I have friends on the political Left. I have friends on the Right. I have friends in the middle and on both sides of the middle. I also have apolitical friends. I am thankful to live in a country where we can exist in a climate of diversity.
Sometimes, however, the most unreasonable crap comes from my friends on the Right who stoke their pipes through FOX news, a proven biased non-news entity, and other right wing conspiracy theory publications, and, (in the words of Patsy Cline’s mother in the film, “The Patsy Cline Story,”) “It makes me want to scream and claw my face.” Most recently, I asked a friend on the Right to look up something on Snopes.
She sent me a post circulated on Facebook with the headline “Snopes got snoped!” It originated with a group called “Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children.” The group has a noticeable presence on Facebook, with over 400,000 likes and many, many shares of each of their posts. The page is clearly a “right-wingnut” group, with posts varying from standard conservative issues to those downright racially or sexually bigoted. I won’t address those issues further in this post, but I want to look at the issue of Snopes’ trustworthiness directly, along with the larger issue of reliable source
This is what the post said:
Snopes is run by a man and a woman with no background in investigation using Google.
Snopes.com has been considered the ‘tell-all final word’ on any comment, claim and email. Once negative article by them and people point and say, “See, I told you it wasn’t true!” But what is Snopes? What are their methods and training that gives them the authority to decide what is true and what is not? For several years people have tried to find out who exactly was behind the website Snopes.com. Only recently did they get to the bottom of it. Are you ready for this? It is run by a husband and wife team – that’s right, no big office of investigators scouring public records in Washington, no researchers studying historical stacks in libraries, no team of lawyers reaching a consensus on current caselaw. No, Snopes.com is just a mom-and-pop operation that was started by two people who have absolutely no formal background or experience in investigative research.
David and Barbara Mikkelson pictured above; are from San Fernando Valley of California. They started their website ‘Snopes’ about 13 years ago. After a few years it began gaining popularity as people believed it to be unbiased and neutral. But over the past couple of years people started asking questions when ‘Snopes’ was proven wrong in a number of their conclusions. There were also criticisms the Mikkelsons were not really investigating and getting to the ‘true’ bottom of various issues, but rather asserting their beliefs in controversial issues.
In 2008, State Farm agent Bud Gregg hoisted a political sign in Mandeville, Louisiana referencing Barack Obama and made a big splash across the internet. The Mikkelson’s were quick to “research” this issue and post their condemnation of it on Snopes.com. In their statement they claimed the corporate office of State Farm pressured Mr. Gregg into taking down the sign. In fact, nothing of the sort ever took place. A friend of Mr. Gregg personally contacted David Mikkelson to alert him of the factual inacuracy, leaving him Mr. Gregg’s contact phone numbers. Mr. Mikkelson was told that Mr. Gregg would give him the phone numbers to the big exec’s at State Farm in Illinois who would inform them that they had never pressured Mr. Gregg to take down his sign.
But the Mikkelson’s never called Mr. Gregg. In fact, Mr. Gregg found out that no one from Snopes.com had ever contacted any one with State Farm. Yet, Snopes.com has kept their false story of Mr. Gregg up to this day, as the “final factual word” on the issue.
What is behind Snopes’ selfish motivation? A simple review of their “fact-checking” reveals a strong tendency to explain away criticisms towards liberal politicians and public figures while giving conservatives the hatchet job. Religious stories and issues are similarly shown no mercy. With the “main-stream” media quickly losing all credibility with their fawning treatment of President Obama, Snopes is being singled out, along with MSNBC and others, as being particularly biased and agenda-modivated.
So if you really want to know the truth about a story or a rumor you have heard, by all means do not go to Snopes.com! You could do just as well if you were a liberal with an internet connection. Don’t go to wikipedia.com either as their team of amateur editors have also been caught in a number of bold-faced liberal-biased untruths. (Such as Wikigate and their religious treatment of Obama.) Take anything these sites say with a grain of salt and an understanding that they are written by people with a motive to criticize all things conservative. Use them only to lead you to solid references where you can read their sources for yourself.
Plus, you can always Google a subject and do the research yourself. It now seems apparent that’s all the Mikkelson’s do.
Now, let’s take a closer look at these erroneous claims….
Only recently? Snopes has an “About Snopes” section on their website which clearly states who the founders are and how they do their investigations. Why this took “people” “several years” to find this out is baffling, when simply clicking on the “about” page would accomplish this in 5 seconds (plus reading time of course). That was simply an outright lie. I have known who these people are for at least six or seven years. It has been common knowledge.
It’s always a great service when myths and misinformation are exposed. Truth and fact can be a rare commodity. The story continues, giving only one example of a supposed inaccuracy regarding the story of an insurance agent posting political signs on his business sign. WorldTruth claims Snopes “condemned” this on their website….but did they? If you read what the Mikkelsons wrote, you will see that the word “zinger” was used to characterize the tale. Is that condemnation? Um…no. It isn’t. It is right wing propaganda, and the IDIOTS who believe it are too stupid to know what unbiased reporting is. Period. Not one single person who has made these FALSE claims about SNOPES has traced their claims back to the original sources using their substantiation. Not one….or else they wouldn’t be making this ridiculous claim. SNOPES’ reputation is flawless.
As things usually go with these wild conspiracy theories, the entire story of Snopes misrepresenting the story came from an e-mail circulated by another right-wing website. That’s it…AND…that website has since taken down any reference to it on their site. The claim is that Snopes never contacted the company this agent represented. Turns out, they did. FactCheck.org also contacted the company, and the company verified both their request to the agent, as well as their contact with Snopes. WorldTruth reprinted a rumor that has long since been proven false. RUH ROH! Foiled again.
A closer look at the site called WorldTruth.tv tells a hilarious story. The claim that Snopes is not to be trusted because it is only run by 2 people (the Mikkelsons) comes from a website run by only 1 person (go figure) who ONLY identifies himself as Eddie. From WorldTruth.tv’s “About Us” page:
My name is Eddie and WorldTruth.TV is my way to share all the knowledge and information that I have acquired and been blessed with in the last 32 years of my journey on this planet.
WorldTruth.TV is a website dedicated to educating and informing people on regular basis with well-researched articles on powerful and concealed information. I’ve spent the last 32 years researching Theosophy, Freemasonry, Kabbalah, Rosicrucianism, the Bavarian Illuminati and Western Occultism. I remember when I first learned about the “Truth” and it wasn’t pretty. I remember learning about how the mass media lies to our faces consistently. About how the educational system only teaches the youth what they need to become obedient workers.
The website making a claim Snopes cannot be accurate because they do not have a grandiose team is supposed to be trustworthy when being run by one person. Where is the logic in this? Oh….wait. There isn’t any. That entire wacky site is composed of re-posted articles from other fringe websites promoting conspiracies, pseudoscience, etc. And you believe them???!!! HA!
The right yaps consistently about SNOPES’ so-called “liberal bias.” Yet Snopes has defended Romney, Dubya and may other conservatives. In short, SNOPES tells the truth, and I know this because of the TRACEABLE references they post after each and every claim. If one follows them, they will find unbiased reporting.
Please read THIS article for even more truth about SNOPES. Bottom line, Snopes is a reliable fact checking entity. And that’s the end of it.