The Babylon Bee is a hilarious and popular conservative satire website that oftentimes runs afoul of media hall monitors and supposed “fact-checkers” for hitting a little too close to home in characterizing the biased “reporting” of national news outlets like the NY Times, the Washington Post, and other well-recognized media organizations.
The Times, in particular, has been a frequent critic of the Bee, an objectively true statement that makes more sense once one understands just what dishonest purveyors of disinformation the so-called “newspaper of record” have become over the last several decades, especially during the Trump administration. In other words, the Bee roasts papers like the Times without breaking a sweat, and for that, they must be punished in the eyes of our intellectual betters in the MSM.
The latest instance of the New York Times’ insistence on digging a deeper hole for themselves concerning the Bee comes courtesy of a piece published by “technology correspondent” Mike Isaac on Friday noting that though “Facebook has become more active at moderating political speech, it has had trouble dealing with satire.”
At one point in the article, the Bee was referred to as an example of a “far-right misinformation site” that “sometimes trafficked in misinformation under the guise of satire.” The article has been been slightly changed (we’ll get to that in a minute) since the original report went live, but here’s how it looked originally per the Bee’s CEO Seth Dillon:
Here's the section of the article where they quote Emerson T. Brooking making this claim. Booking is described as "a resident fellow for the Atlantic Council who studies digital platforms." pic.twitter.com/GsDOayh7uJ
— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) March 21, 2021
After Dillon blasted the paper in an epic smackdown of a Twitter thread in which he pointed out the Bee was, in fact, a satire site, and which included a not-so-veiled threat of legal action (“I’m pretty sure there’s a legal term for what’s happening here”), Isaac made some changes to the paragraph in question and alerted Dillon that he had done so:
@Adam4d Hey Seth and Adam,
Flagging you both to note that the piece has been updated to reference the past run-ins with Snopes and Facebook.
— rat king (@MikeIsaac) March 22, 2021
The discerning reader will note that the “update” to the original piece did nothing to dissuade people from the paper’s original characterization of the Bee as “trafficking in misinformation under the guise of satire.” Here’s what they added to the piece:
But satire kept popping up as a blind spot. 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.]
Dillon again took to the Twitter machine and torpedoed Isaac by noting that one of the paper’s own tech columnists conceded the point last year that the Bee was indeed a satire site:
Why note quote your own @kevinroose, who after wanting to get the lie to stick himself finally acquiesced and acknowledged: "The Babylon Bee is not a covert disinformation operation disguised as a right-wing satire site . . ."
— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) March 22, 2021
The Bee’s creator Adam Ford, who now runs the “Not the Bee” website, tore the New York Times a new one as well in a response piece to their “updated” reporting:
The New York Times updated their Babylon Bee smear aaaand it's still hot garbage https://t.co/iO9tyiVZXT
— Not the Bee (@Not_the_Bee) March 23, 2021
What’s the moral of the story here? It’s twofold. First, when attacked by a supposedly credible and respected news organization with claims that are demonstrably untrue, it’s wise and to your credit to not back down. And two, if you’re a media outlet and you’re going to come for the Bee, maybe think twice before doing so. Because in the war of words, you will have your patooties kicked and then some.
And those of us sitting in the cheap seats observing things as they happen will enjoy recapping it – with relish.
(Hat tip: Daily Wire)