July 31, 2019

"Snopes, however, was not content with performing its vital public service of debunking crazy rumors and easing childhood fears."

"It had pretensions to be something more. It took the cultural goodwill built up over years of truth-telling and decided to make a real difference. It kept fact-checking urban legends... but it also began fact-checking politicians and news sites, and conducting its own investigative reports... And that brings me to one of my favorite websites, the Babylon Bee. It’s distinctly conservative, it’s distinctly Christian, it’s very, very funny (especially if you’ve grown up as an Evangelical Christian), and it’s obviously, clearly satire.... Snopes has fact-checked whether Democrats demanded that 'Brett Kavanaugh submit to a DNA test to prove he’s not actually Hitler.' It’s fact-checked whether Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez repeatedly 'guessed "free" on TV show "The Price is Right,"' and whether Ilhan Omar actually asked, 'If Israel is so innocent, then why do they insist on being Jews?'...  [L]ast week Snopes... fact-checked an article called 'Georgia Lawmaker Claims Chick-Fil-A Employee Told Her To Go Back To Her Country, Later Clarifies He Actually Said "My Pleasure."'... [I]t questioned whether the article was satire, accusing the Bee of 'fanning the flames of a controversy' and 'muddying the details of a news story.'... [If Snopes] wants to serve its purpose, it must not use its remaining cultural power and its remaining commercial influence to target the satire that stings its allies. Hands off the Babylon Bee."

Writes David French in "Hands Off the Babylon Bee" (National Review).

First, let me disclose my bias. I loathe The Babylon Bee. I don't try to read it. I encounter it because Instapundit puts up the attention-getting headlines so I'm forced to read them and do the half-second-long mental work of seeing that it's just a joke and I never find the joke funny. It's always, oh, no... it's The Babylon Bee. It's like Instapundit is Rickrolling me. But David French says "it’s very, very funny." Not to me, it isn't. Admittedly, I did not grow up as an Evangelical Christian, but I don't know why that would make me more open to attaching nasty fake quotes like "If Israel is so innocent, then why do they insist on being Jews?" to a real name like Ilhan Omar.

It doesn't sound as though Snopes is confused about The Babylon Bee and thinks it's purporting to be a real news site. But even when you completely understand the format is satire, like The Onion, you believe that the satire relates to something real. You have to wonder what is the real thing that happened that this is a satire of. So, for example, in the case of "If Israel is so innocent, then why do they insist on being Jews?," you'd have to assume, if that's supposed to be funny, Ilhan Omar must have said some anti-Semitic things. The presentation of the quote as satire implies that there is something out there that is being satirized. You extrapolate.

So, in the case of the insist-on-being-Jews quote, Snopes tried to find the factual basis for the satire:
In this case, the website’s intent was to ridicule Omar’s reaction to escalating violence on the Gaza Strip (“The status quo of occupation and humanitarian crisis in Gaza is unsustainable,” she tweeted, emphasizing the plight of Palestinians) by attributing barely coherent anti-Semitic quotes to her. Earlier in the year, Omar was accused by members of both parties of using “anti-Semitic tropes” in criticizing Israel’s influence over U.S. politics. She has made no public statements resembling those in the Babylon Bee article, however.
That is an unusual form of fact-checking, but it is real fact-checking. Snopes also fact-checks The Onion in the same way. For example, there's: "Did ICE Hurl a Pregnant Woman Over a Border Wall?/In June 2018, a piece of satire from 'The Onion' became more confusing to social media users":
The Onion is, of course, a satirical web site that was founded in newspaper form in 1988.

Readers’ mistaking The Onion's humorous material for real news is not uncommon on social media, as demonstrated by questions we’ve received from readers about warring cruise ships and a photograph of Cuban people clinging to the wings of Air Force One.
It's not that people believed the photograph that showed a crowd of people on the wings of Air Force One as it flew, but some readers imagined that something happened, that at least some Cubans clung to the wings of the plane while it was still on the ground.

It's not just this inference that something underlies satire, but that headlines get decontextualized in social media. This is what's I've found so irritating encountering The Babylon Bee at Instapundit. And, yes, I know that lately Instapundit includes some note that the quoted headline is satire — sometimes with a reference to Snopes but also with a nudge that it's awfully close to what's true. For example: "Note to Snopes: It’s the Babylon Bee, so this is satire — or is it?"

So, yeah, I'm defending Snopes. I don't see the problem with what it's doing. I'm sure it leans left, but those who are attacking it lean right. Websites have political leanings. Big deal. So what? That's not worth getting excited about. Who's doing anything wrong here? I don't see much of a problem anywhere. The Babylon Bee isn't very good, in my opinion, and I can't avoid it because it's constantly linked on Instapundit, and I'm not going to quit Instapundit, but I completely own that as my problem.

427 comments:

1 – 200 of 427   Newer›   Newest»
Shouting Thomas said...

I find Babylon Bee hilarious.

If Israel is so innocent, then why do they insist on being Jews?

Yes, that precisely characterizes Omar. That is her politics in a nutshell.

TreeJoe said...

Either all Satire is Satire or else all satire/comedy needs to be fact checked.

Should we Fact Check Comedy Central because they mix news with comedy? Saturday Night Live?

Snopes fact-checking the babylon bee actually gives credence to the Babylon Bee as a potential source of news.

Harsh Pencil said...

Snopes is trying to get the Babylon Bee shut down by Facebook and Google as a "fake news site" as opposed to a "satire site". That is, Google and Facebook (and others) are trying to weed out actual deliberate, probably Russian, false news sites, and are using Snopes to help them identify them.

henry said...

The problem with Snopes leaning left is the same problem as the Media or Tech or Academia leaning left: they claim they are objective and balanced, and aim to silence all other opinion. It is not healthy.

The Bee is annoying, but can be scrolled past on Instapundit or Twitter or elsewhere.

Mike Sylwester said...

Well, you're no fun today.

rhhardin said...

The problem is a movement to get Facebook to ban them which is likely to work.

Mike Sylwester said...

Harsh Pencil at 7:56 AM
Snopes is trying to get the Babylon Bee shut down by Facebook and Google as a "fake news site" ...

That is a very astute comment.

Temujin said...

Oy.

Snopes is like so many of the 'nuanced' left. They always say that they are more nuanced in their thinking. Babylon Bee, which I don't read, but do follow Instapundit links to, seems pretty simply satire. Call it funny, or, as it seems to some on the nuanced Left, not so funny. But it is there to make fun by giving extreme and fictional instances of actual people and circumstances. It's so obvious that the funny part is that people get mad at it, or feel the need to fact check it.

Snopes is lost. They lost their credibility a long time ago. Now, like so many others, they are flailing at the bottom of a shallow pond, trying to get some traction.

'If Israel is so innocent, then why do they insist on being Jews?' That's funny pinned to Omar.
'Georgia Lawmaker Claims Chick-Fil-A Employee Told Her To Go Back To Her Country, Later Clarifies He Actually Said "My Pleasure."'- That was hilarious. Especially if you've ever eaten at a Chick-Fil-A and have seen how polite and service oriented their help is, and hear the cackles from the Left decrying them as haters when they open new properties. It's bizarre. Babylon Bee seems to be doing a great job of poking the cacklers in the butt.

WisRich said...


"It's not just this inference that something underlies satire, but that headlines get decontextualized in in social media."

So, Satire for me but not for thee.

Come on Ann.

NEO-FIDO said...

Humor analysis is not your forte, Althouse.

I Callahan said...

I guess the old saw about how many feminists it takes to screw in a light bulb really is true...

Unknown said...

Anne,
I'm afraid your sense of humor needs to bee recalibrated...

buwaya said...

Snopes is not an independent entity.

If it were a matter of Snopes vs the Bee, as in Twain's "Journalism in Tennessee", that would just be good fun. For some people anyway, if not Althouse.

