I definitively laid out how lazy, biased and deceptive Snopes is, here and elsewhere. Yet Google and Facebook still rely on the fact-checking site. This is signature significance: it can only mean that these businesses want biased standards to rule the day. The Daily Caller just called out a typical example of Snopes’ unethical work. As with its spinning for Hillary Clinton that I flagged in 2016, this is egregious and irrefutable.
Here is a meme that has been circulating on the web:
It’s a lie, fake news, wrong, however you want to describe it. It’s just not true. The X’s are through some people who weren’t members of Congress. X’s also cover the faces of Jodey Arrington, Ron Estes, Liz Cheney, Michael Burgess, Patrick McHenry, Jason Smith, Bradley Byrne, Markwayne Mullin, Paul Mitchell, Glenn Grothman, Doug Lamborn, and Tim Walberg, all of whom were re-elected. There were other errors as well. Politico reporter Jake Sherman observed that the meme “is actually more incorrect than correct.”
In other words, a typical internet meme.
Nevertheless, Snopes fact-checker Bethania Palma ruled it accurate. To do so, she used Snopes favorite trick, falsely characterizing what the claim was. Palma rated it “true” that “The Congressional seats of almost three dozen Republicans who voted to repeal Obamacare were lost to Democrats in 2018” when the meme clearly said that everyone in the picture who was Xed voted for repeal and was voted out of office. Her claim is pure deceit. “In the meme, red ‘X’ marks were drawn through the faces of 33 lawmakers who purportedly were rejected by voters in the 6 November 2018 midterm elections,” Palma wrote. Wrong. They weren’t all “lawmakers,” and they weren’t all defeated.
Incredibly, after the Daily Caller clearly explained why Snopes, as it so often is, was spouting nonsense to bolster a Democratic agenda, Snopes dpubled down. From the Daily Caller:
Snopes co-founder David Mikkelson defended the inaccurate fact check in an email to TheDCNF.
“The overall point offered by the meme in question is that some 33 Republican members of Congress who voted to repeal the ACA lost their seats. And as our fact check documents, that point is correct,” Mikkelson wrote. “The meme isn’t really about the specific persons who appear in the accompanying photograph, as they weren’t identified by name and are largely unrecognizable to viewers as shown due to the small size of the photograph and the fact that their heads are obscured with red X’s,” Mikkelson insisted.
“Our audience is intelligent enough to understand the difference between a literal representation and a symbolic one,” he added, denying that the fact check was misleading.
This unconscionable, Dan Rather-like “It’s true, just not accurate” argument should be sufficient, all by itself, to prove Snopes’ lack of trustworthiness.