Today's Paper Search Latest New app In the news Traffic #Gazette200 Listen Digital replica FAQ Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles + Games Archive

SATIRE has come a long way since Jonathan Swift. And the art has seen its ups and downs since. When most think of satire news these days, The Onion probably comes to mind.

But satire is a free market just like most things in this country, and The Onion is not the only game in town. Readers that want their satire bent a little more to the right can go to the Babylon Bee website, a newer outlet, but a fast-growing one. The Bee comes to the satire game with guns blazing, shooting in every direction. But maybe Planned Parenthood and AOC get a few more shots than others.

The Bee has an ongoing tiff with fact-checking site Snopes, and this most recent skirmish has drawn blood in the water. Fans of the Bee will note a running gag has Snopes “fact-checking” a number of its spoof articles and reports them “true.”

Fact-checking is important in this age of fake news, and Snopes has done some decent investigative work through the years. But the organization should know when to leave well enough alone.

Last week Snopes “fact-checked” an article titled “Georgia Lawmaker Claims Chick-fil-A Employee Told Her To Go Back To Her Country, Later Clarifies He Actually Said ‘My Pleasure’.” First, that headline is way too long. Second, why is a company wasting time fact-checking a site clearly labeled satire?

What will be “investigated” next? Crop circles?

Snopes writer Dan Evon wrote, “While this real-world incident stirred up a good amount of online anger, it wasn’t quite outrageous enough for the entertainment website Babylon Bee. In an apparent attempt to maximize the online indignation, this website published a fictionalized version of the story . . .”

In an apparent attempt? There’s no apparent. That’s exactly what the Bee does. Would you expect an outlet that publishes headlines like “Border Patrol Agent Calls Up Planned Parenthood To Get Helpful Pointers On Separating Children From Their Mothers” to be subtle or sneaky in its attempts to drive web traffic?

Mr. Evon went on to accuse the Bee of fooling its readers. But it seems pretty clear that readers of the Babylon Bee know what they’re getting into. Want proof? Just look at the Facebook comments.

The Babylon Bee says it has lawyered up, and we’re sure that a satire news organization going to court will provide some fantastic material for future headlines. But Snopes should know better than to pick fights with a site clearly labeled as satire news. It’s called picking your battles.


Sponsor Content

You must be signed in to post comments


  • BillMurray
    July 30, 2019 at 9:20 a.m.

    "... why is a company wasting time fact-checking a site clearly labeled satire?" Because old-fart, right-wing voters have a hard time discerning what is actually satire, and actually share things like that as if it's news.

  • 23cal
    July 30, 2019 at 10:40 a.m.

    About "Second, why is a company wasting time fact-checking a site clearly labeled satire?"
    Why that's simple: some people fail to note it is satire and want to know if the claims made in that article are true, especially after gullible right-wingers have passed it on as truth. Good satire is on the edge of credence; not everyone reads the box at the top noting satire which looks like an ad for something else. How could any thinking person even ask a question with such an obvious and simple answer? One would think Gentle Editor has taken to writing satire.
    Regarding "What will be “investigated” next? Crop circles?" Possibly. They aren't any more bizarre and blatantly unreal than many claims about and by Trump. Right wingers actually believe he was in New Jersey watching thousands of Muslims cheering on 9/11 while at the same time helping clear rubble in New York after watching people falling from buildings and that he actually gave the money to 9/11 charities afterwards which he claimed to have given. Crop circles are just as real as any of that.
    Regarding "But it seems pretty clear that readers of the Babylon Bee know what they’re getting into." Then why would some of them pass it along as truth and others ask Snopes to fact check?
    Plus, exactly what Billmurray said: "Because old-fart, right-wing voters have a hard time discerning what is actually satire, and actually share things like that as if it's news." I have personally seen this happen.

  • mozarky2
    July 30, 2019 at 12:55 p.m.

    Old fart right-wing voters know it's satire, and pass it along, knowing that willfully ignorant, humor-challenged "progs" will
    A-believe it, or
    B-be outraged.
    And BM and 23c just proved it, not even vaguely realizing how ridiculous their posts were.
    You could almost write a satire piece on it.