But it isn't. Snopes is tied to the internet majors and the MSM on their back end.
As in it feeds Facebook and Twitter, and perhaps Google, for maintenance of various "fake news" filters. Its part of that propaganda system. And therefore also it feeds the deplatforming process.

hawkeyedjb said...

Snopes started as a fact-check site. Now it is an opinion-check site. It seeks out unapproved opinions to criticize them. This has nothing to do with facts.

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm Catholic, by the way, not evangelical.

Gahrie said...

First, let me disclose my bias. I loathe The Babylon Bee.

Well, to be fair, most of us don't understand why you think SNL and Kathy Griffin is funny.

I don't try to read it.

But you revere the NYT. Which any rational person loathes.

Howard said...

So, basically you peoples problem is your side is too weak, lazy, stupid to compete within a completely open free market free form capitalist system with liberals in the MSM, fact-checking, satirical news, Hollywood, social media, technology, the environment, social welfare, civil rights, etc.

@realSnowFlakes

chuck said...

> do the half-second-long mental work of seeing that it's just a joke

Whoa, half a second, there goes the day. Personally, if it takes me a while to figure out I'm being snookered, I enjoy it. Being fooled is part of the fun. It is even more fun when someone else gets suckered: "64 bit A/D designed with sadistical logic" once caught a co-worker.

Think of it as fun training for reading The New Yorker, the NYT, or the WaPoo.

Wilson Carroll said...

Snopes and the Southern Poverty Law Center are pretty much the same now. Both started out legitimately enough but then degenerated into partisan attack machines.

Brent said...

As Scott Adams often reminds everyone, 1/3 of the population dos not understand humor.

Sad.

gilbar said...

Let's Face THE FACTS
The Babylon Bee is WRONGTHINK, and to enjoy it is THOUGHTCRIME

No one, and i mean NO ONE, would complain if the Bee would stick to proper articles like:
https://babylonbee.com/news/only-non-white-church-member-keeps-getting-invited-to-photo-shoots

born01930 said...

You mean there is no Ministry of Silly Walks?!?

Kevin said...

It's not that people believed the photograph that showed a crowd of people on the wings of Air Force One as it flew, but some readers imagined that something happened, that at least some Cubans clung to the wings of the plane while it was still on the ground.

Kind of like how people assume something happened between Trump and Putin to manipulate the election results.

buwaya said...

The larger picture requires a different analysis.

We leave the realm of funny or not, or even true or not, to look on the world as a chessboard, in the middle of a game.

Snopes and the BB are pieces on the board - its a very large board with many thousands of pieces. These all exist in order to aid one side or the other towards ultimate victory, because in fact this is all about an ongoing conflict, the game in progress.

This way of seeing things requires detachment. Detachment from personal feelings among other things.

Shouting Thomas said...

I wonder how in the hell Althouse keeps reading all that fucking Marxist feminist garbage.

I regard it as a her taste in whack off porn.

Rich white girl from rich NJ suburb whacking off over her "oppression."

Pure drama queen bullshit.

And, yet, I still love you, prof. Everybody's got their porn kink.

Andrew said...

To each his own, I guess. I usually laugh at The Babylon Bee. Sometimes it's as clever as The Onion. And they're take on Evangelical Christianity (which I belong to) is spot on.

Shouting Thomas said...

So, basically you peoples problem is...

Every one of Howard's comments begins with a version of this preamble.

dreams said...

Althouse, definitely not preaching to the choir today, this will get their blood boiling. The pot needs stirring...

stevew said...

Babylon Bee is a satire site, that is clear to everyone and not hidden by them. Snopes is a fact checking operation that claims to be objective in their analysis and motivation of uncovering fake news. The reality of what they do is go after the people and sources that attack the Left and Progressives and ideas with which Snopes sympathizes. And it does seem that they are attempting to precipitate the de-platforming of the Bee. Snopes is dishonest in this way.

Snopes and their advocates think you and I are stupid and incapable of discerning comedy and satire from factual content. And just for good measure, they hate you.

Kevin said...

You can’t create a strong society where people are only fed the truth and don’t have to think for themselves.

The future is uncertain and knowledge must continue to progress.

This progress requires people to separate fact from fiction in the normal course of their lives.

Natural selection eventually deals a blow to people and societies that can’t.

jnseward said...

C'mon people. Ann's post is obviously satire.

Qwinn said...

I do think the Bee is pretty darn funny most of the time.

What is amazing me is that our hostess seems to be objecting to Bee's satire of Omar on the basis that Omar hasn't actually said anything as bad as the Bee's satire about Jews?

How is that even possible? Ann, you said you read Instapundit links. There's been literally dozens of quotes of what Ilhan has said that are WORSE than Bee's satire about Jews. Literally dozens.

Here's just one. Tell me how Bee's satire makes Omar seem worse than the following:

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/omar-introduces-resolution-defending-boycotts-of-israel-likens-it-to-boycott-of-nazi-germany-soviet-union

The Bergall said...

The New York Times is funnier by a large margin............../s

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

I love mocking the anti-free speech asshole left. & I love the BB

mesquito said...

It’s sort of a big when monopolistic platforms use snopes as they’re gatekeeper.

I Callahan said...

So, basically you peoples problem is your side is too weak, lazy, stupid to compete within a completely open free market free form capitalist system with liberals in the MSM, fact-checking, satirical news, Hollywood, social media, technology, the environment, social welfare, civil rights, etc.

Well, if you can point out how our system resembles the utter fantasy you describe above, then maybe you'd have a point. The ironic thing is that Snopes is trying to get Babylon Bee deplatformed. Want to explain to me how that's an "open free market form capitalist system"?

MBunge said...

Good grief, this is not complicated. Does Snopes "fact check"...

The Daily Show? Stephen Colbert? Saturday Night Live? Samantha Bee?

If not, why do you think that is?

Mike

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

The collective left cannot handle anyone poking them or mocking them. Total Hitler-babies.

Dave Begley said...

This is the most off-base I've ever seen Ann Althouse. The Bee and The Onion are satire. You can't fact check a joke.

Ann: You need a vacation. A Nebraska vacation!

I Callahan said...

Every one of Howard's comments begins with a version of this preamble.

I think Howard is secretly either Pete Buttigieg or Barack Obama. The arrogance quotient is that high...

Quayle said...

Headline: "Speech control-freak freaks out when it can't control speech."

Ann is right: that's a dog bites man story.

Kevin said...

Snopes won’t bother to fact-check Duffel Blog.

Their stuff is way too true.

dreams said...

"C'mon people. Ann's post is obviously satire."

Or is it?

WisRich said...

jnseward said...
C'mon people. Ann's post is obviously satire.

7/31/19, 8:15 AM
-------

If it is, she got me. Although I wouldn't demand she be deplatformed for it.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

Half-pinions, as Scott Adams calls them, make for weak satire. See Colbert.

I don't read the Bee, so I can't say one way or the other. I used to love the Onion, but I guess I don't find humor to be too funny anymore

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

sure whatever. But when someone crowns themselves an authority of "facts" - "facts" that only go in one political direction and these same arbiters of "facts" become weapons in the battle for free speech - careful siding with the speech police.

CSU now has a booklet on PC words that shall not be spoken because they are considered "offensive."

Like"Grandfathered"

This is where the leftwing totalitarian speech police are taking us.

Hugh said...

The era of “That’s not funny!” Isn’t that an Althouse recurring theme? Or am I confusing blogs/ bloggers?

Friendo said...

That's not funny (to Althouse). Lighten up Francis.

Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shouting Thomas said...

Althouse has written many times of sitting up to watch "The Handmaid's Tale."

The college she worked for is staffed with dozens of feminist thugs pulling down big salaries to beat up on the undergraduates. Eating their shit is a requirement for graduation.

"The Handmaid's Tale" is feminist porn that appeals to the teenage drama queen in Althouse.

So, yeah, we all have our version of some laughable, slightly disgusting perversion.

