The so-called fact-checking website known as Snopes is an organization typically trusted by both Google and Facebook to root out inaccuracies that pop up on the internet. The trouble is that the site has a known left-leaning bias, and it proved just how biased it is.
According to the Daily Caller, a viral photo originally posted and then deleted by former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer, showed Republicans standing behind President Donald Trump after the vote to repeal Obamacare last year. Many Republicans no longer in their positions have an X through their faces, and the photo claimed that each Republican that does have an X has one because they were voted out of office.
The point was to make it seem like voting against Obamacare will cost you your job.
The photo obtained wide circulation but political reporters destroyed the photo for its inaccuracies, including the fact that some had never even served in Congress in the first place, and others found their way out of Congress through being promoted to cabinet positions or being forced out for ethical reasons.
Lol at this dumb viral tweet full of inaccuracies. Aside from the many other wrong ones, he has an ‘X’ over Seema Verma’s face. She’s never even served in Congress 🤷🏻♂️ https://t.co/mPXIbI4rj1
— Joe Perticone (@JoePerticone) November 17, 2018
DeSantis ran for gov. Tom Price went into the Cabinet. Steve Pearce didnt run for the House
This is quite literally insane fake news.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) November 18, 2018
Amazing. This photo illustration — posted by @nicholaskitchel — is actually more incorrect than correct.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) November 18, 2018
The photo was pretty much proven as literal fake news, and even Kitchel deleted it from his Twitter after admitting to its inaccuracies.
But not Snopes.
The site that claims it checks facts apparently doesn’t care about facts all that much, and according to the Daily Caller released a judgment on it that labeled the photo “true”:
Palma rated it “true” that “The Congressional seats of almost three dozen Republicans who voted to repeal Obamacare were lost to Democrats in 2018” — a different claim than what the picture alleged, much less its “primary” claim.
“In the meme, red ‘X’ marks were drawn through the faces of 33 lawmakers who purportedly were rejected by voters in the 6 November 2018 midterm elections,” Palma wrote.
Both that claim and Palma’s summary of it were inaccurate.
Not everyone in the photo with an “X” over their face was a lawmaker — a fact left out of Palma’s fact-check. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, for example, had an “X” over her face even though she’s not an elected official.
Moreover, many of the lawmakers who did have an “X” over their face won re-election.
Snopes danced around the inaccurate claim that the picture depicted 34 Republicans that wouldn’t be returning to Congress due to their Obamacare vote and simply settled on the fact that it was 34 Republicans that wouldn’t be returning to Congress. Even if Snopes ignored that detail, the claims by the photo would still be inaccurate given that not everyone in the photo with an X on their face was a lawmaker.
The Daily Caller reached out to Snopes about the ruling, who then delivered a bevy of excuses ranging from the faces in the photo being impossible to identify (the Daily Caller did so without trouble) to the photo being more “symbolic” than factual:
After TheDCNF reached out to Snopes for comment, the website edited its article to claim “the persons actually pictured in the accompanying photograph are difficult or impossible to identify.”
TheDCNF’s own fact check, however, successfully identified and reviewed all 34 people.
Snopes, which has struggled with accuracy in the past, did not inform its readers of the update.
Snopes co-founder David Mikkelson defended the inaccurate fact check in an email to TheDCNF.
“The overall point offered by the meme in question is that some 33 Republican members of Congress who voted to repeal the ACA lost their seats. And as our fact check documents, that point is correct,” Mikkelson wrote.
“The meme isn’t really about the specific persons who appear in the accompanying photograph, as they weren’t identified by name and are largely unrecognizable to viewers as shown due to the small size of the photograph and the fact that their heads are obscured with red X’s,” Mikkelson insisted.
“Our audience is intelligent enough to understand the difference between a literal representation and a symbolic one,” he added, denying that the fact check was misleading.
It’s scary that this is the organization major social media and internet information distributors rely on to prove facts.