Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

No Joke: Babylon Bee Sics Lawyers On Facebook Partner, Snopes Over “Fact Checks”
Hotair ^ | 07/30/2019 | Ed Morrissey

Posted on 07/30/2019 2:02:05 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

Even the satirists at the Babylon Bee have a limit to jokes — and the attempts by Snopes to “fact check” their humor doesn’t qualify. In a message to subscribers yesterday, the Bee declared that Snopes was attempting to exploit its position as a Facebook partner to “deplatform” the conservative satire site. In response, the Babylon Bee has decided to sic their very real and non-humorous attorneys against the urban-legend site to put an end to their harassment:

As you know, fake news—which is distinguished from satire by its intent to mislead—was widely considered a serious issue in the last election cycle. As a result, social media networks like Facebook began partnering with fact-checkers to try and limit the distribution of fake news on their platforms. Snopes was one of them. At one point, a piece of ours was rated “false” by Snopes, prompting Facebook to threaten us with limitations and demonetization. We made a stink about this, and after some media attention shed light on the problem, Facebook apologized for their handling of the matter and admitted that satire is not the same as fake news.

We came out on top last time, but this latest smear from Snopes is both dishonest and disconcerting. We have no choice but to take it very seriously. For better or worse, the media, the public, and social networks all look to Snopes for authoritative answers. By lumping us in with fake news and questioning whether we really qualify as satire, Snopes appears to be actively engaged in an effort to discredit and deplatform us. While we wish it wasn’t necessary, we have retained a law firm to represent us in this matter.

Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon confirmed the accuracy of the statement published yesterday to readers in an e-mail to Hot Air this afternoon, so this is no satirical joke. The move follows a long Twitter thread Friday by founder Adam Ford on Snopes’ most recent “ridiculous article,” in which they questioned whether poking fun at Georgia state representative Erica Thomas could be considered “satire.” What follows on Ford’s tweetstorm is what we’d have called an old-fashioned Fisking in the blogosphere a few years back:


So @snopes fact-checked @TheBabylonBee again. But this time it's particularly egregious and, well, kind of disturbing. And I'd like to talk about it.

Pack a lunch cuz this'll be a long one.

First off, here's their ridiculous article:

— Adam Ford (@Adam4d) July 25, 2019


Now this sentence is quite troubling. Describing the Bee article as a "ruse."

Let me define "ruse" for you: "an action intended to deceive someone."

Now that's an accusation.


— Adam Ford (@Adam4d) July 25, 2019

The Bee has been "Snoped" plenty of times before (and had to endure Facebook purgatory once because of it). But what they've written this time certainly seems like an attempt to delegitimize and demonize an important satirical outlet, and that is totally unacceptable.


— Adam Ford (@Adam4d) July 25, 2019

Ford finished the thread by advising Snopes to “fix your operation.” The Bee has now hired legal representation to assist them with that, or at least to incentivize them to fact check something other than jokes.

At least one newspaper weighed in on the Bee’s side. The Arkansas Democrat Gazette’s editors lectured Snopes on the difference between fake news and satire, and scoffed at Snopes’ attempt to defend its weird obsession with the Babylon Bee:

Snopes writer Dan Evon wrote, “While this real-world incident stirred up a good amount of online anger, it wasn’t quite outrageous enough for the entertainment website Babylon Bee. In an apparent attempt to maximize the online indignation, this website published a fictionalized version of the story . . .”

In an apparent attempt? There’s no apparent. That’s exactly what the Bee does. Would you expect an outlet that publishes headlines like “Border Patrol Agent Calls Up Planned Parenthood To Get Helpful Pointers On Separating Children From Their Mothers” to be subtle or sneaky in its attempts to drive web traffic?

Mr. Evon went on to accuse the Bee of fooling its readers. But it seems pretty clear that readers of the Babylon Bee know what they’re getting into. Want proof? Just look at the Facebook comments.

The Babylon Bee says it has lawyered up, and we’re sure that a satire news organization going to court will provide some fantastic material for future headlines. But Snopes should know better than to pick fights with a site clearly labeled as satire news. It’s called picking your battles.

If it weren’t for Snopes’ role as a Facebook gatekeeper, this would have no more significance than any other blog war. That role, however, gives Snopes a significant amount of power over a major distribution channel for independent publishers, and not just the Bee. The threat of malicious deplatforming in that context is real, and Snopes’ disparate treatment of the Bee as opposed to The Onion (discussed by both Ford and the Gazette-Democrat’s editors) certainly makes it look personal and biased in relation to conservative satire.