I have the good sense to keep mine to myself.

Fernandinande said...

"If Israel is so innocent, then why do they insist on being Jews?,"

I laughed and laughed.

you'd have to assume, if that's supposed to be funny, Ilhan Omar must have said some anti-Semitic things.

The line is funny without being attributed to anyone in particular; it's funnier when attributed to Omar because "Omar spoke out forcefully against Israel" and hates Jews. You don't have to assume anything.

Infinite Monkeys said...

You have to wonder what is the real thing that happened that this is a satire of.

Since they are satirizing things that do not put Democrats/Progressives in a good light, the original news stories may have not gotten much notice in the NYT and similar news sources (yet).

One of the things I like best about The Bee is that it satirizes breaking stories within hours while it's still fresh.

Ann Althouse said...

"Snopes is trying to get the Babylon Bee shut down by Facebook and Google as a "fake news site" as opposed to a "satire site". That is, Google and Facebook (and others) are trying to weed out actual deliberate, probably Russian, false news sites, and are using Snopes to help them identify them."

I attempted to fact-check that and I can't find anything other than an incident in 2018 for which Facebook apologized. Please provide a link or delete your comment.

dreams said...

"If Israel is so innocent, then why do they insist on being Jews?,"

I agree with those who think it's funny.

Darrell said...

The Snopes in Hell will be kicked in the face continuously until the end of time.

tim maguire said...

I don't read the Babylon Bee either, for the same reason--I rarely find satire funny. However, I think the Instapundit's "or is it" quip is apt as the satire is often close enough to true to make a person wonder.

And maybe that's why Snopes feels the need to fact check it--because the real Dems are almost as nutzo as the imaginary Dems. And Snopes should be ridiculed for not having a brighter line between factual claims and jokes. So everybody's right.

That said, if, as The Bee claims, Snopes is using its position as fake-news shield to deplatform right-wing outlets like The Babylon Bee, they should be nailed to the wall for it.

Ann Althouse said...

he Babylon Bee is the level of humor I'd expect in a middle-school humor zine. The fact that you can tell it's in the humor genre doesn't mean it's well done. It's like "dad jokes." Yes, I see that it's a joke. That doesn't make it high-quality humor. That makes it an annoying jab in the ribs. Bleh.

Big Mike said...

I don't know why that would make me more open to attaching nasty fake quotes like "If Israel is so innocent, then why do they insist on being Jews?" to a real name like Ilhan Omar.

The Times and the Post do it all the time and that’s different because ... why?

Quayle said...

My question is who will fact-check the fact-checker fact-checker fact-checkers?

After all, the secret of the Democrat ecosystem - a circular fact-checking symbiosis. Ann is trying to insert herself into the loop. As Elizabeth Warren said, "That's not funny!"

Shouting Thomas said...

So, Althouse, why are you reading and watching feminist porn that portrays evangelical men doing horrible things to women that evangelical men aren't doing?

Darrell said...

https://babylonbee.com/news/snopes-issues-pre-approval-on-all-statements-made-during-tonights-democratic-debate?fbclid=IwAR1exC8qyoWKtTO7sCvca4mf965g4JVRORgNjm4WsmQDo1wxqWFNDtBSWhY

Kevin said...

Ann's post is obviously satire.

Maybe readers have to view her proposal mostly as a political messaging statement.

Or a legal maneuver that carries significant political overtones.

Browndog said...

That pic of AOC on The Price is Right bidding "FREE" cracks me up every time I see it.

And yes, Snopes fact checked it and determined Babylon Bee was guilty of photo shopping.

Now, I'm starting to think all those stories I heard from stand-up comics back when they were funny might not be true. Where were the experts fact checking Mitch Hedberg?

Nothing's funny unless it's true!

Wince said...

Why doesn't Snopes simply label and create a new area of its site called Satire Alerts rather than "fact check"? A "fact check" impugns the motives and practices of the original publisher, not subsequent out-of-context "reposters"?

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/omar-if-israel-is-so-innocent/

Unfortunately, satire often isn’t recognizable as such in social media posts, which rarely carry the appropriate disclaimers, nor on blogs and websites (such as CNMNewz.com) that repost articles from sites such as The Babylon Bee without alerting readers that they’re satirical in nature. Under such conditions, the distinction between satire and misinformation is effectively meaningless.

Darrell said...

At publishing, Snopes had also released a fact-check for all future statements by President Trump, rating them all as “False.”

frenchy said...

People who voted for Obama tend to not like the Babylon Bee.

Kevin said...

The Babylon Bee is the level of humor I'd expect in a middle-school humor zine. The fact that you can tell it's in the humor genre doesn't mean it's well done. It's like "dad jokes." Yes, I see that it's a joke. That doesn't make it high-quality humor. That makes it an annoying jab in the ribs. Bleh.

Shorter Althouse: That’s not funny!

John henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Sylwester said...

The statist political philosophy tends to censor criticism of the state. As the state controls more and more of society, criticism of the state undermines the larger society. The state cannot function effectively if its every action can be criticized and ridiculed.

The state must make decisions that might seem faulty in the short run but that are enormously beneficial to society in the long run. Ridicule of the state's decisions that seem faulty in the short run causes harm to society in the long run.

Therefore, censorship is necessary. People who work as censors are benefiting society. They deserve moral credit for the necessary work that they do.

This was the idea during the Communist period of the 20th Century, and it still is the idea among the statists of the 21st Century.

Censorship is more difficult now in the Internet Age, because the dissemination of information and opinion is easier. Therefore, clever new censorship techniques are being developed.

One clever new technique is shadow-banning. Imagine trying to explain this technique to someone 30 years ago. Even an extremely sophisticated person would not comprehend it.

Another clever new technique is to ban a satire website as a fake-news website. Imagine trying to likewise explain this technique to someone 30 years ago.

As the techniques of disseminating information and opinion are being improved dynamically, the techniques of censoring information and opinion are being improved just as dynamically.

In the coming decades, the censorship techniques will develop in ways that we cannot even comprehend now. Now our universities are educating the censors of the future.

iqvoice said...

Latest Trending from the Bee: "Millions Of ROUSes Begin Migration From Fire Swamp To Scenic Baltimore"

How can anyone with a sense of humor not laugh at that?

Or, from a few months ago, "Baptists End Support for Trump After Learning He Once Danced At A Wedding."

It's classic stuff. If Althouse doesn't find this funny, the problem is with Althouse.

mtrobertslaw said...

The gist of the story seems to be that Snopes and others are trying to get The Bee shut down. If this is true, it is hard to believe that Ann, a fervent believer in free speech, is supporting Snopes.

Ann Althouse said...

"Snopes is trying to get the Babylon Bee shut down by Facebook and Google as a "fake news site" as opposed to a "satire site". That is, Google and Facebook (and others) are trying to weed out actual deliberate, probably Russian, false news sites, and are using Snopes to help them identify them."

I really do think you are wrong there.

The National Review article says this about Facebook:

"In 2018, after Snopes fact-checked a Bee article titled “CNN Purchases Industrial-Sized Washing Machine to Spin News Before Publication” (no, really), Facebook warned the Bee that it could be penalized with reduced distribution and demonetization. Facebook later apologized for its warning."

There's also a current article in The Christian Post, "Babylon Bee founder hits back at Snopes over fact-checking satirical stories." It says:

“The Bee has been ‘Snoped’ plenty of times before (and had to endure Facebook purgatory once because of it)... In 2018, Facebook threatened the Babylon Bee with demonetization and reduced reach on the social media site after Snopes fact-checked a Bee satire story poking fun at CNN. Facebook later apologized for the censorship threat, telling the Daily Caller that it was a “mistake” on their part and promising that it “won't count against the domain in any way.

Calypso Facto said...

Babylon Bee gets the last laugh: "Snopes Issues Pre-Approval Of All Statements Made During Tonight's Democratic Debate"

Love me some Bee!

