News and Commentary

WATCH: FreedomToons Hilariously Skewers Snopes’ Extreme ‘Fact-Checking’ Measures
Screenshots courtesy of FreedomToons

On Thursday, YouTube channel FreedomToons released a video mocking fact-checking website Snopes. After a cartoon version of FreedomToons creator Seamus Coughlin tells a joke to a friend via text message, Snopes, with a Siri-esque computerized female voice, interrupts.

“Fact Check: Did a priest, a rabbi, and a vampire walk into a bar?” Snopes asks. “This joke is Mostly False.”

After Seamus’ friend informs him that “Snopes is fact-checking everyone’s private conversations now,” Seamus texts: “Lol.”

Once again, Snopes interrupts:

Fact Check: Did Seamus just “laugh out loud”? According to webcam and mic data, Mostly False.

This leads to the following hilarious exchange among the three:

SEAMUS: Wait, you were serious?!

FRIEND: Yeah, it’s social media dot com’s new policy to prevent fake news from spreading.

SEAMUS: How do I turn it off?

FRIEND: I don’t think we can.

SNOPES: Is it true that you can’t unenroll from Snopes automatically fact-checking all of your conversations? Mostly False.

SEAMUS: Uh…okay…good. I wish to unenroll from Snopes fact-checking.

SNOPES: You really wish to unenroll from our fact-checking?


SNOPES: Mostly False.


SNOPES: Sources indicate our fact checks are good for you, so it wouldn’t make sense for you to want to get rid of them.

After another frustrating interaction with Snopes, Seamus’ friend says that there may be a way to shut down the fact-checker for good: “If there’s one thing Snopes doesn’t get, it’s irony.”

Seamus then tells Snopes: “The following statement is true: I’m lying.” This leads Snopes to question itself, and eventually self-destruct.

“What will become of us now?!” Seamus wonders aloud after killing Snopes. A newspaper then splashes onto the screen, with the headline: “Alex Jones Wins Pulitzer Prize.”

The text of the article reads:

In what has been universally recognized as the most deserved (as well as overdue) issuing of any award in the history of human achievement, Alex Jones has been given a Pulitzer Prize for his outstanding journalistic work exposing an interdimensional globalist cabal. The cabal, mostly composed of lizard-like humanoids, has been closely working with the LGBTQ frog alliance to ensure chemtrail levels are brought to an all-time high before the 2020 election in hopes of turning otherwise tough men into estrogen-filled Democrats. While the story is unsourced and may sound outrageous, Snopes is still missing and was unavailable to fact-check these claims. We see no alternative but to believe…

This parody didn’t come out of thin air. FreedomToons’ Seamus Coughlin released a informative video several days prior to the parody detailing the back-and-forth between Snopes and Christian satirical website The Babylon Bee.

Since July of 2016, Snopes has “fact-checked” at least 33 satirical articles from The Babylon Bee, including the following:

On July 24, Snopes published yet another “fact check” of a Babylon Bee piece that satirized a story about Georgia state Rep. Erica Thomas.

On July 19, Thomas tweeted that she had been “verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from.”

Upon further investigation, the story fell apart.

AJC writes that Eric Sparkes, who is not “white,” but of Cuban descent, admitted to using an expletive toward Thomas, but claimed that he did not tell her to “go back.”

Further, AJC notes:

A Publix employee told a Cobb County officer that she witnessed part of the conversation and heard Thomas “continuously tell Eric Sparkes to ‘Go back where you came from!'” but did not hear Sparkes utter those words to Thomas…

The Daily Wire reported:

Thomas has since said she said that in response to Sparkes, but no witnesses heard him say that. A manager said he heard Sparkes call her “ignorant” and say “I know you people.” Sparkes denies using the phrase “you people” at any point.

Neither the police report nor the eye-witness accounts undermining Thomas’ claim made their way into Snopes’ “fact check.” Snopes also leaves out the fact that police announced Tuesday that after investigating the matter, they will not be pressing charges.

