Satirical site debunks Snopes.com
I have over the years had various gripes with the Leftward lean of Snopes.com (e.g. here and here and here and here). They do a useful job of debunking myths, hoaxes and legends but they are far too quick to brand something favorable to conservatives as either false or undetermined. They even have their own contemptuous word for a sentimental story favorable to conservatives. They call it a "glurge".
So I was delighted to read the latest from The People's Cube -- a well-known satirical site run by Oleg Atbashian, a former Soviet citizen. And with that background it is easy to understand that Oleg skewers Leftism savagely. I read most of his posts and have occasionally quoted them.
The gist of his latest is that Snopes have apparently taken some of his posts seriously. Although his posts are perfectly transparent (they would not be good satire otherwise) they fooled the humorless Leftists running Snopes! Talk about being hoist with your own petard! Snopes did however eventually wake up but continued their debunking of Oleg's "dangerous" humor. For a while they gave the People's Cube as the source of the story but now they give no source at all. The whole thing has tickled Oleg's funnybone and below is an excerpt fom his latest post in which he half-seriously lists his gripes with Snopes:
Snopes falsely described us as "a clickbait web site known for spreading malware," which is slanderous misinformation.
While our satire was clearly a response to Zakaria's asinine article gloating over the premature deaths of white males, which we extrapolated to the extermination of white females through Jihad, rape, and sex slavery, the Snopes's "debunking" omits this point entirely, stating only that "There was nothing to the report" and that "it was just another fake news item that apparently originated with a clickbait web site known for spreading malware."
At the very bottom of the page, however, the Snopes article is tagged as "satire" and "The People's Cube," while none of these words appear in the body of the article, which is what most people will read. Thus, Snopes was well aware that this was satire and who the author was, but it knowingly withheld this information from its readers, which is called "intentional misleading."
For a self-described fact-checking website that claims to be "the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation," such biased, slanderous, and intentionally misleading misinformation constitutes malpractice, as it violates public trust.
In addition to being unprofessional, slanderous, and misleading, this under-debunking was also plain stupid: if you want to lie about something, at least make sure you flush the evidence and wash your hands afterwards.
The author of the article is listed as one Jeff Zarronandia, "an American author and journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize for numismatics in 2006 and was one of four finalists for the prize in 2008. He was also the winner of the Distinguished Conflagration Award of the American Society of Muleskinners for 2005."
While this is obviously an attempt at a joke, this joker seems to deny the right to a joke to others. Besides, the very idea of listing made-up prizes, awards, and societies as his credentials on a fact-checking resource surpasses unprofessionalism and approaches imbecility. Perhaps Snopes should do some fact-checking on its authors before it attempts fact-checking satirical fiction.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).