John henry said...

First, let me disclose my bias. I loathe The Babylon Bee. I don't try to read it. I encounter it because Instapundit puts up the attention-getting headlines so I'm forced to read them and do the half-second-long mental work of seeing that it's just a joke and I never find the joke funny.

Sounds like you are on the verge of saying, but are too cool to actually say it:

Maybe the Babylon Bee doesn't deserve the same level of 1A protection that a Maureen Dowd column (or perhaps the NYT in general does."

Lots of humor I don't care for. Marx Brothers and the 3 Stooges, for example as I mentioned the other day.

It's all speech and deserves the same protection.

Just as the following does:

95340 52234 37598 23486 41637 22459

75604 93747 37680 86683 77226 55564

69123 14527 48758 98077 47824 73877

37122 92522 63880 22153 83518 77950

16163 18970 11849 60350 21115 22581

John Henry

Pat said...

It is not that they fact check satire sites that bothers me, since people will believe almost anything, it is what they decline to verify. Similar to the SPLC. Is attacking a person with a MAGA hat a hate crime? Evidently not since they don't track those types of events.

gilbar said...

Our Beloved Professor Althouse said...
he Babylon Bee is the level of humor I'd expect in a middle-school humor zine


like Beavis and Butt-Head?
Prospective Youth Pastor Hired On The Spot After Killer Beavis And Butt-Head Impression

Ken B said...

Shorter Althouse: I’m a prune.

Fritz said...

Ann Althouse said...
he Babylon Bee is the level of humor I'd expect in a middle-school humor zine. The fact that you can tell it's in the humor genre doesn't mean it's well done. It's like "dad jokes." Yes, I see that it's a joke. That doesn't make it high-quality humor. That makes it an annoying jab in the ribs. Bleh.

Humor depends on whose ribs are being jabbed.

Limited blogger said...

Looks like Babylon Bee is winning this round of the fight.

Quayle said...

Fourteen years in this blogging business, Ann has learned a few things. She knows what words are funny and which words are not funny. Alka Seltzer is funny. You write or say “Alka Seltzer” you get a laugh. Words with “k” in them are funny. Casey Stengel, that’s a funny name. Babylon Bee is not funny. Cupcake is funny. Tomato is not funny. Cookie is funny. Cucumber is funny. Car keys. Cleveland. Cleveland is funny. Madison is not funny. Then, there’s chicken. Chicken is funny. Pickle is funny.

Static Ping said...

Babylon Bee very much thinks that Snopes is trying to deplatform them. They've hired lawyers. Link:

https://mailchi.mp/babylonbee/reparations-for-everyone-83635

The key point here is Snopes is now questioning whether the Babylon Bee qualifies as satire. If they are not satire then they are fake news, and if they are fake news they should be banned. Unlike, say, the Althouse Blog, Snopes actually has the power to do that. Whether you find the Babylon Bee amusing or not - we are all entitled to our own sense of humor - the fact is BB is not only satire but obvious and self-declared satire, so this is a very troubling development.

Michael K said...

I was raised Roman Catholic and haven't been in church since my divorce. I think Babylon Bee is funny and somebody got up today in a bad mood and sounds like a grumpy old woman.

"Get off my lawn !"

Hunter said...

The problem is that Snopes recognizes the Onion as "of course" satirical while it treats The Babylon Bee as a source of misinformation. As if TBB were in the same category as, say, Infowars -- a site some might call entertainment, but which does purport to be news.

The Onion regularly does the same thing to Republicans that you're complaining TBB did to Ilhan Omar. For example, some recent Onion headlines:

"White Supremacists Warn Idealistic Trump Some Compromise Will Be Necessary To Achieve Their Goals"
"Paul Ryan Lauded For Inspiring Millions Of Young Gutless Fucking Cowards To Take On Leadership Roles"
"Pence Visits Conversion Therapist For Routine Gay-Preventative Checkup"

This is the nature of satire. It is supposed to make the target look ridiculous and, sometimes, loathsome. And I suppose you can dislike the effect that seeing satire headlines on social media has on people's biases and so on, but this doesn't touch the issue at hand -- which is simply that Snopes is treating a particular satire outlet as misinformation and flagging it as such, when they don't do that to others, and the difference appears to be based on political leanings.

Clyde said...

Sadly, Snopes has followed organizations like Google, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, etc., down the path from being reliable sources of information to being cheerleaders for one side of the political spectrum. Now the rest of us discount whatever information they supply to us as probable propaganda and agitprop. Get woke, go broke.

Rit said...

Snopes stopped be a useful arbiter of political issues many moons ago. This arbiter finds Snopes and the Bee equally useless, but at least the Bee does yield an occasional laugh.

narayanan said...

...As an Israeli psychoanalyst once noted with bitter irony, the Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz. The corollary to this observation is that Europeans will never forgive the Israelis and the Jews for Auschwitz...

BB is picking up on this -

Snopes will rate Factually clear - that Auschwitz gets its bad reputation from the presence of Jews who somehow kept dying

Robert Cook said...

"Snopes and their advocates think you and I are stupid and incapable of discerning comedy and satire from factual content."

Well, maybe not "you" or "I," but certainly "them." There are many people who do take this sort of thing seriously and do not realize it is satire. As Prof. Althouse explained.

CWJ said...

“The status quo of occupation and humanitarian crisis in Gaza is unsustainable,”

The only authority occupying Gaza now and for the last several years has been Palestinian.

If she meant occupation to be represent someplace other than Gaza, that sentence needs some commas.

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken B said...

What was the factual basis underlying Swift's “A Modest Proposal”? Strictly there was none. No one had suggested the export of children, much less their consumption. What there was was what Swift judged to be an indifference to the suffering he observed. He would not survive a Snopes fact check. That tells you all you need to know about Snopes.

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...

"The problem is that Snopes recognizes the Onion as "of course" satirical while it treats The Babylon Bee as a source of misinformation."

I suspect the problem is that the Babylon Bee is particularly biting and therefore must be blunted.

Bay Area Guy said...

I don't know whether The Babylon Bee is funny, but I will check it out.

David French? Definitely not funny. I've gotten more laughs from my local mortician.

Robert Cook said...

"Snopes is treating a particular satire outlet as misinformation and flagging it as such, when they don't do that to others, and the difference appears to be based on political leanings."

It seems to me that Snopes could save themselves and everyone else a lot of bother and time to just say: "False...because it's satire people! Get a grip!"

W.Cook said...


Did Snopes ever fact check Stephen Colbert on whether Donald Trump is, in fact, Vladamir Putin's cock-holster?

No?

See the problem? They are deplatforming.

Browndog said...

I quit reading the Onion years ago. It went from kinda funny to clever snark to not so clever meanness...in my opinion.

So, I just went to their sight. The first thing I saw was highly, HIGHLY problematic; their banner:

The Onion America's Finest News Source

Oh, boy. CNN would demand they be banned from Twitter and Facebook if it were a conservative site, and they would comply.

The top "story" on The Onion is a picture of Maryanne Williamson holding a Trump doll scolding it at the debates.

CAPTION: Marianne Williamson Sternly Addresses Homemade Trump Puppet About Immigration In Fiery Debate Exchange

Funny, funny stuff.

"high quality" humor.

John henry said...

I knew Snopes before it was "Snopes" and before there was a WorldWideWeb.

Late 80s early 90s, there used to be a Alt-FolkloreUrban group on the Usenet that had very active discussions of urban folklore and the kind of thing Snopes discusses. Barbara (forget her last name) and Dave Mikkelson were both frequent posters though far from the only frequent posters.

Barbara, and perhaps Dave, was a Harvard students at the time.

Lots and lots of fascinating discussion. Some fairly serious and scholarly, a lot of it just fun and interesting.

"Snopes", from the Faulkner character was a code word for something but I forget what. Used fairly frequently in the group.