It’s entirely a shame, too, because at one point Snopes was careful and judicious about sticking to its expertise in urban legends. Until recently, the site was a reliable resource for getting to the bottom of inbox claims and poor reporting. In that sense, both the Onion and the Bee served the same purpose — to discourage bad reporting and faulty assumptions by making fun of both at length. At different times, I’ve been a fan of both Snopes and the Bee in that particular sense. (I’m also a fan of Eye of the Tiber for Catholic satire, such as “Catholic Apologist With Fear Of Public Speaking Pictures Everyone In Audience With Bare Shoulders.” Come on, you laughed, or at least you fellow Catholics did.)

Perhaps some day, when Snopes decides it wants to stop wasting time attacking satire, we can get back to being fans of both sites simultaneously. In the meantime, Facebook should rethink its partnership with the site, and perhaps the whole idea that its users can’t do their own factchecking for themselves. Based on Snopes’ continuous obsession with the Babylon Bee, it’s tough to argue that such gatekeeping really improves matters.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: babylonbee; factcheck; snopes

1 posted on 07/30/2019 2:02:05 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

I hope the Bee stings real hard

2 posted on 07/30/2019 2:05:13 PM PDT by Fai Mao (There is no rule of law in the US until The PIAPS is executed.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

We will see a lot more of this in 2020. There will be a wholesale assault on conservative sites by the left disguised as fighting “fake news” and “election interference.”

3 posted on 07/30/2019 2:07:39 PM PDT by colorado tanker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: colorado tanker
Yep. They are going to go all out. If they lose the next election they are done.

PDJT is fundamentally transforming all the damage hussein and his ilk did.

4 posted on 07/30/2019 2:22:19 PM PDT by Eagles6
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

This article puts the recent Babylon Bee article in a whole new light.

Babylon Bee contends that Snopes has decided to pre-approve all statements made in the Democrat debates tonight in an effort to expedite the fact-checking.

5 posted on 07/30/2019 2:31:08 PM PDT by the_Watchman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

Sic ‘Em, BB! MAGA! :)

6 posted on 07/30/2019 2:48:21 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (We come from the earth, we return to the earth, and in between we garden.~Alfred Austin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

One of my favorite sources for news.

7 posted on 07/30/2019 2:51:07 PM PDT by kaehurowing
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

Sue them: rope a snope.

8 posted on 07/30/2019 2:52:42 PM PDT by YogicCowboy ("I am not entirely on anyone's side, because no one is entirely on mine." - J. R. R. Tolkien)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Fai Mao

There was an old saying “Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel”. Snopes thinks they are the big dog in this fight because they are backed by Facebook, but they are going up against someone who has an even bigger podium because more people go to the Bee daily.

9 posted on 07/30/2019 3:01:52 PM PDT by RainMan (rainman)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

Leftards and their humor are soon parted.

10 posted on 07/30/2019 3:02:08 PM PDT by vpintheak (Stop making stupid people famous!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RainMan

Snopes is nothing but a left wing propaganda outlet, like the rest. Their “fact checks” are often quite wrong.

11 posted on 07/30/2019 3:55:24 PM PDT by Fireone (Build the gallows first, then the wall!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

Facebook is the sad joke in all of this. The whole point of a “marketplace of ideas” is that bad ideas get exposed, good ideas get circulated, and satire will be so identified by the users.

It’s pathetic that facebook feels that it needs to mommy and daddy its users, and in a way totalitarian that Snopes would want to be the arbiter of what is real, what is fake, what is true and false, what is funny, and what is “offensive”.

Ultimately these sites will shoot themselves in the foot by driving traffic down. If you want a one-sided conversation there are plenty of platforms to go to.

12 posted on 07/30/2019 4:06:56 PM PDT by monkeyshine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Fireone

They, like all “fact check sites”, are totally pedantic. Overly literal, most especially when they ‘fact check’ Trump.

Some examples, Trump says “lowest unemployment ever” and they say “we’ve only tracked this number since 1953 so he can’t say ‘ever’”. They don’t allow for figures of speech. They also don’t consider sarcasm, poetic license, and other colloquialisms and jargon.

13 posted on 07/30/2019 4:19:32 PM PDT by monkeyshine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

WHOA! You gotta be kidding me! This is real news!

14 posted on 07/30/2019 6:52:53 PM PDT by If You Want It Fixed - Fix It
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson