Snopes: Fact-Checker of Jokes

To my knowledge, every purported fact checker in the United States is on the left–Snopes, PolitiFact, the Washington Post, the Associated Press. If there is a neutral or conservative fact checker operating–other than sites on the free internet like Power Line–I don’t know who it is.

Snopes is not a sophisticated operation. It has fallen for satires on many occasions, purporting to fact-check what are obviously jokes. In at least a couple of cases, Snopes has fallen for Babylon Bee parodies. This instance is interesting because Snopes has finally caught on to the fact that the Babylon Bee is a satire site, but “fact-checks” it anyway:

Did U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Repeatedly Guess ‘Free’ on TV Show ‘The Price is Right?’

Now, come on. Does Snopes seriously think that anyone saw the Bee’s story and believed that Ocasio-Cortez went on The Price Is Right (which apparently still exists, to my surprise) and guessed that EVERY SINGLE THING IS FREE? Yes. Snopes actually believes that, or pretends to, even though in fact, it got the joke:

In mid-April 2019, an image supposedly showing U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez guessing that the cost of an item was “free” during an appearance on the daytime television game show “The Price is Right” started circulating on social media:

This is not a genuine photograph of Ocasio-Cortez on the show. This image was created for a satirical article that was originally published by The Babylon Bee.

Really? No kidding? AOC wasn’t a contestant on The Price Is Right? And she didn’t think a new bedroom set was free? Who knew?

Snopes’s fear, apparently, is that some people who see the “Price Is Right” graphic on Facebook will take it seriously, even though it was created satirically by the Bee. In other words: Americans are too stupid to get the most blindingly obvious joke. And American politics turn largely on humorous memes that are propagated on Facebook.

Right. To be charitable, though, we probably should note that Snopes’s editors have repeatedly failed to understand the Babylon Bee’s humor. So perhaps it makes some kind of sense that Snopes sees satire, as reproduced in Facebook memes, as a threat to the republic. Or a threat to the Democratic Party, anyway.

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