Looking now the internet says that "Snopes" was Dave's username but I do not remember that. I remember him as Dave Mikkelson in the group. I remember that most people used their actual names. (Might be wrong on that. Dave and Barbara certainly did)

In any event, they got married, founded Snopes.com, David turned out to be a real turd and the rest is history.

John Henry

Shawn Levasseur said...

"The Babylon Bee isn't very good, in my opinion, and I can't avoid it because it's constantly linked on Instapundit, and I'm not going to quit Instapundit, but I completely own that as my problem."

I'm in a similar relationship with Instapundit. The gradual increase in culture war stuff in Instapundit content is my pet peeve. The shift to a full-time group blog, and not just being Glenn's blog is where I pinpoint this beginning. I've gotten to the point where I have my RSS reader filter out one person in particular, Ed Driscoll, who was too "all-culture war all the time" for my tastes.

That said there are contributors who I enjoy there, Stephen Green, who are more even-handed and less "own the libs" in style. And of course Glenn himself (though he does dabble in a bit of the culture-war participation, to my disappointment).

I suspect that this is all driven more by the fact that Instapundit at some point stopped being Glenn Reynolds' online salon (to use the term Althouse uses to describe this blog), and more of a piece of the Pajamas Media content business. Culture wars build loyal audiences, but do little to advance actual causes.

With all the hysteria that the left and the right have ramped up in political discourse lately, I've come to appreciate Cruel Neutrality™ all the more.

bleh said...

Snopes is garbage. If the claim is that a liberal said something, and the liberal actually did say it verbatim, somehow the verdict reached by snopes is usually a “mixture” of true and false. Snopes will go the extra mile and explain the “context” and defend the liberal.

chuck said...

Get a grip, people. Snopes is clearly satire.

Bob Boyd said...

Fact checker Snopes today announced its intention to expand its vital services by offering an app for those who want very badly to be politically correct, but honestly don't know when to not laugh.

Robert Cook said...

I'd never heard of The Babylon Bee until I saw it mentioned on this blog in the last week or so. I just looked at its front page, and the headlines seem pretty amusing to me. They even take a dig at Snopes. Ha!

Hagar said...

"Fact checking" a satirical site makes no sense whether you think the site is funny or not - or any good in any other way - it does not claim to be anything but fiction so how do you check it for "factual content"?.

AA is just off on another of her quirky emotional reactions.

John henry said...

I can't find it now but I saw an article the other day that Babylon Bee's lawyers had send a bark letter to Snopes warning that they would sue if

1) Snopes didn't back off on calling BB fake news

2) Apologize for doing it

OTOH, it is the Babylon Bee so it may be satire... or is it?

John Henry

Ken B said...

Shawn
I preferred it when it was 98% Glenn.
I just ignore the Hoyt posts now, having learned the hard way her click bait is usually pointless, and most of the Driscoll ones. Bernstein is an asset though. So is Heriot.
But BB can be funny.

iqvoice said...

The Babylon Bee is the level of humor I'd expect in a middle-school humor zine.

The Bee makes jokes about Calvinism, Amyraldism, predestination, Unitarians... I doubt Althouse can even define these words, let alone get the joke.

Mike Sylwester said...

I attempted to fact-check that and I can't find anything other than an incident in 2018 for which Facebook apologized. Please provide a link or delete your comment.

Take the rest of the day off.

Come back to blogging when you feel better.

Fernandinande said...

[EDITOR'S NOTE: We have been notified by Snopes.com that this story is not true. After reviewing the evidence, we would like to retract it. Ocasio-Cortez did not actually appear on The Price Is Right and guess that everything is free. In fact, it appears that this entire story was completely made up. Everything else on our site is still true, however. We apologize for any confusion.]

Ken B said...

Hagar
Quirky is a kind word. One poster suggested that Snopes was trying to get BB blacklisted by the Facebook algorithm. An interesting suggestion I would say. Did you see AA's reaction? Quirky is not the word I would choose. Hectoring.

DimWhit said...

Is Snopes equal opportunity? Do they 'fact check' the Borowitz Report? For example:
'Pelosi Takes Advantage of Trump’s Storming Out of Oval Office to Hide Nuclear Codes'

Jamie said...

Ordinarily I eschew criticisms of my host, wherever I am...

Nope, nope, I'm going to stick to that here and simply note that some people find Woody Allen hilarious and I just don't get why, for example. But... okay, this much criticism: when you use a pejorative like "middle school zine" to cut down someone else's taste, it doesn't necessarily come off as well-reasoned; in fact, I reworded my example above twice to avoid doing the same thing. Humor is subjective. Some people think "The Aristocrats"is high humor; some people cringe. Of course, it is our host's prerogative to present her opinion as superior on her own blog.

But if AA is trying to say that Snopes is doing their job by fact-checking acknowledged satire, then I'm in the camp of the many commenters asking why they don't fact-check the Daily Show and Colbert satire pieces (generally humorous exaggeration of something that did happen, like the Bee) that I've heard friends repeat as straight news. (I can't provide a link, only my assurance that I have had this happen. It's like a game if telephone: maybe the first person, who knew the source was satire, relates the story to the second person, noting the source, and the second person relates it to the third, leaving the source out. Whatever.) Satire HAS to plant its feet in truth - otherwise it doesn't work.

Browndog said...

I think them problem is Ann Doesn't think Corporate Media INC is trying to de-platform conservatives from social media.

In fairness, she may not know.

Anonymous said...

This is a laughably stick-up-the-ass defense of Snopes.

Mike Sylwester said...

My explanation is that Althouse is cracking up because she now has realized for sure that Trump will be re-elected.

I think that Inga cracked up when she realized for sure that Robert "The FBI Whitewasher" Mueller would not be able to remove Trump from his elected office.

Two amazing temper tantrums.

John henry said...

So, yeah, we all have our version of some laughable, slightly disgusting perversion.

I have the good sense to keep mine to myself.


I hope you wash your hands before and after.

John Henry

Saint Croix said...

I don't see the problem with what it's doing.

What they're doing is evil and intentional.

The Babylon Bee ran a piece where CNN was buying industrial washing machines to launder the news.

Snopes ran an article labeling this as false.

Although it should have been obvious that the Babylon Bee piece was just a spoof of the ongoing political brouhaha over alleged news media “bias” and “fake news,” some readers missed that aspect of the article and interpreted it literally.

Bullshit. Bullshit on stilts. Nobody interpreted this literally. It makes no fucking sense to interpret it literally. So what the fuck?

Answer: articles deemed "false" by Snopes stand to lose 80% of their distribution on Facebook.

Facebook had to apologize for censoring the Babylon Bee.

Snopes isn't just humorless and stupid. They are dishonest and are operating in bad faith.

Ray - SoCal said...

Baylonbee hired legal representation due to the fake news issue:
https://www.redstate.com/kiradavis/2019/07/30/not-funny-babylon-bee-hires-legal-representation-defend-snopes-libel/

https://mailchi.mp/babylonbee/reparations-for-everyone-83635

The challenge is demonetization by Fb etc.

Throttling of traffic hits the revenue.

And so much of this is opaque. Twitter is infamous for shadow banning.

And there is lots of automation, relying on snopes as a trusted source.

Howard said...

Notice how a debunker site whom rat-holes right-leaning conspiracy tripe is criticized for debunking a right-wing onion because many people often believe it's true? It seems that Snopes is just filling a hole here, which is their primary source of filthy lucre. This is exactly the consequence of a free market. Live it or Leave it

iqvoice said...

Re: Jamie
But if AA is trying to say that Snopes is doing their job by fact-checking acknowledged satire, then I'm in the camp of the many commenters asking why they don't fact-check the Daily Show and Colbert satire pieces that I've heard friends repeat as straight news.

Amen! I've had this exact conversation before:

Perosn: "Sarah Palin is so stupid, I could never vote for her."
Me: "Why is she stupid?"
Person: "She said she could see Russia from her backyard, what an idiot!"
Me: "She never said that, you are making life decisions based on a comedy routine from SNL."

