “do as I say, not as I do” advice are showing, as many of us have known forever, that when it comes to economics, Sanders has no idea what he’s blathering about.

That tale, however, is for another day.


Pointer: MHM


26 thoughts on “Nah, Snopes Isn’t A Spinning, Left-Biased Fake Fact-Checking Organization! OK, I’m Kidding, It Really Is. [UPDATE]

  1. I can’t believe I am defending Sanders but the the quote does say that current minimum wage is starvation wages (about 7.50/ hr) He pays $12.00 and says that it should become $15/hr over the next few years. Therefore one can say he is moving toward that target.

    I did not see where he said anything less than 15 were starvation wages.

    Now, everything Snopes said is exactly as you described. It is a whitewash. Interns in some fields are paid nothing and in others quite well but all of that is irrelevant to question whether Sanders is a hypocrite. Bernie is a fraud because he laments wealth disparity and makes it a campaign theme but I do not see him giving his wealth away by funding underclass entrepreneurs. What is also hypocritical is that Congress passes laws and carves out exceptions for themselves.

    • Doesn’t make sense. If he says the MINIMUM wage should be 15, then by definition, he is also saying that anything less than 15 is inhumane, wrong. Easing it in is for businesses that have to adjust, not employers like him.

      • What he’s saying is that Federal Minimum Wage has traditionally been set at a level deemed appropriate to keep a person from starving and he’s advocating changing the standard by which the Federal Minimum Wage is set – to a standard of “able to reasonably live” or “Living Wage”.

        That being said – I love that snopes is essentially saying: The claim is false because Bernie doesn’t always pay interns $12/hr – sometimes he doesn’t pay them anything!

      • Fair enough I was just evaluating the specific verbiage of the statement not the implications.

        I find all his statements to be disingenuous. If wages rise at the low end and then drive up wages across all income levels then prices will rise negating any upward income mobility. Bernie needs to focus on marginal productivity improvements if he wants to see better standards of living among the working poor.

        Poverty is not a function of income as much as it is a function of purchasing power.

  2. I think that if you’re making a practical point – “A higher minimum wage will increase demand and raise all boats.” – then it’s not hypocritical not to live up to the suggestion yourself. If your argument includes a moral component – “We have a duty to provide a living wage to everyone who works full time.” – then it is hypocritical not to live up to it yourself.

      • What is interesting and makes Bernie and others even more unethical is raising the minimum wage beyond the value of the marginal product of labor will reduce demand by creating unemployment. Further, the minimum wage is earned by roughly 93% tertiary income earners. So there are already two other income earners in the household. In greatest effect, we are promising a living wage to minor dependents. When has anyone ever in the media pointed out these realities?

    • Income is a major determinant of demand that shifts the function and drives up prices. If I have $1 and the price is $1 that is no different than if I have $1.50 and the price is $1.50. Increasing the minimum wage only changes a persons purchasing power temporarily if at all because prices of goods change before the anticipated dateof the income change for most goods and services. Business tends to be proactive in protecting its profits no reactive. Thus, an increase in the minimum wage could harm the working poor if the prices increase more than necessary to offset the increased cost of production or labor is replaced by lower cost capital equipment. Those that make capital goods will benefit because the change in minimum wage affects the capital labor tradeoff. As this takes place, workers with advanced skill sets will benefit leaving low skilled workers with higher prices and fewer opportunities. The Wealth Effect is a mirage and leads people into higher levels of debt.

  3. Funnily enough I just came over from Snopes.

    According to them, you see, numerous web sites made the false claim that “It is now illegal to shower and do laundry in the same day in California.”
    But Snopes will set you straight! Yes, a law was signed rationing daily water use to the amount necessary to take one shower and do one load of laundry. But it doesn’t actually take effect until 2020! And it’s not like you’d be marched off to jail or anything for overusing water…there would just be escalating fines and stuff! Nothing to be unhappy about! And sure, most of the actual articles criticizing this law had more accurate headlines than what we highlighted anyway, but we’re going to go ahead and assure you that anyone who isn’t totes cool with this law is just a crazy doomsday prepper or something. Typical Snopesduggery.

  4. If Hillary Clinton had killed and eaten a Honduran child, Snopes would have found the one obscure website that said it was a Nicaraguan child, and rate that “false”. They would further claim that since she had cooked the child in between killing and eating him, it would be false to say she “killed and ate” him.

  5. I found it damning when Democrats direly warned that a consequence of “cracking down” on illegal immigration would result in higher wages for agriculture workers and thus higher prices for produce.

  6. Wow. I went and checked it out and it’s laughable. What spin. I looked to see if there was a comment section but don’t see one.

  7. “WHAT’S FALSE: Bernie Sanders pays his interns $12 an hour.

    WHAT’S FALSE: Bernie Sanders pays his staff workers $12 an hour.”

    Slightly off. The top one is actually labeled “WHAT’S TRUE” on the Snopes web page in question.

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