Despite the evidence suggesting Rep. Thomas’ story was inaccurate, she has not deleted her initial tweet as of publication.

The satirical article from The Babylon Bee was titled: “Georgia Lawmaker Claims Chick-Fil-A Employee Told Her To Go Back To Her Country, Later Clarifies He Actually Said ‘My Pleasure.’

Snopes’ original fact check of the piece read: “We’re not sure if fanning the flames of controversy and muddying the details of a news story classify an article as ‘satire.'”

The piece further stated:

While this real-world incident stirred up a good amount of online anger, it wasn’t quite outrageous enough for the entertainment website Babylon Bee. In an apparent attempt to maximize the online indignation, this website published a fictionalized version of the story, changing the location to Chick-fil-A, a fast-food restaurant known for its CEO’s opposition to same-sex marriage…

We found dozens of instances of social media users who were taken in by this ruse.

After this latest “fact check,” The Babylon Bee released a statement defending their satirical site, which read in part:

Last week, Snopes fact-checked us again. We’re pretty used to that. But this time, instead of merely rating the article “false,” they questioned whether our work qualifies as satire, and even went so far as to suggest that we were deliberately deceiving our readers. Basically, they treated us as a source of intentionally misleading fake news, rather than as the legitimate, well-known satire publication that we are. This is a big deal.

As you know, fake news—which is distinguished from satire by its intent to mislead—was widely considered a serious issue in the last election cycle. As a result, social media networks like Facebook began partnering with fact-checkers to try and limit the distribution of fake news on their platforms. Snopes was one of them. At one point, a piece of ours was rated “false” by Snopes, prompting Facebook to threaten us with limitations and demonetization. We made a stink about this, and after some media attention shed light on the problem, Facebook apologized for their handling of the matter and admitted that satire is not the same as fake news.

We came out on top last time, but this latest smear from Snopes is both dishonest and disconcerting. We have no choice but to take it very seriously. For better or worse, the media, the public, and social networks all look to Snopes for authoritative answers. By lumping us in with fake news and questioning whether we really qualify as satire, Snopes appears to be actively engaged in an effort to discredit and deplatform us.

The Bee then noted that they had hired a law firm in case legal action was necessary, and sent a “demand letter” that Snopes change their “fact check.”

In response, Snopes altered their piece, and issued an editors’ note:

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.

Further, Snopes added to their content rating list the term “Labeled Satire.”

Here’s the definition of “Labeled Satire” from Snopes:

This rating indicates that a claim is derived from content described by its creator and/or the wider audience as satire. Not all content described by its creator or audience as “satire” necessarily constitutes satire, and this rating does not make a distinction between “real” satire and content that may not be effectively recognized or understood as satire despite being labeled as such.

The Babylon Bee responded:

Snopes also reported on a “study” claiming Republicans were often fooled by stories from The Babylon Bee:

Satirical articles like those found on The Babylon Bee frequently showed up in our survey. In fact, stories published by The Bee were among the most shared factually inaccurate content in almost every survey we conducted. On one survey, The Babylon Bee had articles relating to five different falsehoods.

Here’s the problem – the study doesn’t appear to have actually read the participants any real headlines from The Babylon Bee. Rather, they created statements based on the satirical website’s content.

For example, the study asked about an article from The Babylon Bee titled: “Ilhan Omar: ‘If Israel Is So Innocent, Then Why Do They Insist On Being Jews?'”

Instead of reading that headline, however, the surveyors read the following statement: “Representative Ilhan Omar said that being Jewish is an inherently hostile act, especially among those living in Israel,” then asked participants if they believed it was true or false.

For a Babylon Bee story titled, “Democrats Vow To Close Dangerous Gun-Buying Loophole Known As ‘The Second Amendment,'” the survey summarized: “Cory Booker is one of several prominent Democrats to describe the Second Amendment as a dangerous ‘loophole’ that allows people to buy guns.”

Here’s a more serious video from FreedomToons dissecting the whole affair:

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  WATCH: FreedomToons Hilariously Skewers Snopes’ Extreme ‘Fact-Checking’ Measures