Modern fact checkers are having a tough time of late.
They’ve been exposed as partisans, not truth tellers, too many times to count. The most recent embarrassment? Fact checkers like PolitiFact dubbed the theory that COVID-19 leaked from a Wuhan lab in China as a “pants on fire” whopper last year.
The left-leaning service did an about face late last month. Critics rightly noticed its initial assessment flowed from partisan thinking, not stone cold truths.
Snopes Introduces New Rating: ‘False For Now’ https://t.co/lwvJWlRo3v
— The Babylon Bee (@TheBabylonBee) May 30, 2021
It’s not just PolitiFact stepping on rhetorical rakes of late. Media platforms like Snopes and USA Today similarly beclown themselves with “fact checks” aimed at a right-leaning satire site that cleans mainstream comedy’s clocks on a daily basis.
The Babylon Bee offers satirical news, AKA “fakes,” from a Christian-friendly, GOP-leaning flourish. The web site offers a dollop of balance in a comedy world heavily tilted to the Left. Yet supposedly august news outlets and fact checkers alike routinely fact check their stories.
They want to diminish The Bee or even put its future on the line. Sound hyperbolic?
Mega platforms like Facebook rely on fact checking services to stem the flow of “fake news” stories, a noble pose on the surface. If enough Bee articles get censored, or labeled as false, Facebook could prevent them from being shared on its platform.
That’s a potential death blow to a site that finds its stories shared thousands of times on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Now, Reuters is getting into the Bee fact checking business. The Bee recently shared a faux story that LEGO was introducing genderless blocks which, by their nonbinary nature, couldn’t actually connect with each other.
— Frank Turek (@DrFrankTurek) May 21, 2021
The target? A culture which increasingly blurs the lines between men and women.
Agree? Disagree? It doesn’t matter. The Bee has the right to tell the kind of jokes it wishes to tell.
Except the “news story” caught the attention of PolitiFact (again!) and Reuters. Here’s where the danger lies for The Bee, courtesy of PolitiFact:
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Meanwhile, Reuters chimed in, too.
While the article was originally published on May 20 on Christian satirical website Babylon Bee, screenshots posted later to social media took the piece out of its comedic context – and duped users into thinking it was serious.
In the Fact Checkers’ defense, the Bee’s satire often hits very close to home. That’s what the best satire does. Still, we’re not seeing similar fact checks for The Onion, the liberal fake news site which offers a similar brand of humor.
The Babylon Bee’s CEO, Seth Dillon, had some fun at Reuters’ expense.
If you share a Bee article, you feed a fact-checker for a day. If you subscribe to the Bee, you feed a fact-checker for a lifetime. pic.twitter.com/6NKSP9Z0ou
— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) June 1, 2021
It’s not a laughing matter, though, if these fact checkers force the Bee out of business.
Dillon chimed in again, making an excellent point from his Instagram account.
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