I just searched snopes for "sarah palin can see russia from her backyard". Zero results. No debunking. No questions about whether SNL is muddying the waters or is fake news.

traditionalguy said...

That's funny.

Francisco D said...

Althouse,

If you truly believed in multiculturalism, you would try harder to appreciate the sense of humor that religious people have. You don't have to like it, just understand it a little better.

To loathe the Babylon Bee seems pretty severe. If Trump said that about Baltimore, he would definitely be impeached.

richlb said...

Althouse is wrong here because she’s missing two points in all of this.



A) Snopes is targeting Babylon Bee and treating their satire differently than The Onion. Yes, they fact check The Onion from time to time, but mostly from a jovial point of view that, yes, we ALL know this is comedy but let’s just fun around and see what’s going on. The Bee is almost being shamed for performing satire that Snopes doesn’t approve of. Snopes wants to be a “fact-checker,” but they are not the arbiter of comedy.

B) What the Bee is satirizing is that the ACTUAL INCIDENT WAS A HOAX! If the original news story was true and a guy at a grocery store had told her to “go back where she came from” it would be an odd attempt at comedy on the Bee’s part. But the comedy is derived from the fact that the actual incident was a lie, a hoax, an un-truth. In that way, the satire is squarely placed at the politician who cries “racist” at every chance they get.



Lastly, Babylon Bee might not be your cup of tea, and most of their stuff with a Christian angle goes over my head (and I’m a serious Christian) but they do nail the comedy news angle frequently and are as funny as The Onion on any given day.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Mike @ 8:37

That. A thousands times that.

Nonapod said...

It shouldn't need to be said, (but apparently it does) "Fact Checking" a satire site is stupid. Doing it over and over again is outright idiotic. Therefore, Snope's is idoitic.

Is the Babylon Bee funny? I'd be lying if I didn't admit to finding a few a their headlines amusing. But I personally find it sort of hit or miss. It's writing is a little weak at times and it suffers from a similar problem The Onion sometimes does, in that more often than not, the 'Joke' is the headline and the rest of the "article" is uninteresting/unfunny filler. Looking at what's currently on the front page of the Bee we have:

"Gideons Annouce Daring Plan to Sneak Bibles into Progressive Churches" - An inside Christian joke. As a secular person who is surrounded by a lot of devote Christians daily, I totally "get" the joke, but don't personally find it super funny.

"Snopes Issues Pre-Approval of All Statements Made During Tonight's Debate" - A zinger at Snopes that's well deserved. It's maybe worth a chuckle.

"Nation Torn Between Watching Democratic Debates, Sticking Face In Blender" Pretty funny, but the writing here is a little weak, IMO. They could have used an even more silly alternative than "Sticking Face In Blender", like "Sticking Face In a Hive of Africanized Bees" or "Shaving Heads with a Cheese Grater While Chewing on Tinfoil" (That line's actually from Cheers)

F said...

Satire is supposed to be pointing out the absurdity found in the powerful or those who claim superior knowledge. This goes all the way back to Aristophanes and his satire of Socrates in his play “The Birds”. Satire is a sophisticated form of humor because it presupposes the audience already knows something about the subject. Good satire should make the audience think “wait a minute, did Socrates actually say THAT?”. Fact checking satire is wrong, it is a logical error. If you want to critique a satire on artistic grounds, go ahead. But fact-checking satire is like fact-checking a dramatic tragedy (like Romeo & Juliet), you just look stupid for saying “None of this actually happened!”

James K said...

“That is an unusual form of fact-checking, but it is real fact-checking.“

A preposterous assertion. It is just critiquing the humor. There are no facts being asserted. And as has been pointed out, while Snopes is cited as objective and is used by Facebook to filter fake news, it never to my knowledge has offered similar critiques of dozens of prominent left wing comics like Colbert, Meyers, Samantha Bee, SNl, etc.

gahrie said...

(T)he Babylon Bee is the level of humor I'd expect in a middle-school humor zine.


You might call it deplorable.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Saint Croix @ 9:12 - X!

Snopes isn't just humorless and stupid. They are dishonest and are operating in bad faith.

The collective leftwing mega-corporations work together with the D-party --the party of THE STATE.

Jamie said...

iqvoice, thanks for the Palin example - I'd forgotten it, but that is definitely one that friends repeated to me as well.

The problem is that Snopes can still be useful when you hear something unbelievable online - but because they've diluted their own brand so much by getting into the "rhetoric-checking" and "satire-checking" biz, you just can't count on learning anything about the item in question any more.

Well, no, that's not the ONLY problem.

Big Mike said...

I really do think you are wrong there.

@Althouse, did you write that because of your bigotry (way to strong to use the less intense term “bias”) or because you carefully collected facts and analyzed them in the ensemble?

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

AA is just off on another of her quirky emotional reactions.

Toxic femininity.

Drago said...

Shawn: "I'm in a similar relationship with Instapundit. The gradual increase in culture war stuff in Instapundit content is my pet peeve."

Politics is downstream of culture.

Instapundit content reflects that reality.

GingerBeer said...

Given that Snopes hasn't bothered to"fact-checked" this BB piece, I must conclude it's true. "CDC: People With Dirt On Clintons Have 843% Greater Risk Of Suicide"

https://babylonbee.com/news/cdc-people-dirt-clintons-843-greater-risk-suicide

Nonapod said...

It's writing is a little weak

I mean "Its"

Man, I always do that. Apparently my grammer is a little weak.

Mike Sylwester said...

Saint Croix at 8:12 AM
articles deemed "false" by Snopes stand to lose 80% of their distribution on Facebook.

That does not bother Althouse.

Laslo Spatula said...

Althouse doesn't know much about the Social Media Masters de-platforming and demonetizing right-leaning sites because she has never read those sites -- they do not exist in her world, and she assumes they wear short skirts and are asking for it.

Meanwhile, they are also banning feminists who do not believe a man who identifies as a woman is the same as a woman born a woman. Because that is considered right-wing too, now, even if an ardent liberal feminist is saying it.

No one expects the Google Inquisition.

I am Laslo.

John henry said...

Kevin,

Thanks for reminding me of Duffle Blog. It used to be in my bookmarks but fell off a few years ago.

I just put it back.

In the NIOT e-mail list I once posted a piece from them about the Coast Guard. No idea what is was about now but I do remember that it referred to Coasties as "A bunch of jumped up puddle pirates"

One of the members of the group, a retired Coastie, thought it was a real story and wrote a fairly long and irate note about how they had maligned the CG and, besides, gotten a lot of stuff wrong.

I had even posted a link to DuffleBlog and he went and read it, commented that they generally didn't know what they were talking about with the military.

He never realized that it was a satire site. He thought it just poorly written military news. He particularly took offense at being called a "puddle pirate"

So naturally, we used the phrase from time to time in discussions.

John Henry

D.D. Driver said...

Set aside the chicken's motivations, I would like to point out that there is ZERO evidence that the chicken ever crossed the road. But when we repeat this lie in the form of "humor," people naturally conclude that the chicken must have done *something*. I wish some one would at long last, correct the record. #NotANYChickens

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I didn't know Instapundit went to a group blog format. I stopped reading him years ago. I found him to be creepy. Too many photos of young brunettes and other creepy stuff I don't remember now.

To me, he was just weird.

Jamie said...

Gahrie - "(T)he Babylon Bee is the level of humor I'd expect in a middle-school humor zine.


You might call it deplorable."

You forgot the "Shorter Jamie." (Eye roll at self)

Marcus Bressler said...

Like most satire sites, BB can be hit or miss. The Hostess thinks they are almost never funny. I think they are usually funny and spot on. No surprise there.

Now that two commenters have given links to why Snopes "fact-checking" BB is NOT harmless, are you going to DELETE your post demanding deletion? Or are you going to apologize? Probably not.

