Snopes

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All sources have a bias, and all make mistakes. I don't care that Snopes was created by California couple Barbara and David Mikkelson, who decided to covert alt.folklore.urban newsgroup into a website. Despite a cabal of liberal editors, most of Snopes isn't that bad. But mostly fair, isn't completely fair -- and they have plenty of bias, un-corrected errors, and unfair interpretations. Each article deserves separate scrutiny/skepticism, with many falling far below journalistic standards. So despite their voracity supported by partisans and rubes, Snopes is far from the paragon of objectivity that some pretend. This article offers a small sampling of errors and bias.

Examples

Here are a few examples of their mistakes: 25 items


Trump Rally Violence - There's claims that Trump advocated violence at his rally's -- but that's not the whole context. Here's the facts: Hillary and the Democrats paid violent protestors to go to Trump Rally's and make scenes or beat people up. Trump said in his sloppy ways that if one of his protestors punched a guy in the face (who had first assaulted other people) or roughed them up on the way out (after they had assaulted other people) that he'd pay their legal bills. Fake News and Fake Fact Checkers omitted the context and claimed that Trump urged violence at his rally's. No, he urged defense and counter-violence against paid violent thugs that the Democrats put in his rally's, and omitting that context is a lie of omission. Defense against paid antifa thugs, isn't advocating for violence, and it isn't racist since the majority of them are white.

Hillary Clinton: Troopergate (1980-1993) -
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Troopergate was where Bill Clinton allegedly used Arkansas state police assigned to his security detail, to keep an eye out for Hillary or ferry women in and out of the Governors mansion for him (as well as keep track of his sexual scoring system). While Hillary was using state troopers to take her to clandestine meetings with Vince Foster at a resort (for an alleged affair). Most of the media ignored the story, as they didn't want to harm their change-agent du jour, but then this lead to Paula Jones and many others, and even they couldn't ignore that much salaciousness.

Despite 4 different troopers corroborating the stories (multiple Women coming forward or being discovered, including Paula Jones and Jennifer Flowers), and writer David Brock documenting many details of times, dates, with corroborating witnesses, he later apologized to Bill Clinton for breaking the story. The troopers had gotten paid for telling their stories, and he considered that a violation of journalistic ethics. Of course, most of the accounts still appear to be true, but that doesn't matter to Clinton supporters.

Hillary Clinton: Travelgate (1993) -
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Clinton friend Harry Thompson (and his TRM charter company) had wanted to do some charter business with the WhiteHouse Travel office, but was rebuffed (they were a relatively new company, and their only client the year before had been the Clinton Campaign).
  • Hillary got involved, spread some lies about the travel office, she pressured the FBI to investigate them, and 7 people were fired (and smeared in the Press) because of it.
  • The investigations into the fired staff resulted in one employee (Billy Dale) being charged with mixing personal and White House funds, and a jury acquitted him of any crime (in less than two hours). So he got audited by the IRS (completely coincidentally, I'm sure). Nothing came of that either.
  • Then with the help of Bill Clinton's 25 year old cousin (Catherine Cornelius), Clinton cronies WWT (World Wide Travel) took over the business, and Harry Thompson's TRM got a $500K no-bid contract.

At least this one caused a media field day, on the abuse of FBI, investigation, firing, cronies and so on. WWT was so embarrassed they stepped down (and let American Express take over the business). And it lead to NYT writer, William Safire to describe Hillary Clinton as "a congenital liar". (When the NYT speaks truth about a Clinton, you know it's bad).


Hillary Clinton: Lootergate (2001) -
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After leaving the White House, Hillary was forced to return an estimated $190,000 in White House furniture, china, and artwork that she had taken. Again, there's a lot of "weeds" as to whether gifts were given to them personally or the Whitehouse, how big personal gifts are allowed to be, but the end result is always that nothing like this ever happened to any President before, even the classless ones. And the Clintons water carriers in the media fake "Fact Checked" this and tried to exonerate the Clintons by word parsing or misleading the public on what happened.

Hillary Clinton: Fired from Watergate (1974) -
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Appointed to Staff of House Judiciary Committee during Watergate. She was "fired" for corrupt and unethical behavior, according to lifelong democrats in charge of the house investigation Dan Calbrese and Jerry Zeifman Ziefman has since been smeared by the Hilary campaign machine (WaPo and Snopes), for the hairsplitting mistake that he technically he could not "fire her" (as she wasn't a direct report to his committee, he could only recommend she be removed). Also they claimed that all her unethical behavior might have been at the suggestion of her bosses (it's always someone else's fault). The pattern of getting in the middle of scandals, being accused of questionable ethics by those closest to her, and "losing evidence" seemed to follow her through her life... along with her defenders making lame excuses for it.