  • mozarky2
    July 30, 2019 at 1:18 p.m.

    BALTIMORE, MD—President Trump launched into a deranged attack against the city of Baltimore, calling it “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and a place “no human being would want to live.” This caused extreme confusion within the city -- as, having been run exclusively by Democrats for decades and decades, it is a nearly perfect, progressive utopia and a beacon of hope to all.

    Stepping into Baltimore is like stepping into the future. Thanks to its politics never having been corrupted by any right-wing elements, the city is almost free of problems. Shiny towers touch the sky, people happily travel from glass dome to glass dome in their flying cars, and not a trace of dirt or grime is found anywhere, thanks to the city's perfect central planning. Crime is unknown in Baltimore, since they have compassionate measures to reform criminals instead of punishing them. And there is no such thing as poverty or income inequality because of the Democrats’ tight control of the economy.

    “I had no idea what Trump was talking about,” said the leader of Baltimore, known as the “Overseer,” who heads the largely automated bureaucracy of the city. “He called us rat-infested, and I was unfamiliar with the creature. I checked our vast archives -- as knowledge is very important to Baltimore -- and found out it was some sort of vermin that plagued cities in previous centuries. Such things are unknown in Baltimore.”

    The Overseer had thought to engage Trump on Twitter, but arguing on social media is for lesser beings and not for evolved people such as those who live in Baltimore. Instead, the citizens of Baltimore are going to continue to focus on their city, hoping to one day make it the greatest, most advanced city in the world, maybe even topping Detroit.
    From the Babylon Bee
    (it's satire, "progs"!)

  • mozarky2
    July 30, 2019 at 4:16 p.m.

    No Joke: Babylon Bee Sics Lawyers On Facebook Partner, Snopes Over “Fact Checks”
    Hotair ^ | 07/30/2019 | Ed Morrissey

    Even the satirists at the Babylon Bee have a limit to jokes — and the attempts by Snopes to “fact check” their humor doesn’t qualify. In a message to subscribers yesterday, the Bee declared that Snopes was attempting to exploit its position as a Facebook partner to “deplatform” the conservative satire site. In response, the Babylon Bee has decided to sic their very real and non-humorous attorneys against the urban-legend site to put an end to their harassment:
    As you know, fake news—which is distinguished from satire by its intent to mislead—was widely considered a serious issue in the last election cycle. As a result, social media networks like Facebook began partnering with fact-checkers to try and limit the distribution of fake news on their platforms. Snopes was one of them. At one point, a piece of ours was rated “false” by Snopes, prompting Facebook to threaten us with limitations and demonetization. We made a stink about this, and after some media attention shed light on the problem, Facebook apologized for their handling of the matter and admitted that satire is not the same as fake news.
    We came out on top last time, but this latest smear from Snopes is both dishonest and disconcerting. We have no choice but to take it very seriously. For better or worse, the media, the public, and social networks all look to Snopes for authoritative answers. By lumping us in with fake news and questioning whether we really qualify as satire, Snopes appears to be actively engaged in an effort to discredit and deplatform us. While we wish it wasn’t necessary, we have retained a law firm to represent us in this matter.
    Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon confirmed the accuracy of the statement published yesterday to readers in an e-mail to Hot Air this afternoon, so this is no satirical joke. The move follows a long Twitter thread Friday by founder Adam Ford on Snopes’ most recent “ridiculous article,” in which they questioned whether poking fun at Georgia state representative Erica Thomas could be considered “satire.” What follows on Ford’s tweetstorm is what we’d have called an old-fashioned Fisking in the blogosphere a few years back:
    So @snopes fact-checked @TheBabylonBee again. But this time it's particularly egregious and, well, kind of disturbing. And I'd like to talk about it.
    Pack a lunch cuz this'll be a long one.
    First off, here's their ridiculous article: SBugStUnfq
    — Adam Ford (@Adam4d) July 25, 2019

    Now this sentence is quite troubling. Describing the Bee article as a "ruse."
    Let me define "ruse" for you: "an action intended to deceive someone."
    Now that's an accusation.

    — Adam Ford (@Adam4d) July 25, 2019