Question: Were you shaking your fist at the sky when you blogged this?

THEOLDMAN

How about MAD? Did Snopes ever "fact check" MAD?

buwaya said...

Er, the point is that Facebook did once deplatform BB, and Snopes is trying to give Facebook cover (a plausible reason) to do so again. Facebook has form here. They have removed numerous right wing satirical meme-mongers for no better reason.

What has protected BB so far is its relatively higher profile.

Roughcoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roughcoat said...

Althouse is in full Lady Commissar mode this morning.

Crimso said...

I'm still trying to figure out whether Georgia did in fact add a middle finger and a swastika to its state flag. Help me Snopes! You're my only hope!

Darrell said...

Althouse likes her humor like she likes her coffee.
Served up by a Lefty.

John henry said...


"Gideons Annouce Daring Plan to Sneak Bibles into Progressive Churches"


I saw that, Nonopod and it did not make sense to me. Perhaps that is because I go to a church where everyone brings their own Bible and Hymnal every Sabbath.

I am never without my Bible and Hymnal these days. Both are on my phone.

Don't really need a hymnal anyway since we have 2 big TV screens beside the altar on which they teleprompt the hymn.

ST, a question for you as a church musician: When I sing from the screen, I am looking up and my head is tilted back slightly.

When I sing from a hymnal, my head is tilted down. It occurs to me that this may affect the quality of the congregation's singing.

Probably nothing could affect the quality of my singing. It is not good though it is joyful and that is the important thing.

Any thoughts?

John Henry

Otto said...

" I did not grow up as an Evangelical Christian" You bet your arse you didn't , especially when playboy magazine was a regular staple in your house growing up. And now look at you a fully mature atheist.
Ann is a typical product of what I call a wispy WASP family upbringing, that's why I said in an earlier post the WASP was dead by 1960.

BarrySanders20 said...

"There is ZERO evidence that the chicken ever crossed the road."

Chickens are never funny. Except for Peg, the one-legged hen on my brother's farm. She's funny.

traditionalguy said...

I agree with the Professor that BB stuff is so crazy it seems to possibly be true news from today's Fake News purveyors and Intellectuals, that are actually far crazier.

That's like tripping a speed reader. Which may also be funny.

Ben said...

The issue for Snopes and why the Bee is so upset is that Facebook uses Snopes as part of their Fake News whatever, so if Snopes says something is bad/wrong, then Facebook will punish the site and or deplatform them.

Snopes by itself is no biggie, but when a leftist site is used to hurt others, we have a problem.

John henry said...

Blogger GingerBeer said...

Given that Snopes hasn't bothered to"fact-checked" this BB piece, I must conclude it's true. "CDC: People With Dirt On Clintons Have 843% Greater Risk Of Suicide"


I question that statement and don't think it is true.

It is not 843%. It is more like 650%.

John Henry

DarkHelmet said...

I've chuckled at almost everything Reynolds has linked from Babylon Bee. Haven't gone to the site itself. Have also never gone to Snopes. Why should I trust them any more than I should trust Glenn Kessler?

We all need to face the fact that in life there are not 'layers and layers of fact checkers.' Not in the old media. Not on the web. Not in Washington D.C. Not anywhere. Truth is ever elusive.

The great service rendered by outfits like the Bee and the Onion is to make people stop and think, "Wait, is this true? Or a an opinion? Or a lie? Or a joke?"

Which is what we need to do every time we attempt to consume 'news.' Apply a very stringent skepticism filter to everything.

BarrySanders20 said...

So I said to my wife with the wooden leg,
"Peg? What's eaten at ya?"
"Termites," she said, "But I can't kick."

Fact Check: OK. I dont really have a wife named Peg with a wooden leg, and she doesn't have termites either. And this little ditty isn't really all that funny but it makes me laugh anyway.

Michael K said...

Snopes is targeting Babylon Bee and treating their satire differently than The Onion.

"The Onion" was bought by a Hillary donor and immediately went dullsville.

Drago said...

Shorter Althouse: Why can't those BB kids just do "funny" stories like Trump and Putin cavorting about without shirts as well as showing Trump decapitated, like all Ministry of Humor approved comics do?

All of this making fun of democrats and leftists and liberals is, well, rather unseemly now, isn't it. Not cricket, so to speak.

Nonapod said...

I saw that, Nonopod and it did not make sense to me. Perhaps that is because I go to a church where everyone brings their own Bible and Hymnal every Sabbath.

The joke is the "Progressive Churches" part, referring to Churches that focus on various progressive ideals, like environmentalism, social justice, and conduct same sex marriages.

Beasts of England said...

When I view Babylon Bee on my phone, the banner reads 'Fake news you can trust...'

And Snopes is fact checking them? Free advice for the Snopers: the Bee also buy pixels by the barrel.

NCMoss said...

Didn't Democrats used to be the champions of free speech?

AllenS said...

The Babylon Bee is funny.

Ficta said...

There's a lot of noise in this thread, but I have to chime in that Snopes' recent behavior towards TBB is very disturbing. In their "fact check" of the Chik-Fil-A article, they make multiple clear insinuations that TBB is not merely engaging in satire but is really trying to create fake news to slip past Facebook and company's defenses. They're laying the groundwork; building a plausible case for the social media companies to ban political satire from the wrong side. It's subtle and insidious. As always, freedom of speech requires constant vigilance.

Roughcoat said...

Headline:

"Snopes fact-checks Three Stooges, finds getting hit on had with giant mallet causes brain damage."

Too "teen zine"?

mccullough said...

Trump is funny. Everyone else is just noise

Laslo Spatula said...

"First, let me disclose my bias. I loathe The Babylon Bee."

I find the verb choice here interesting.

Not finding it funny? I get that.

But "loathe"? That's several freeway exits past 'not funny'.

How does one get to 'loathing' about a humor website? What is evincing such a visceral reaction about this particular site that isn't aroused by the other countless 'not-funny' sites on the internet?

My guess is that Althouse sees this as the 'Breitbart' of humor.

As opposed to David Sedaris, who is the New York Times of humor.

Except I believe that Sedaris is actually clever satire of the educated and unthreatening white gay male, with a dollop of anti-deplorable narcissism that educated older white women with a dollop of anti-deplorable narcissism like -- kinda a new Richard Simmons, without the exercise routines, and if Richard Simmons REALLY liked 'The New Yorker'.

I am Laslo.

Rick said...

Snopes tries to protect Omar by slighting the facts to imply she isn't anti-Semitic. It's perfectly fine highlight their propaganda effort and use it not only to reinforce Omar's anti-Semitism but also delegitimize Snopes.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

This is kind of old-school Althousian inside baseball, but: remember when Althouse kept flogging the idea of recording a CD of her reading Titus' comments about the various kinds of turds he crapped out? Now that's HUMOR, guys! Learn to recognize it!

Richard Dolan said...

Different strokes, etc. Many found Lenny Bruce's shtick loathesome too, but so what. It's not the criticism of the Bee that is bothersome but the effort to deplatform it that rankles, accepting arguendo that's what the writers at Snopes are trying to do. There's already enough evidence of a concerted effort in the deplatforming direction by the SJWs running Google, Twitter, YouTube, etc., to make credible (at least at first blush) a similar accusation against the powers-that-be at Snopes.

Funny that AA would defend Snopes by quoting the sort of thing she would normally fisk: "In this case, the website’s intent was ...." Does the website have hunger pangs, too? Or are there special chapters in the DSM showing how to divine intent here? If it's a publication focused on satire, isn't it enough just to say that the folks writing for it know their audience and pitch the humor accordingly, just as Lenny B did back in the day?

Robert Cook said...

"Snopes tries to protect Omar by slighting the facts to imply she isn't anti-Semitic. It's perfectly fine highlight their propaganda effort and use it not only to reinforce Omar's anti-Semitism but also delegitimize Snopes."