Hillary Clinton: Cattlegate: Futures Trading Miracle (1978) -
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Without any experience, as a first time Cattle Futures trader (and wife of Governor), she gets a 9,987% return on investment in a few months, after, according to her, "reading the Wall Street Journal" (a paper that doesn't talk about Cattle Futures). With results like that, she decides to never trade stocks/commodities again. Suspicious? So we're to believe that under the guidance of a few "friends" (her account being run by a lawyer for state poultry interests, through a disreputable broker) she turns $6,300 investment into $100K (a nice even number) in a few months, with shoddy and lost records, questionable trades, not enough money in her account to cover some of the $1.5M positions she bought/sold in the same day (anyone else would have had margin calls), and other eyebrow raising anomalies. Then her two partners in this (Bone and Refco) were suspended and fined respectively for improper records keeping. But nothing to see here, move along -- we're not supposed to question her integrity, or think that this might have been a payoff?

Hillary Clinton: Bitch and Liar -
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There's all the scandals that she got caught lying in (after accusing the other side of lying). And there are many more stories of her being an angry shrew that yelled a lot, and threw things, and the Whitehouse staff didn't like her, at all. (These stories kept coming out). In polls, more people believe in Bigfoot (14%) than Hillary being honest (11%). (Really). While I don't mind a tough-minded President or candidate (or even a "bitchy" one, at times), there's a difference between occasionally coming down on people, and just being nasty to be around or a bully. Many close to her tell the same story about her being nasty, bully, corrupt and a liar. Books have been written calling her, 'the Lady Macbeth of Little Rock", her household cook in Littlerock said, "The devil’s in that woman". While anecdotes aren't proof, when there are so many, over so many years, you have to be an idiot (or partisan) to assume that they're ALL false. Is everyone out to get this poor innocent altruist saint? Even Snopes has to admit it's at least partly true, though they focus on the little stuff to distract from the bigger picture.

2019.03.08 AOC Campaign Finance Scandal - 👮 Ocasio-Cortez and Saikat Chakrabarti (Chief of staff, former campaign chair), appear to have obtained majority control of Justice Democrats PAC in December 2017, raised more than $1.8M (and was responsible for her win), and illegally diverted more than $1M of those funds. If AOC and Chakrabarti withheld their control of that organization from the FEC to divert funds around campaign limits, they could face jail time. Either way, this is the Dark Money that AOC ran on curtailing. All the FakeNews misrepresented or omitted context on what happened: CNN, ABC, NBC, WaPo, BI, MarketWatch and Snopes.

2019.01.20 Covington Catholic High School - 💩The New York Times published an article “Boys in ‘Make America Great Again’ Hats Mob Native American Elder at Indigenous People’s March,” and many other outlets (CNN, WaPo, etc), piled on without verifying. OrangeMan is so bad, that just wearing his hat makes you a racist. Only, the details leaked out that it was the Catholic teens minding their own business (on a class trip) when the Native American demonstrator/activist (Nathan Phillips: not a Vietnam War Veteran as WaPo and other claimed) marched up, beat drums, push into center of student group, call teens names, and then accused the kids of surrounding him and saying racist things, all false.

2018.12.06 Voted out of Congress - A viral claimed “Everyone with an X has since been voted out of Congress.”, but a few members with an X were never in Congress. Snopes still claimed that the “general idea” of the meme was “correct.”

2018.05 Cagegate - This FakeNews fiasco was the fallacy that Trump's new immigration policy was breaking up families and putting kids in cages. The omitted reality was criminals (border jumpers) have always had the kids separated from the adults, as you aren't sure who are parents, and detaining both in the same place risks harm to children. The media even used faked propaganda images from Obama era to sell it.

2018.04.25 Bible Ban - You can have religious liberty, or a Democrat controlled government, but as California Assembly Bill 2943 shows, rarely both. Basically, it says no church or individual can practice "conversion therapy", or "pray the gay away". While I don't think those are useful, in a country with religious liberty, you don't outlaw stupid things just because you don't agree. And Fact Checkers like Snopes/FactCheck do their jobs and report the facts, instead of doing mental gymnastics to defend Democrats from themselves.

