For over a decade now, the home for urban legend debunking on the web has been Snopes.com, a personal website run by Barbara and David Mikkelson.

While much of its initial incarnation focused on debunking the oldest of the old—”escaped serial killer with a hook” kind of stories, for instance—it has evolved, especially in the last 6 or 7 years, to be an invaluable resource for debunking all the nonsense emails that get forwarded around. I know I use it to rebut these sorts of emails all the time, especially during election years when my conservative extended family forwards these sorts of spurious rumors. It was only a matter of time, then, before Snopes itself came to be labeled as liberal.

Snopes is not always telling the truth.

Check it out at ( http://www.truthorfiction.com/)

Please forward this to all on your E-mail list.

I have suspected this for quite some time. I often check the source of Snopes’s verification. Many times it is a liberal source. I have just accessed truthorfiction.com and believe it is a good alternative to Snopes and will be giving it a try. You might want to check it out and decide for yourselves…

A good freind sent me this Email

I have suspected some problems with snopes for some time now, but I have only caught them in half-truths. If there is any subjectivity they do an immediate full left rudder. I have recently discovered that Snopes.com is owned by a flaming liberal and this man is in the tank for Obama. There are many things they have listed on their site as a hoax and yet you can go to Youtube yourself and find the video of Obama actually saying these things. So you see, you cannot and should not trust Snopes.com….ever for anything that remotely resembles truth! I don’t even trust them to tell me if email chains are hoaxes anymore.

A few conservative speakers on Myspace told me about snopes.com a few months ago and I took it upon myself to do a little research to find out if what they were saying was true. Well, I found out for myself that they were correct. Snopes is backing Obama and is covering up for him. They will say anything that makes him look bad is a hoax and they also tell lies on the other side about McCain and Palin.

Truth or fiction.com http://www.truthorfiction.com/ is the better source for verification, in my opinion.
Anyway just FYI please don’t use Snopes.com anymore for fact checking and make your friends aware of their political leanings as well. Many people still think Snopes.com is neutral and they can be trusted as factual. We need to make sure everyone is aware that that is a hoax in itself. Please pass this on.

As most of its followers can attest, the site is impeccably researched: each entry has citations listed at the bottom. Unlike some of the other popular debunking sites, like the listed TruthOrFiction or BreakTheChain, Snopes generally goes to extra mile to add context to the rumor; they pull in additional quotes, they call companies and individuals for verification.

This quoted email forward is another example of spurious email forwards with no basis in any sort of reality. Note the tell-tale signs:

  • The language is extreme (note that the owner isn’t simply described as left-leaning, but rather is a “flaming liberal”)
  • It was sent by “a freind” [sic] whose identity remains a mystery
  • It mentions “research” but doesn’t actually cite any sources or examples

What seems obvious to me is that the same sorts of nescient people who still persist in believing that Obama is Muslim (and that he recently said as much in an interview with George Stephanopoulous) simply don’t like that Snopes continues to undermine their happy delusions. If you really believe that any news source besides Fox News Channel is liberal, then I suppose you really can’t trust the citations on Snopes, which, after all, are from well-known Leftist organizations like the Associated Press1. The hysterical conservatives who will continue to point to an edited YouTube video and scream that it uncovers the “truth” about Obama (or whomever else you use an as example) are the same sort who look at Snopes, see the whole video put in context, and shout themselves hoarse about how Snopes is run by Obama apologists, or a secret cabal of gay atheist Communist Jews trying to undermine America by covering up evidence of Obama’s faith-hating or perhaps Bill Clinton’s murders.

And of course TruthOrFiction will tell you much of the same things as Snopes, though it’s a tremendously ugly site and it doesn’t cite its sources.

For all this hue and cry, what we have here is little more than one idiot spilling forth his mental offal into an email, and then far too many entirely credulous conservatives forwarding it because they very much wish it to be true. Nothing apparently gives such people greater satisfaction than to label something anathema and then tell all their friends about it. It’s an impulse I will never understand.

