The Babylon Bee demanded the New York Times retract a characterization of the conservative satire site as a “far-right misinformation site” on Friday.
In a March 19 article on Big Tech censorship flagging satirical posts in the crosshairs of progressive content moderation, Times Technology Correspondent Mike Isaac said the Babylon Bee was “far-right misinformation” hiding false commentary under the guise of “satire” to escape retribution for false speech.
Isaac wrote the following, including an update to the article on March 22:
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. [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.]
Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon railed the Times’ smearing of the satirical outlet as a source of far-right misinformation as “defamatory,” and said the Bee’s legal counsel has contacted the paper.
“These characterizations from the Times are nothing new,” Dillon said. “Previously, Times reporter Kevin Roose wrote a defamatory piece that claimed we ‘capitalize on confusion’ and that we have a ‘habit of skirting the line between misinformation and satire,’ whatever that means.”
Dillon also took issue with the Times’s characterization of Snopes’s coverage of the Babylon Bee.
We have not, in fact, feuded with Snopes as to whether we publish satire or misinformation. Snopes retracted that insinuation with an editors’ note saying it was never their intent to call our motives into questions. 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.
“Here’s the bottom line,” Dillon added, “The New York Times is using misinformation to smear us as being a source of misinformation.”
The New York Times did not immediately respond to The Federalist’s request for comment.