2018.04.22 YETI Coolers - In the wake of Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, YETI Coolers cut off ties to the NRA Foundation (the shooting sports division), but wouldn't say why (coincidentally timed with Delta and REI dropping the NRA). This somewhat dickish move, and the NRA's open letter, lead to backlash amongst shooting enthusiasts, many shooting their coolers for YouTube, and YETI's competitors stepping up their 2A support. Of course WaPo and Snopes "FakeChecked" by taking YETI's damage-control effort claim that they were just ending an old promotional program (that didn't apply to anyone else, they wouldn't fulfill outstanding orders, and doesn't explain the timing or lack of communication or remedy). The "Press" didn't wait for NRA's reply to that, which sounded a lot like: {cough:bullshit!}.

2017.04.11 Spicer: Hitler didn't use chemical weapons - Sean Spicer (WhiteHouse Press Secretary) while talking about Assad (Syria) use of chemical weapons, misspoke (said something completely true but inartfully worded) and corrected himself (clarified that "as a tool of war" and not talking about gassing civilians) and apologized all in the same news-conference. Far left outfits like CNN, CBS, MSNBC, Snopes, Politifact, all ignored the correction/clarification and used the gaff as a way to attack Spicer and Trump, and spin a non-story into evidence of why they were a bad administration. They also ignored many cases where others on the left had said the same truth. Lies of omission, and sensationalism, are evidence of propaganda/FakeNews.

2017.03.05 Rasmea Odeh - The March 8th "Day Without A Woman" protest was created by Rasmea: a Palestinian anti-semite terrorist, guilty of a 1969 bombing and murder of 2 in Israel. Snopes took the far left BDS/Palestinian position of using false and debunked excuses for her behavior.

2017.02.28 Sitting for Seal Widow - This is a famous case where the Democrats were remaining seated during Trump's first address to congress in 2017, in protest of his very existence. As Ben Shapiro wrote, the Democrats unfortuitously decided to keep their asses planted for the 2nd standing ovation for a Navy Seal who gave his life (and his widow), and PolitiFact, FactCheck and Snopes misrepresented their stories to not make the Democrats look as bad as their contemptuous partisan behavior had been for the whole night, or to make it look like Ben Shapiro had misrepresented things that he had not.

2017.01.20 Scrubbed Climate Change and LGBT - ZOMG: Minutes in, and Trump is purging the Government (White House Website) of LGBT and Climate Change info: OrangeMan Bad! Only, this normal operating procedure to archive the old White House pages and start fresh (it happened under Clinton->Bush and Bush->Obama). No retractions, corrections or apologies given.

2016.07.26 Flags at DNC - Conservative media outlets (like DC) noted that the American flag was conspicuously physically absent on the set of the Democratic National Convention on its first day. Left-of-center Politifact admitted it too. But liberal media went into full-spin mode. Snopes shifted from unbiased fact checker to DNC operative. They "debunked" straw-men: (a) they were on stage in digital form or in the audience on day-2 (no one said they weren't) (b) they showed the flags on stage Day-2 and misattributed to Day-1. Then changed the claim to "on stage at all. Rephrasing the question until the answer is correct, is not fact checking assholes.

2016.07.07 Omar Mateen a Democrat - After the left tried to paint Orlando nightclub shooter (Omar Mateen) as a conservative anti-Gay person, a few places pointed out he was registered to vote as a Democrat (and was a Muslim that didn't appear to know/care it was a gay nightclub). Snopes jumped in to defend their allies on the left, and did logic-yoga to conclude that while Omar might have registered as a Democrat, he might have changed his mind between registration and hit mass-murder.

2016.05.06 Birth of Birthers - Fact checkers (CNN, Politifact, Snopes, FactCheck) answered whether Hillary originated the Birther movement, and exonerated her. It was only her top strategists plan and her campaign staffers, but not her personally -- so they pretended that Trump was lying to imply she had anything to do with creating these rumors that her campaign gleefully twisted and spread. So dishonest.

2016.05.02 Hillary and the Rapist - One complaint was against Hillary for laughing about getting a child rapist off when she was a defense lawyer. This was true. Even lefty-FactCheck admitted it was true. But Snopes, WaPo and Politifact parsed words, inferred intent (It was just a nervous laugh), and went beyond fact checking into water-carrier status.