Let me reiterate in case you’ve skipped most of the explanation:

  1. Snopes is not inaccurate, nor is it biased (though it’s been baselessly accused of just about every bias under the sun, by moronic liberals as well)
  2. That email forward (any email forward) you just got? It’s probably wrong.
  1. Note my heavy sarcasm.[]
§2994 · October 28, 2008 · Tags: , , ·

14 Comments to “In defense of Snopes”

  1. Brady says:

    Psssh… you just can’t handle the proven fact that Obama and his group of terrorist friends were trained in Muslim school to hate America. Leave it to the liberal media to cover up the fact that if Obama is elected president, he will personally and gleefully perform partial-birth abortions while handing out welfare checks to all of his Communist friends. That has been researched and verified by organizations that are so well-known I don’t even have to name them. If Snopes refutes the slightest bit of that, they are in bed with Obama (probably having illicit gay sex with him).

  2. Conor says:

    Ah-ha! But Snopes itself is a hoax! No but seriously, I did read an informative and rather well-cited piece on Snopes just today.

    Of course they’re afraid of truth propagation….

  3. Annie says:

    At Snopes I think there was too much support for Obama when he was campaigning, he could do no wrong and Snopes poohed any questions of his integrity. Snopes was very supportive and should have been neutral to be an effective debunker. No one in their right mind can really have faith in Snopes now. If they could spread half truths and grey out the truth on one issue, who’s to say they don’t on all issues. They lost their credibility as far as I can see.

  4. Conor says:

    With Annie I think there is too little support for Snopes, they could do no right and Annie seemed bent on slandering their integrity. Annie was very critical of Snopes and should have been neutral to be an effective commenter. No one in their right mind can really have faith in Annie now. If she could spread half truths and grey out the truth on one issue, who’s to say she doesn’t on all issues? She’s lost her credibility as far as I can see.

  5. Mikki says:

    I was a member of Snopes for a couple of years. After signing up on their site, It took me only a short while to realize that they are definitely left-leaning and biased. I started noticing that posters had to be very careful if they had any kind of conservative views. Some posters stated that they had their posts removed if they didn’t agree with the moderator’s views.

    I myself had 2 topics removed.
    One was regarding at TV show where spouses traded places. One of the husbands refused to have the American flag anywhere on his property. I was curious as to what other people thought of this particular show and asked in the Entertainment Forum. My post was immediately deleted.
    My 2nd post to be removed was regarding Hugo Chavez. I simply asked if people thought he was guilty of all the scandals and corruption that seem to surround him. That post was also deleted immediately.
    The Forums there are supposed to be for open discussion, and I only asked for other people’s opinions; I gave no opinions myself. I

    It became quite apparent that posters who had even a hint of conservative flavor were attacked by the other members. And the moderators blantantly let it go on & on. But…if you were left-leaning and posted such views there, you were praised and the posts were very supportive. Have you noticed that the number of members/posts has gone WAY down in the last year? They might have tried to hide their left-leaning slant, but it didn’t work. It seems that they cannot moderate a forum without injecting their own left-leaning views.

  6. Geoff says:

    What happened to critical thinking? Research whatever you want at as many sites as you can find, THEN make up your mind. I see no evidence of this technique in any of these negative postings. Brady: Those sites you don’t need to mention are now, very effectively, "unknown sources". Annie: Snopes’ neutrality, or lack thereof, is more than balanced out by Fox news, The New York Times, and the vast majority of Republican Representatives and Senators, to name but a few sources. Use your brains, people!

  7. Bob says:

    To the author of this…’debunking’:
    You debunk the email inserted using an example that they used “extreme” language yet you turn around and do the EXACT same thing in your criticism. My common sensical assessment of you is that you are a HYPOCRIT (and most assuredly a liberal).

    • Ben says:

      One of us isn’t following this conversation (hint: it’s you).

      Also, I think you mean “hypocrite”.

    • Conor says:

      And my assessment of you, good sir, is that you are an angry and impulsive commenter. I’ve drawn my own conclusions about what that might indicate about your political inclinations, but this is hardly the time or the place to bring that up.

      I myself found the “debunking” post to be quite informative, and clearly well thought-out. If your boldest refutation of it is to say that it uses “extreme” language, then I think the author did a great job. As much as I’d love to compare and contrast the diction and soundness of syllogisms between the post and your comment, again, this is neither the time nor the place.

    • Eric_RoM says:

      The misspellings in ‘Bob’s’ screed do indeed confirm it as pure wingnuttonium.

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