This week has been a great one for our favorite Socialist Socialite, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. After accusing Senator Ted Cruz of attempted murder in a tweet where the two agreed on the recent Robinhood controversy, she came out this week and told her story about what happened on January 6th.
To put it mildly, I’ve seen less melodrama in a telenovela than in her story. And, as expected, Leftists ran with it, even if the facts didn’t exactly match up with her version of events. After people attempted to correct the record, fact-checking website Snopes got involved and came out looking like one of AOC’s social media team by ruling the fact checks that undermined her story “misleading.”
I know we’ve covered fact checking before on the Lexicon, but this week I want to delve deeper into Snopes to try to figure out how they operate.
What the Left thinks it means – a valuable fact-checking website that does its homework to expose lies
What it really means – a website that went from debunking urban legends to creating political ones
Snopes built its reputation for telling the truth by focusing on those stories we took as gospel, but may or may not have the ring of truth. You know, like the government actually spending within its means? For a while, this was good enough for the owners/creators of the site, but eventually it branched out into politics. Not surprising, given the creators happened to be prominent Democrat donors. Now, that wouldn’t matter to me if they stuck with urban legends, but once you cross the line into politics, those little details matter because they can taint the results of your fact checking.
Let’s just say Snopes has no concerns with it because they don’t care about whether their fact checks resemble factual information.
Take the AOC story, for example. Regardless of how you feel about the events of January 6th, it’s not far-fetched to say she could have felt she was in danger. Yet, the way she initially described it made it sound like she was at the Capitol when everything went sideways. That wasn’t the case, though. She was in a different building within a short walk of the Capitol and was evacuated before the protestors breached the building itself. Additionally, she said her fear was compound by a man yelling “Where is she?” That man happened to be a member of the Capitol Police trying to keep her safe and get her away from the potential danger.
Nowhere in that series of events was AOC in any actual danger, though. She can feel she was in fear for her life (which makes me wonder just how New York she really is), but the facts don’t back it up. And as Ben Shapiro has pointed out on a few occasions, facts don’t care about your feelings.
When presented with tweets explaining the logical inconsistencies, Snopes found the fact checks on AOC misleading because…she never said she was at the Capitol when things happened, which is true, but contradicted by her own story as she told it. It’s a question of literal versus figurative speech, which can also be subject to political biases. Case in point: President Donald Trump’s “very fine people on both sides” comment after Charlottesville. Even though the President clearly and unequivocally denounced the racists, the Left ran with the narrative he thought the racists were “very fine people.” The President literally explained himself, but it wasn’t convenient, so the Left went with what they said he meant to say. (Cue the dog whistles the Left keeps hearing, but few others outside of their circles can…which is an odd thing to consider if you really think about it.)
And how did Snopes rate Trump’s statement? A “mixture” because they felt he didn’t condemn white supremacists. Funny how a clear articulation gets treated as a mixture of truth and lies, but a clear implication AOC was at the Capitol Building gets treated differently.
That’s why fact checking, especially from Snopes, needs to be scrutinized and mocked mercilessly. I can count on the one hand of the world’s worst shop teacher the number of times Snopes has given Republicans the benefit of the doubt, but they will bend over like Cirque du Soleil when it’s a Democrat. No logic is too pretzel-like for Snopes if the ideology is right.
Even when the Democrat and Republican says the same thing using the same terminology. And, yes, this actually happened.
I have a rule of thumb when it comes to checking facts: if you have to equivocate to make something true, it ain’t true. The fact the preeminent fact checker can’t call balls and strikes should tell you everything you need to know about Snopes and its standards. Yet, Snopes keeps finding a way to limbo under their already low standards, as they have here.
Take their overwhelming focus on Republicans. The Left loves to point at the fact Snopes calls out more Republican lies than Democrat lies as proof the Left is more truthful. Now, consider the Snopes fact checking model. Naturally they’re going to find Republicans lie more because the site actively targets Republicans and giving half-butted explanations as to why while simultaneously giving Democrats a pass on even their most egregious lies. Under those parameters, it’s more likely that David Duke will win an NAACP Image Award than a Republican will get a fair shake, or an NAACP Image Award for that matter.
Even though Snopes has been in the fact checking game for a while, it’s clear they haven’t learned facts have no party affiliation. If a Democrat or a Republican tells a lie, it’s a lie. If somebody from “flyover country” gets it, why can’t Snopes?