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Meme Falsely Claims We ‘Exposed’ Snopes.com


Q: Did FactCheck.org expose Snopes.com as an “extremely liberal propaganda site”?

A: No. That false claim was made in a meme circulating online.

FULL QUESTION

A Facebook post states that your org found that snopes was biased in favor of liberal points of view and untrustworthy. Is that true? Did you make this claim and if so, what is that claim based upon?

FULL ANSWER

In 2009, we addressed Snopes.com’s alleged political bias and wrote that we found the website’s work to be “solid and well-documented,” and that its articles appeared “utterly poker-faced” when tackling rumors about Democratic and Republican politicians.

We also noted at the time: “We even link to Snopes.com when it’s appropriate rather than reinvent the wheel ourselves, which we consider high praise.”

At no point did we ever “expose” the myth-busting website as “an extremely liberal propaganda site with an agenda to discredit anything that appears to be conservative.”

That false claim was made in a meme that began circulating on Facebook and other platforms in February. Several of our readers have asked us about it.

The meme says that Snopes.com has been “busted” as a “100% fake fact-checking site,” and that the Democratic National Committee and hedge fund billionaire George Soros have been “exposed” as its “clients.” It also features two photos purportedly showing the “Snopes CEO” meeting with Soros, who has long supported Democratic candidates and causes.

But David Mikkelson, the founder and executive editor of Snopes.com, is not in either photo. One shows Soros shaking hands with Gordon Bajnai, an economist and former prime minister of Hungary from 2009 to 2010, and the other photo shows Soros with Andrew Baron, the son of the late trial lawyer and Democratic fundraiser Fred Baron.

The meme also falsely claims that “Snopes has no employees,” when it actually has 10 editors and writers, according to its staff page. The website has posted its sources of funding online as well, and there is no mention of the DNC or Soros.

The otherwise bogus meme managed to get one thing right, though.

Snopes.com is one of several organizations working with Facebook to help identify and label false stories flagged by readers on the social media network.

FactCheck.org is participating in the same fact-checking initiative.

Sources

Novak, Viveca. “Snopes.com.” FactCheck.org. 10 Apr 2009.

Binkowski, Brooke. “Was Snopes.com ‘BUSTED’ for Our CEO’s Ties to George Soros?” Snopes.com. 17 Feb 2018.

Transparency: Ownership and Revenue.” Snopes.com. Accessed 6 Mar 2018.

Snopes.com Staff.” Snopes.com. Accessed 6 Mar 2018.

Soros in NY Bajnai.JPG.” Photo. Wikimedia Commons. 9 Oct 2009.

Baron, Andrew. “George Soros and Andrew Baron.” Photo. Flickr.com. 24 May 2006.

Baron, Andrew. “Dad and Alessandra.” Photo. Flickr.com. 25 Dec 2006.

Fred Baron, 61; Asbestos-Fighting Lawyer, Political Operative.” Washington Post. 1 Nov 2008.

Dean, Michelle. “Snopes and the Search for Facts in a Post-Fact World.” Wired.com. 20 Sep 2017.

Vogel, Kenneth. “George Soros rises again.” Politico. 27 Jul 2016.

FactCheck.org to Work With Facebook on Exposing Viral Fake News.” Annenberg Public Policy Center. 15 Dec 2016.