When Elites Are Caught Spreading Fake News, SNOPES Rides in to Clear Them of Guilt for Misinformation

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

The scam of fact-checkers is on full display as SNOPES avoids the facts to change a narrative.

If you spent any time on social media the past couple of days, there is a chance you saw a meme being shared concerning a list of books. It purports to show those titles that have been banned in the state of Florida. It is a lengthy, unattributed list, that does not bear any sourcing from an official outlet.


Any suggestion that the state of Florida or the FLDOE has banned any books is wholly inaccurate. This stems, of course, from the months of controversy surrounding the state, Ron DeSantis, and the various classroom standards put in place. The closest you can find to a book ban is certain titles restricted for younger age groups. This is no more of a “ban” than a film being Rated-R and restricting ages under 18 from purchasing a ticket is evidence of a movie being censored.

This list nonetheless was passed around, and by verified accounts no less. Despite the severe lack of credence, this list was shared by none other than US teachers union leader Randi Weingarten. The woman who should know better than anyone else about such matters was willing to simply regurgitate a random meme plucked from the web. 

Adding to the deception was actor Mark Hamill. While not a voice of authority by any stretch, his post was shared tens of thousands of times. Even to this point, Twitter has not attached its flag for misleading information. This is the very kind of item one might expect the fact-checkers to be poring over. A dose of harsh disinformation of a political nature, and one that is misleading scores of people, would seem to pose a threat to our democracy. 


But the fact-checkers are facing a dilemma. Those spreading this false narrative are from the left. A union rep and a Hollywood figure do not fit the profile of the nefarious figures on the right who are seeking to undermine the foundations of this country by delivering grossly misleading fake information. How does this get approached without impugning the character of those figures?

Solution: It was all a gag gone awry!

SNOPES came out with the declaration that this was satire, and that it was mistakenly accepted as a realistic representation of the Florida school mandates. This is a pathetically weak summation. To start, Governor Ron DeSantis’ Press Secretary Bryan Griffin noted that not only is there not a book ban in the state, but some of the titles on the featured list are actually recommended by the FLDOE.

“The image is fake — as far as I see it, this is just a completely fictitious list made by people potentially living in an alternate reality,” Griffin stated. “Some of the listed books are specifically mentioned in Florida’s Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.) Standards.”

Then there is the grade from SNOPES that the list “originated” as satire. This is blatantly false. The originator of the list was an account named Freesus Patriot, and that source was initially defending the list as factual once it was being disseminated on platforms. The claim was that this was a list supplied to them, but they were allegedly protecting their source. 


It was only later, as the challenges from officials came in, when suddenly the shift was made to claim that this was only satirical. Now, since the claim is it was only ever intended as satire, no defense or taking down and correcting the facts is required. And SNOPES plays along. Now the account has even altered its bio, claiming they are a satire site.

The problem here is not with the Freesus Patriot account. They can put out whatever they desire. But when notable accounts such as Weingarten’s are spreading false claims like this without the barest amount of introspection you have to deeply question their position of leadership. Then, when SNOPES is willing to come in behind and provide cleanup for the sake of her and others’ character, it exposes the entire enterprise.

How can a fact-checking outlet lay claim to the origination of this list when it was not even willing to investigate it until there was embarrassment experienced by those noted accounts? SNOPES claims the post was shared “but was later stripped of its satirical markings.” No, it was not. The account was initially defending the list as truthful, and even challenged the governor’s office to prove the list was not accurate. 

Then there is the whole issue with the “satire” gambit. Recall, this is the fact-checking site that was willing to judge the actual satire from the avowed satire site Babylon Bee, and ignore that basis as it rated posts from the humor site as FALSE. The argument was the gag entries were either intended to deceive people or that the jokes were perceived as accurate and required the False label to be applied.


Now, when presented with a pure case of intended deception – and one that has actually deceived multitudes of people – SNOPES is willing to dismiss that activity as just a joke all along, with no negative intention applied. We rate this fact-check as: GARBAGE.


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