What indicates to you that she is anti-semitic?

Drago said...

Beasts of England: "And Snopes is fact checking them? Free advice for the Snopers: the Bee also buy pixels by the barrel."

Not if Althouse and the left have their way......

mccullough said...

She’s Muslim.

Howard said...

Blogger Drago said...

Shorter Althouse: Why can't those BB kids just do "funny" stories ...
All of this making fun of democrats and leftists and liberals is, well, rather unseemly now, isn't it. Not cricket, so to speak.


My take is that Mom's take is Blue Balls or whatever the rightwinger onion is called needs to be Better, more funny. It just seems unprofessional and weak to me. IMHO, they should be channeling Bill Barr not Rosie O'donnell.

Lars Porsena said...

"First, let me disclose my bias. I loathe The Babylon Bee."

Our blogress is suffering from osteoporosis of the funny bone.

mccullough said...

Seems like good publicity for the Babylon Bee and Snopes.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

That gibe aside: I appreciate Althouse's willingness to own the fact that she despises a lot of common and harmless and otherwise largely popular things (men in shorts, indoor heated spaces in winter, other things I'm too lazy to think up at the moment). I despise random weird things (superhero movies, tattoos, smoking of any kind, essential oils, MLMs, colored hair, the CBD fad, the Dallas Cowboys and visible support of same, dually trucks, begonias-I could go on for quite sometime) but have no socially acceptable outlet to express my loathing of those thing so just have to continue being Home Simpson, Smiling Politely.

Drago said...

Howard: "My take is that Mom's take is Blue Balls or whatever the rightwinger onion is called needs to be Better, more funny."

LOL

Yeah, that's it alright.

Althouse wants the BB to be "funnier" in its skewering of the liberals.

Yeah, that's the ticket!

Talk about satire....

Sebastian said...

"It's not just this inference that something underlies satire, but that headlines get decontextualized in in social media."

That's terrible! No, worse: it's so sad! I can't believe the Babylon Bee would infer something underlying something and decontextualize headlines!

Roughcoat said...

David Sedaris: Unfunny humorist.

Howard said...

you had me at Cowboys

purplepenquin said...

I just searched snopes for "sarah palin can see russia from her backyard". Zero results

Is that some more of that "satire" that folks keep talking about? 'cause a quick google-search shows that Snopes actually did cover that

mccullough said...

Sedaris is funny in a New Yorker kind of way.

Lawrence Person said...

I'm just here for the ratio.

Also, The Babylon Bee strikes back: "Snopes Issues Pre-Approval Of All Statements Made During Tonight's Democratic Debate."

Roughcoat said...

Quayle is funny. A lot of you are funny today. I'm really enjoying this thread. Thanks, Althouse!

I Callahan said...

Notice how a debunker site whom rat-holes right-leaning conspiracy tripe is criticized for debunking a right-wing onion because many people often believe it's true?

Except that's not what they bill themselves. They bill themselves as a generic site that debunks or verifies statements in general.

Amadeus 48 said...

I want Snopes to fact-check whether Howard is really "Inga", and whether both of them are actually a couple of Uzbeks in a shack outside Jizzax.

I also want Snopes to check out what happened to Althouse's sense of humor. Did it go the way of her sense of smell?

The truth will out!

mccullough said...

Marianne Williamson is funny.

jeremyabrams said...

I hope Anne amends the post to add the obvious point that if Snopes review is called for with the BB, where is the inquiry into the Daily Show and SNL? The answer is obvious - no satire should be fact-checked.

I can't believe this even needs to be said.

Antiantifa said...

Ben said, "The issue for Snopes and why the Bee is so upset is that Facebook uses Snopes as part of their Fake News whatever, so if Snopes says something is bad/wrong, then Facebook will punish the site and or deplatform them."

That is exactly it. Fact checking in itself is fine. I have no gripes with the Althousian logic of this post. Spot on, as usual. But there is a real negative economic consequence from being deplatformed by FaceBook. Hence, the problem is not really with Snopes, but with FaceBook.

Relying on Snopes and the Washington Post to fact check and deplatform gives an implicit bias to progresives, because progressives are so often given a free pass when they lie. Remember when the Washington Post gave HRC no Pinocchios for saying she never emailed classified material on her home server even after it was proved she had, because the investigation was still pending? Or when no Pinocchios were given to Democratic candidates for underestimating Medicare for All costs because it was political? Can you imagine Trump being given that kind of leeway? I can't.

~ Gordon Pasha said...

Waiting for criticism of Eye of the Tiber and Duffleblog from our hostess.

Roughcoat said...

Sedaris is funny in a New Yorker kind of way.

That's funny!

Lawrence Person said...

"I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I despise random weird things (superhero movies, tattoos, smoking of any kind, essential oils,"

Essential oils? You're going to find it hard to make it through the first few years of the Williamson presidency...

mccullough said...

How many people read Snopes?

Facebook is for middle-school adults

mccullough said...

I thought the Onion went out of business because they can’t keep up with Trump.

Darrell said...

Sedaris is funny in a New Yorker kind of way.

Where every punchline can be made better by changing it to "I'm thinking of killing myself."

MikeR said...

My kids and I all enjoy Babylon Bee.
And I don't know if something is wrong with what Snopes is doing, but they are ruining their brand. They should not be fact-checking the Onion, nor Babylon Bee. If they want, they could put out simple one-line responses: "Did ___ happen? That was on the Onion; the Onion is a satire site."

Howard said...

Blogger Drago said... Althouse wants the BB to be "funnier" in its skewering of the liberals. Yeah, that's the ticket! Talk about satire....

Ann can clarify, but she often likes to stand moot. If they were more funnier, they would have greater influence on the miasma in the middle.

It's almost like you don't realize that your side is dropping the ball. Up your game, this is a free market target rich environment. Winning through better right-wing leaning comedians will tilt the popular media floor.

I think the results would be positive because the liberals need to be sequestered some to prevent unicorn idolatry.

Rick said...

What indicates to you that she is anti-semitic?

Her support for BDS, her claim Americans who support Israel do so from loyalty to it rather than America, her support for terrorism supporting groups.

We've already had this discussion which shows how little facts interfere with the fantasy world you live in.

bagoh20 said...

Of course they are trying to get the Bee shut out of social media. That's the entire point of Snopes efforts here. I think Althouse misses a key point in this. A site having a left wing bias is not the same as having a right wing one. Right wing sites don't try to get you banned and shut up, and they couldn't if they wanted, because all these entities that will shut you down are left wing, and they are just waiting for someone like Snopes to give them cover to do it, which Snopes of course understands and happily provides them.

Free speech, including humor, is under existential threat, and the Right cannot do much about that if liberals like Althouse, don't see it and make a strong effort to fight back. Don't fall asleep on your turn at watch. Look around at how much free speech we have already lost: professors fired, speakers banned, criticism mislabeled as racism on a daily basis. It's already happening, and we are already losing valuable rights including the right to think, question, offer alternative views, and even to laugh.

Bob Smith said...

But for real satire there’s only one good source. The Daily Mash.

https://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/new-monopoly-baby-boomer-edition-has-a-free-house-on-every-square-20190731187853

purplepenquin said...

I hope Anne amends the post to add the obvious point that if Snopes review is called for with the BB, where is the inquiry into the Daily Show and SNL?

When Daily Show and SNL skits get passed along as "real news" (ie - Palin seeing Russia from her backyard) then they do review it.

The problem is that so many people, intentionally or accidentally, are passing along the Bee's stories as actual quotes from the folks they satire. If a lotta people were also linking to clips of Alex Baldwin on SNL and saying "See what Trump said!" then Snopes would be addressing that as well.

Molly said...

(eaglebeak)

Perhaps the problem is a lack of context to get the Babylon Bee? Its not shriekingly funny, but it's funny enough, as Obama might say.

I find Snopes dishonest, but I thought that long before the current pother (not a typo).

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