Don’t Like Facts? Attack the Fact-Checkers

Yesterday, I received a forwarded e-mail from a relative with the subject Snopes no more. Immediately, I had a flashback to a Facebook conversation I witnessed and posted to Reddit a few weeks ago:

“One must beware of Snopes however, they are a very liberal group and don’t always tell the truth about the incorrectness of some jab at liberals.”

My first thought upon reading that comment was a quote from Stephen Colbert:

Whether or not you agree with the liberal bias of reality, people who use Snopes for political reasons don’t base their political views about it – we use it to fact-check specific stories. Arguing with birther claims, for example, doesn’t mean you support all of the President’s policies… just that you aren’t going to stoop to lies to make your point.

Anyway, back to the e-mail I received:

SNOPES NO MORE

Wow…read this one! Then check out the suggested web sites!!!

Many of the emails sent or forwarded that had any anti Obama in it were negated by Snopes. I thought that was odd. Check this out.

Snopes, Soros and the Supreme Court’s Kagan. Well now, I guess the time has come to check out Snopes! Ya'[sic] don’t suppose it might not be a good time to take a second look at some of the stuff that got kicked in the ditch by Snopes, do ya'[sic]?

We’ve known that it was owned by a lefty couple but hadn’t known it to be financed by Soros!

Snopes is heavily financed by George Soros, a big time supporter of Obama! In our Search for the truth department, we find what I have suspected on many occasions.

No evidence is offered for the claim that Snopes is financed by George Soros. But I think it stands to reason that if Soros was funding even a tiny fraction of the site, it wouldn’t be so ad heavy. And what is a Search for the truth department?

In any case, without evidence for a claim, it’s probably better not to accept it.

I went to Snopes to check something about the dockets of the new Supreme Court Justice. Elena Kagan, who Obama appointed, and Snopes said the email was false and there were no such dockets. So I Googled the Supreme Court, typed in Obama-Kagan, and guess what? Yep, you got it; Snopes Lied! Everyone of those dockets are there.

No specifics are offered on what Snopes article is being “debunked” here. A Snopes search for Kagan yields three results: one is an incorrectly attributed opinion column (unrelated), one is where she’s mentioned in a story about a Chinese restaurant thanking Jewish people for eating there on Christmas (also unrelated), and so, presumably, the article in question is called Kangaroo Court, and debunks the claim that Elena Kagan represented President Obama in nine cases concerning his eligibility for president (a.k.a. birther claims).

So Here is what I wrote to Snopes:
Referencing the article about Elana Kagan and Barak Obama dockets:
The information you have posted stating that there were no such cases as claimed and the examples you gave are blatantly false. I went directly to the Supreme Courts website, typed in Obama-Kagan and immediately came up with all of the dockets that the article made reference to. I have long suspected that you really slant things but this was really shocking. Thank You. I hope you will be much more truthful in the future, but I doubt it.

That being said, I’ll bet you didn’t know this. Kagan was representing Obama in all the petitions to prove his citizenship. Now she may help rule on them. Folks, this is really ugly. Chicago Politics and the beat goes on and on and on. Once again the US Senate sold us out!

Now we know why Obama nominated Elana Kagan for the Supreme Court. Pull up the Supreme Courts website, go to the docket and search for Obama. She was the Solicitor General for all the suits against him filed with the Supreme Court to show proof of natural born citizenship. He owed her big time. All of the requests were denied of course. They were never heard. It just keeps getting deeper and deeper, doesn’t it? The American people mean nothing any longer.

It’s all about payback time for those who compromised themselves to elect someone who really has no true right to even be there.

Here are some websites of the Supreme Court Docket: You can look up some of these hearings and guess what? Elana Kagan is the attorney representing Obama!

Check out these examples: http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docketfiles/09-8857.htm

http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docketfiles/09-6790..htm

These links are to cases unrelated to eligibility to the presidency. As Solicitor General, Kagan would be representing the White House. That’s part of the job.

Snopes itself has responded to the e-mail claims, though, and other blogs have also taken it on, so I’m not going to spend any more time on the assertions.

What’s disturbing here is the tendency to attack sources (or resources) that present facts when the facts seem to contradict a belief. Snopes is not a primary source, but a resource that investigates claims and compares them with the information available from reliable sources. It’s not flawless, any more than Wikipedia (another resource unfairly attacked by people who see it used as a source), but it’s a quick shortcut for those who don’t necessarily have the time to hunt down claims for themselves.

When your beliefs are based in presupposition, rather than evidence, you start to see contradictions as malicious, or lies. To call out Snopes as “liars” follows naturally from this, but a dangerous effect is that it neutralizes any attempt to set someone straight on future claims. If you want to correct someone’s claim, you are suddenly tasked with doing a bunch of primary research that has already been done, because the person making the claim is going to write off the people who have already done it.

Suppose that Snopes had been wrong about the Kagan claim. When “Snopes lies” is coupled with “Snopes is funded by George Soros”, both claims are going to be accepted even though there is no evidence for the latter.

The trend is making its way into the higher profile, with congressmen making comments like “I don’t care what Fact Check says“.

Einstein is rumored to have facetiously said “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” But I think a more telling quote here is from John Maynard Keynes: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

But that’s Keynes… and if you disagree with him, he must be a liar. Right?

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