2015.07.21 Holistic Doctors - Erin Elizabeth of HealthNutNews complains about how snopes wronged her, with getting lots of little factoids wrong, on her conspiratorial article about 5 Holistic Doctors found dead (later the number grew to 60). Not sure who I believe in this one, but Erin definitely went full vendetta on many mistakes she found not only in misrepresenting her article, but in others. And at least a few of her complaints seem legit.

2013.04.27 Good enough - While it is a little stale (2013) and things changed after a few more liberal editors and the 2016 election, Snopes does do a reasonably good enough job at debunking the easy and non-political stuff. Even if they miss on a few, or are slow to correct others. At least for the skeptical libertarian.

2002.10.12 Up-the-butt Bob - There was a famous Newlywed gameshow story, where a female contestant was asked "what's the strangest place you made whoopee" and she replied, "that'd be up the butt, Bob". The problem isn't that Snopes is wrong today, they found the clip and the article has a lot of backstory. The problem is that they were famously wrong on the story for years. Once they got around to correcting it, they omitted that it was a correction, and seem to have made some effort to scrub the mistake.

2001.03.01 T.R.O.L.L. - Snopes had a whole section for spreading disinformation called "The Repository of Lost Legends" or T.R.O.L.L. While it was intended to teach skepticism, by telling things that weren't true, and seeing if people would figure it out -- it was just condescending misinformation and hurt their brand of being a trustworthy source. So while they were the purveyors of FakeNews, it is more notable lore and a statement on their questionable judgment, rather than their bias/dishonesty.


Biased Editors

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Snopes’ main political fact-checker is an "openly liberal" writer named Kim Lacapria, who wrote for the FakeNews site the Inquisitr, and has a blogger history of calling Bill Clinton the greatest president ever, and being anti-Bush, anti-Tea party, and anti-Conservative. Many of her articles on Snopes are obviously biased and partisan like: spinning Jimmy Carter's Iranian ban as nothing like Trump's more moderate one. Or implied that when Hillary claimed "we didn't lose a single person (in Libya)", she had only meant in the invasion. Or Omar Mateen wasn't a democrat linked above. Or that Facebook Censorship of conservatives, admitted to by Facebook workers, wasn't real.

But Lacapria is hardly alone in her bias. There seems to be many of her political ilk.

Snopes financial issues

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While I'd far rather Snopes was doing the service they did earlier on, and not hiring biased editors to write partisan fact checks, and losing money doing it. They picked their path. And they seem to be suffering the consequences of CNN, NYT and others -- which is alienate half your uses, and you cut down on your revenues. Maybe more true when those users might were the ones with money (or willing to spend it).

I'd hope they'd get back to their purpose (unbiased fact checking, and leaving the fake news to NYT, CNN and WaPo to spin). But I've seen few media companies that could learn from the mistake of being too left, and pull out of their death spiral. Especially then their echo-chamber tells them, it's not their fault.

Conclusion

The point isn't that snopes is untrustworthy, or partisan (they kind of are, but no worse than most). I'm sure with work, I could find dozens more examples showing where they made mistakes the other way. Overall, I think they're fairly objective, most of the time, and most articles are pretty well written and pretty objective and they do a pretty good job of researching facts. There are some blatant exceptions to that, and when they behave badly, they don't always fix things in above board ways that would fit good journalistic standards.

So I use them quite a bit, and don't mind others than do so. But the many fair articles don't make the completely hacky and unfair ones any more legitimate. So skepticism is still required. They're no authority, they have made plenty of mistakes, and have plenty of examples of crap-articles -- and most of those mistakes seem to align in ways that wouldn't be surprising for California-based company, with liberal editors and left-coast contributors.

A little added scrutiny and dubiousness from those center or right of center, is more than warranted. And certainly, those linking to Snopes worst articles, and trying to use "appeal to authority" (or popularity) fallacies are no less wrong for doing so, just because most of Snopes articles aren't complete crap.

Thus as long as someone isn't trying an appeal to authority fallacy, we're fine -- and if they can see or admit the blatant bias in what they are, that's fine too. But if someone links to one of their bad articles and pretends that closes the subject on anything, they deserve the schooling that this article offers.

Worst of all is that as their standards have dropped, their responsibilities and impact have increased. Google, Facebook and others, are using them to filter junk news from the real news, or effect rankings -- and Snopes just doesn't have or deserve the chops for that kind of stuff. While I'm fine with them as a casual fact check site, I'm terrified of them as the thought-police for the Internet. And with the partisan lefties on their staff, I assume they're going to decay over time.

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