As An Ethics Alarms Public Service, Here’s Another Reminder Of What A Phony, Dishonest, Brain-Dead “Factcheck” Site Snopes Is

Judge websites, social media platforms and your friends who rely on this flagrantly unethical site  as authority accordingly.

For some reason there has been an outbreak of tips to Ethics Alarms involving the usual Snopes stunts, including its factchecking  the conservative satire site, the Babylon Bee. Reader Pennagain reminded me of this classic though, which nicely sums up Snopes in a concise, stinky package.

The Snopes question it supposedly examined (but didn’t) in a 2018 “FactCheck” has resurfaced because there is a new podcast about the Banks tragedy. (I can tell when Banks’ story is attracting attention again when the EA post about Wanetta Gibson starts picking up traffic.)

Here’s the rest of that “factcheck”:

Snopes pulls this bait and switch trick a lot. The answer to linkbait question ‘Was Banks wrongly convicted of rape?” is  “Yes”, and any assertion to that effect isn’t “mostly true,” it’s absolutely, 100% true. Beneath the question that heads the “inquiry,” Snopes significantly rephrases the “claim” which it then “debunks” by giving us the breathless revelations that Gibson didn’t recant ON Facebook, she contacted Banks through Facebook and then confessed in person, and that Banks “only” served 5 years and two months, not “six.”

Those are what we would call in law non-material misrepresentations. Does either have any bearing on Banks’ innocence? No. Does either raise doubts about the answer to the headlined query, “Was Football Star Brian Banks Wrongfully Convicted Of Rape?” No. Who cares, in the context of the harm done to Banks by a vicious, venal woman who falsely accused him of rape so she and her mother could sue her high school and collect damages, exactly how she recanted, or what the exact amount of time was that Banks spent in prison? Nobody.  Snopes’ piece muddies the story rather than clarifying it by leaving the impression that is a controversy. There isn’t.

Why would the site publish such crap? Because that’s what Snopes does, frankly.  Yet people and organizations that have no excuse for not realizing how untrustworthy and unprofessional this site is continue to rely on it.

5 thoughts on “As An Ethics Alarms Public Service, Here’s Another Reminder Of What A Phony, Dishonest, Brain-Dead “Factcheck” Site Snopes Is

  1. Wow, that is just … I really don’t have any words.

    Thankfully, I learned a long time ago that Snopes was run by idjits unworthy of a single jot or tittle of my time. And they have received even less than that from me!

    Hold my beer while I pat myself on the back… 🙂

  2. For how long now have we heard that Flynn is the only person in the world who would enter a guilty plea to a crime he did not commit? And here is the story that Mr. Banks did the same thing, losing over 5 years of his life. It leaves us to consider just how many guilty pleas are entered by defendants who know they did not do what they are accused of, but have no way, either by evidence, law, or financial resources to fight the government’s machine.

  3. I think Snopes said the quiet part out loud and admitted why they included those misrepresentations around the three quarter mark of their explanation;

    “While Gibson fabricated her account of being assaulted, research shows that such instances are rare; a 2012 report by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) found that while false reports make up between 2 and 10 percent of total rape reports, 63 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to authorities. NSVRC spokesperson Laura Palumbo told us this can create more issues for those who have been sexually assaulted:

    The prevalence of false reporting of sexual violence is low, yet still when survivors come forward, many face scrutiny or encounter barriers. When the rare case of a false report is misrepresented as a common occurrence, this creates additional barriers for victims coming forward. Misconceptions about false reporting rates have direct, negative consequences and can contribute to why many victims don’t report sexual assaults.”

    One might argue that the meme they checked included the non-mitigating misrepresentations, and so they really had to include that not all of the assertion was true. Once might also argue that including the two paragraphs above was a diligence thing, they were trying to give readers the most information possible. The thing is that Snopes’ authors have a progressive bias, and the “believe women” trope originated long before it got legs with the #MeToo movement.

    That bias metastasized in choices; Why, for instance, fact check that particular meme, if the assertion wasn’t particularly good? Why not choose a cleaner version of the meme, and point out during the check of that one, that other memes were more problematic? I think that Snopes is fundamentally opposed to giving a clean: “sometimes women lie” rating, despite the article being unambiguous about Gibson lying; Frankly, a certain subset of people, y’know… morons… Never read beyond the rating.

    Why also, choose to point out that “false reports make up between 2 and 10 percent of total rape reports”, but give no more context to that? The FBI reports that figure annually, and for most of the last decade it’s been between 4 and 8%, although one year it was as low as two and one year it was as high as 10, so magically the number becomes “between 2 and 10%”, I think that’s because the floor is more important to progressives than the ceiling. The thing is, whether the floor is 2 or 4%, that’s still at least 400% more common than the next most commonly falsely reported crimes: Theft, Vandalism, and Arson, all of which fall in the 0.5 to 1% range. One might also consider the motive behind a false report… In the Theft, Vandalism, and Arson bracket, the motive financial in nature, to put it bluntly, insurance fraud. What’s the motive behind a false rape accusation?

    Regardless of the answer to that last question, why on Earth do progressives think that “400% more people make false reports of a crime than the next most common type, which happens to carry a financial incentive” and so we should believe those accusations as a matter of principle?

    Oh right… Because they’ve never heard it put that way.

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