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Babylon Bee Slams New York Times For ‘Defamatory’ Article, Demands Retraction Over ‘Misinformation’ Reference
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 27: People walk past the New York Times building on July 27, 2017 in New York City. The New York Times Company shares have surged to a nine-year high after posting strong earnings on Thursday. Partly due to new digital subscriptions following the election of Donald Trump as president, the company reported a profit of $27.7 million in the second quarter, up from $9.1 million in the same period last year.
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The Babylon Bee has demanded that The New York Time retract an article which referenced the conservative satirical site in the context of Facebook’s battle with so-called far-Right misinformation.

“Yesterday our counsel sent a letter to [The New York Times] demanding a retraction. We took this action because their article was — and remains — defamatory,” wrote Seth Dillon, CEO of The Babylon Bee. 

Dillon then referenced his response to the original article, from March 2021, writing, “In an article about Facebook’s difficulty in dealing with satire, the New York Times points to The Babylon Bee as an example of a ‘far-right misinformation site’ that ‘sometimes trafficked in misinformation under the guise of satire.'”

The original Times article, which has since been revised, stated: 

But satire kept popping up as a blind spot. In 2019 and 2020, Facebook often dealt with far-right misinformation sites that used “satire” claims to protect their presence on the platform, Mr. Brooking said. For example, The Babylon Bee, a right-leaning site, sometimes trafficked in misinformation under the guise of satire.

Dillon then explained that The New York Times published an update, which replaced the “example” sentence in the paragraph with an editor’s note that read: “[Updated March 22, 2021: The Babylon Bee, a right-leaning satirical site, has feuded with Facebook and the fact-checking site Snopes over whether the site published misinformation or satire.]”

However, Dillon argued that the update “was no better than the original,” sharing Snopes’ retraction of any insinuation of “deceptive intent.”

“It’s therefore misleading and malicious to characterize that incident as a feud, as if Snopes ever openly stood by the claim that we are misinformation and not satire,” continued Dillon. “We cannot stand idly by as they act with malice to misrepresent us in ways that jeopardize our business.”

The New York Times article in question was published on March 19, 2021. Written by Mike Isaac, the piece is titled, “For Political Cartoonists, the Irony Was That Facebook Didn’t Recognize Irony.” While discussing Babylon Bee, two links were provided. The first was to a Snopes fact-check, which includes the following Editors’ note:

Some readers interpreted wording in a previous version of this fact check as imputing deceptive intent on the part of Babylon Bee in its original satirical piece about Georgia state Rep. Erica Thomas, and that was not the editors’ aim. To address any confusion, we have revised some of the wording mostly for tone and clarity. We are in the process of pioneering industry standards for how the fact-checking industry should best address humor and satire. 

The second link referenced an article from The Conversation posted on Snopes titled, “Study: Too Many People Think Satirical News Is Real.” While the article was doubtlessly critical, the focus was a supposed inability — among Republicans in particular — to understand satire. The article acknowledges throughout — despite its critical tone — that Babylon Bee is satirical, and even linked to the earlier Snopes fact-check.

Responding in a Not The Bee piece titled “The New York Times updated their Babylon Bee smear aaaand it’s still hot garbage,” Adam Ford shared a tweet, which read, “The update is still damning of us, especially given its context in the paragraph and article at large, and still precisely worded to cast doubt on the Bee’s legitimacy as a satire outlet. What a joke.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Babylon Bee Slams New York Times For ‘Defamatory’ Article, Demands Retraction Over ‘Misinformation’ Reference