Why you Shouldn’t Trust Snopes for Political “Fact Checking”
Snopes is actually a pretty good at disproving “outlandish urban legends”, but when they deal with political ‘fact checking’ their bias is blatant. The couple behind Snopes, David and Barbara Mikkelson, readily admit that their “fact checking” is “only as reliable as the sources they cite, and they invite readers to look for the truth themselves.” They go on to say, “We don’t expect anyone to accept us as the ultimate authority on any topic.” The couple recruited a specialist to handle their political “fact checking” and as a result we’re seeing more and more political bias creeping into Snopes.
Snopes’ sole political fact-checker, Kim Lacapria, “describes herself as a liberal and has called Republicans regressive and afraid of female agency.” Prior to joining Snopes, Kim Lacapria reportedly known for publishing fake quotes and various hoaxes — furthermore she admits she’s a liberal Democrat. At the end of the day, if you see your favorite urban myth being debunked on Snopes there is a pretty good chance you’ll get pretty good information — if you’re looking for political “fact checking” you might take a second look.
For example, Jerry Zeifman, the former chief of staff for the House Judiciary Committee claimed that he fired Hillary Clinton from the Watergate investigation ethics violations. Snopes “fact checked” this claim and deemed it FALSE. They base their finding on a 1998 news article that quotes “Jerome” Zeifman as saying, “If I had the power to fire her I would have fired her.” What they don’t tell you is that Zeifman clarified this in various television interviews by explaining that he had explained to the reporter that he had to wait until the END of the investigation to terminate her employment with cause — refusing to provider her a letter of recommendation related to her service to the committee. Firing her in the middle of the investigation could have negatively impacted the investigation had her behavior become public knowledge. Zeifman indicated that this was only one of three times he ever had to fire someone over the course of his career — he was not at all confused — he fired her because, “Because she was a liar, she was an unethical, dishonest lawyer. She conspired to violate the Constitution, the rules of the House, the rules of the committee and the rules of confidentiality.”
At the end of the day Snopes conclusion is based on sources that are themselves inherently biased. The quote from a Real Clear Politics article by Carl M. Cannon on the topic explains, “Zeifman lacked the authority to terminate her, and it’s a matter of historic record that she wasn’t fired.” What is his source? Zeifman indicates that he BOTH had the power and actually did fire her. Who should we believe — the person who was there or the left-wing journalist with a history of writing stories supporting the Democratic Party?
At best Snopes should explain that Zeifman made the claim that he fired her while members of the media have claimed he is lying. Unfortunately Zeifman died 2010 so he is no longer here to defend himself and repeat his story.