Snopes has fact-checked the Babylon Bee many times before. An insider to the fact-check world told The Federalist that Snopes readers will send the fact-check site articles from the Babylon Bee to ask whether they are true or not.
Regardless of Snopes’ original intentions with fact-checking satire, an article it published today took an opinionated aim at the Babylon Bee. Some pundits have even said Snopes is actively working to deplatform and delegitimize the Babylon Bee.
Snopes Issues Pre-Approval Of All Statements Made During Tonight's Democratic Debatehttps://t.co/ky3EPRlJvE
— The Babylon Bee (@TheBabylonBee) July 30, 2019
The Babylon Bee wrote a satirical piece on a recent news story regarding a woman who lied about being told to “go back to where she came from” by a white male in a grocery store. The woman was a Democratic Georgia lawmaker who was evidently using the phrase “go back to where you came from” in light of President Trump’s tweets.
In the satirical piece, the Babylon Bee made fun of the story by saying the woman was told to “go back to where she came from” by a Chick-fil-a employee.
The subhead of the Snopes “fact-check” reads, “We’re not sure if fanning the flames of controversy and muddying the details of a news story classify an article as ‘satire.'”
Next, Snopes said the Babylon Bee made up a fictionalized story about a real-life news event instead of making a satirical point.
“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,” Snopes said. “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.”
Snopes called the satirical article, which obviously pokes fun at a real life event, a fictionalized version of the story. “The Babylon Bee has tried to fool readers with its brand of satire in the past,” it said.
Demonstrating a lack of objectivity, the article continued, calling the Babylon Bee a “ruse,” which literally means “an action intended to deceive someone.”
Snopes using its platform to say the Babylon Bee’s brand of satire is a threat to facts misses the most important fact: It’s satire!
The Babylon Bee released an official statement highlighting the consequences this Snopes article may have on it.
Snopes is using social media’s purge of fake news to destroy satirical publications they don’t like. pic.twitter.com/EEwiyjABIM
— Tsukkomi (@ljenkins314) July 30, 2019
Thanks to the 2016 election cycle, Facebook has partnered with fact-checking websites such as Snopes to combat “fake news.” Snopes, however, categorizes Babylon Bee articles as “fake news.” This threatens the publications ability to share its content.
While Facebook apologized for hiding Babylon Bee content in the past, another “fake news” review could leave the Babylon Bee without access to Facebook and threatens its ability to monetize.
While Snopes ended its fact-checking partnership with Facebook in February of 2019, they may be setting a precedent for other fact-checking sites.
The Babylon Bee’s founder, Adam Ford, tweeted his thoughts on this poor reporting in a long thread.