Sunday, December 06, 2009 Is Worthless

Not completely. If you need to find out whether that internet coupon for a free small Coke at Mountain Mike's Pizza is fake, is the place to go.  If you're interested in the facts concerning something more substantive, Snopes is worthless.

Look at this recent analysis:

Claim: Account describes Muslims engaging in a "dry run" hijacking of Flight 297.

[Snopes' evaluation:] MIXTURE

Of course, the claim is literally true. There is an "account" -- an e-mail -- which describes such a scenario. But the e-mail is pure bullshit. And even before the airline, AirTran, debunked the e-mail by proving that the purported author wasn't on Flight 297, there was no evidence -- and Snopes cites none -- that the conflict between a flight attendant and a passenger involved a "dry run" for a highjacking or even a Muslim. Yet Snopes doesn't call the account FALSE. (Steves M. and Benen have more details on Flight 297 and the bullshit e-mail.)

Snopes -- by which I mean those frauds, Barbara and David P. Mikkelson -- doesn't have the integrity to dispel the wingnut fantasy for the lie it is. Calling this story a "Mixture" is like applying the same label to the tale that, on Monday, November 30, 2009, I flew to the moon on a lead ballon where I had sex with Linda Evangelista and posted to this blog 17 times. Because part of that is true.

Here's another example:

Letter purportedly written by nonagenarian Navy veteran criticizes President Obama


Some codger supposedly writes a letter to Obama, filled with the bullshit he heard on talk radio, and Snopes declares the rumor "Correctly Attributed" because the geezer supposedly wrote the letter. (Snopes claims to have verified the authorship; in truth, they never spoke with the geezer, and relied on a third-hand account that the old fart dictated the letter to a secretary.) But the letter is filled with demonstrable falsehoods(*) which Snopes doesn't even bother to debunk.

No one gives a toss that some obscure doddering fool "wrote" a nasty letter to Obama. There are a million crackpots writing a million crackpot letters to politicians and public figures every year. What's significant is the substance of the letter, which is filled with fabrications. Snopes has no interest in those, even though the the idiot Palin and others are endorsing those lies.

I don't know whether the Mikkelsons are right-wing hacks, but they're definitely incompetent hacks.

Update: The Flight 297 e-mailer, Teddy Petruna, claims, in conversation with a wingnut columnist, that he was in fact on the flight. Let's assess his credibility:

Even as people scrambled to substantiate the e-mail, Muslim and leftist Web sites began characterizing the writer and anyone who thought it might have merit as "right wing racists." They immediately initiated a campaign to discredit and ridicule the writer, who actually had the audacity to speak boldly about the escalating fear and anger on the flight, though he admitted to me yesterday he'd taken artistic license with a couple points, never imagining it would travel beyond his circle of friends. He's not a journalist, and has no wish to become the next Joe the Plumber, he said.

A "couple points" of fabrication. Not surprisingly, Tedd and his scrivener aren't too specific about the specific lies Tedd told. But it was certainly boldly audacious of Tedd to send a private e-mail to friends in which he portrayed himself as a hero, believing his facts wouldn't be checked. The Audacity of Soft-Soap, one might call it. Meanwhile, Tedd's scrivener claims to be "regular folk" looking for "the truth," even as she covers up for Tedd and attacks those attempting to discredit his admittedly bogus e-mail.

* Most are lies about Obama himself, but, among the most eggregious of the falsehoods is the claim that "500,000 men died" in the Civil War "for" "the ideal that no man should be a slave to another man." Sorry, gramps, but your fellow crackers died because they were against that ideal, and nowhere near 500,000 Americans died in the Civil War.


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