damnum absque injuria

December 14, 2008

Snopes Lies By Omission

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 12:09 pm

Snopes is famous for its tendency to brand as “false” any “myth” with political implications adverse to Democrats, as long as they can find at least one person on the Internet who gets at least one minor detail wrong. Examples:

  • No Snopes entry exists to confirm the true rumor that Al Gore falsely claimed to have taken initiative in creating the Internet, which in fact was created while Al Gore was in jr. high. However, a Snopes entry does exist to helpfully debunk the myth that he falsely claimed to invented it.
  • No Snopes entry exists to confirm the true rumor that Geraldo Rivera was known as “Jerry Riviera” in his youth but changed his name to Geraldo Rivera to appeal to Hispanics. However, a Snopes entry does exist to helpfully debunk the rumor that his original name was “Rivers” rather than “Riviera,” and to debunk the allegedly existent rumor that Riv(i)era had no Hispanic heritage at all.
  • No Snopes entry exists to confirm the true rumor that Annie Jacobsen had a disturbing flight in 2004 on which she believes she witnessed a terrorist dry run, a number of questions from which remain unanswered. However, a Snopes entry does exist to helpfully debunk the myth that Ms. Jacobsen’s concerns were “proven” to the satisfaction of everyone.
  • No Snopes entry exists to confirm the true rumor that the Obama campaign employed at least one, and possibly two, former Fannie Mae executives as chief economic advisers. However, a Snopes entry does exist to helpfully debunk the rumor that he employed three.
  • No Snopes entry exists to confirm or deny any of the specific allegations of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who probably have more firsthand knowledge of the circumstances surrounding John Kerry’s service than either of the Mikkelsons do. However, a Snopes entry does exist to helpfully debunk all rumors that there is anything “fishy” about any of the medals in question.
  • Too many other examples to count.

Each of the above examples offers a story with aspects of truth, and other minor details that either false or, in Jacobsen’s case, undetermined. This didn’t prevent the Snopemeisters from dropping F-bombs on almost all of these purported “myths,” which they branded not as “undetermined,” “partially true” or “not quite,” but simply as “false.”

In other cases, Snopes bends over backwards to uphold blatantly false rumors helpful to their cause. For example, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, race-baiters falsely accused a racist Associated Press of having described white looters as having “found” their loot while accusing an innocent black finder of “looting” his. In reality, one photographer affiliated with the A.P. had truthfully documented one incident where an individual had in fact looted a store, while another photographer affiliated with AFP (which, contrary to the race-baiters who sparked this rumor, stands for Agence France-Presse, not “Associated F***ing Press”) had truthfully described a different incident in which a group of people didn’t enter a store at all but found some food items floating in the street. So how did Snopes save this grossly false rumor and brand it anyway as true? Easy: reword the false rumor to make it merely disingenuous rather than technically false: “Photograph captions describe a black man “looting” and a white couple “finding” supplies in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.” Which makes it every bit as true as “newspapers describe white man as saving lives and black man as ending them,” provided you can find at least one article in the world about a paramedic who happens to be white and one about a murderer who happens to be black. Similarly, when an obviously phony “How to be a Good Wife” hit the net, Snopes discovered “fake but accurate” and labeled the story “undetermined” rather than “false” because one of its three supposed sources really did write other stuff that Snopes finds offensive. More recently, during the past campaign season, Snopes somehow managed to rationalize that Obama’s profession of “my Muslim faith” was false, as he had obviously misspoken, but McCain’s definition of the “middle class” as including everyone earning up to $5 million was true, even though he was even more obviously joking.

Today’s entry on Obama bumper sticker layoff continues their disingenuous trend by discussing a rumor that is almost certainly 100% false, but omitting the usual “status” heading to identify it as such. You have to read the entire entry from top to bottom to figure out that this rumor is false, and even then, you’re left wondering whether it really is false, or if some employer somewhere really did send out the memo in question, and they just haven’t figured out who. By that reasoning, no rumor could ever be described as “false.” No matter how many obviously false documents one may uncover, one could never be 100% certain that another, reliable document is floating out there, somewhere. For all we know, maybe Al Gore really did falsely claim to have personally “invented” the Internet, just not in that particular Wolf Blitzer interview everybody quotes. Or maybe in that very interview, during the commercial break while the mic was off, he turned to Wolf and said “Yeah, I created the Internet. In fact, I personally invented it! Yeah, that’s the ticket! Don’t ask me about that on the air, though; the American people may not be ready for it.” Can anyone really be sure that this didn’t happen? Even if it didn’t, it’s no further than the truth from the notion that the obviously forged “How to be a Good Wife” is a fake-but-accurate compilation of stuff one of its three purported sources was supposedly peddling at the time.

September 5, 2007

Does Snopes Work for Hillary?

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:00 am

Snopes, the guys who “debunked” Jerry Rivers/Riviera and Al Gore’s Internet on technicalities while bending over backwards to uphold “looting vs. finding” and an apocryphal Reagan quote as an innocent “paraphrase,” once again plays the “your view is an urban myth, mine is a fact” card by purporting to clarify a series of genuine and unflattering (at least, from the perspective of anyone who isn’t a Marxist) Hillary Clinton quotes.

Claim: E-mail reproduces various “Marxist” statements made by Hillary Clinton.
Status: Multiple – See below.

In fact, as Snopes all but admits throughout the body of the post, the only thing “multiple” about the six quotes is that they are true, true, true, true, true and true. The problem is that from the perspective of a Hillary supporter, they’re also inconvenient, inconvenient, inconvenient, inconvenient, inconvenient and inconvenient, respectively. Therefore, as a web site devoted to debunking all urban legends, potential urban legends and urban non-legends that may prove inconvenient to the left, Snopes steps up to the plate in a lame attempt to explain them away. In six nutshells:

  1. The quote about taking stuff away from rich people for the common good isn’t really Marxist because she was addressing a group of rich Democrats who share her goal of taking stuff away from rich people for the common good.
  2. That line about “shared prosperity” isn’t really Marxist because she also said something good about “markets,” as long as such markets are commanded and/or controlled by her.
  3. That bit about something having to be taken away from some people can’t be considered socialist since she was talking about global warming.
  4. The line about requiring people to give up their turf to build “common ground” wasn’t really Marxist because she was arguing for socialized medicine.
  5. The line about the free market having failed isn’t really socialist because she said a bunch of other stuff, too.
  6. The line about “send[ing] a clear message” to the “most profitable sector” that they “are being watched” wasn’t really socialist because she was only attacking the big, bad oil companies, not your mom and pop’s business, which really isn’t the most profitable sector of the economy after all. Sorry to disappoint.

October 2, 2006

One Small Step for Neil Armstrong, One Giant Leap Against the Infallible Snopes

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:13 am

Once again, the Language Police, this time with backing from Snopes, has made a false arrest. We now know that, contrary to popular myth, Neil Armstrong did not flub his famous line on the moon, and did in fact say exactly what he was supposed to say, to wit:

That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.


UPDATE: Tearfree defends the indefensible, arguing in effect that Armstrong shouldn’t have described himself as a man, but as “the human creature regarded abstractly and personified as an individual.” O-kay.

June 7, 2006

My Guy Was Misquoted, Yours Was Paraphrased

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 10:05 pm

Anyone who seriously questions Snopes’s bias need only compare this to this.

May 31, 2006

Too Good to Be True?

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 12:28 pm

Pauline Kael’s (in-)famous quote about not knowing a single person who voted for Nixon appears to be apocryphal.

December 5, 2005

Snope-a-Dope, Part MCLXI

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 1:01 pm

This just in, via Dean – Snopes isn’t always as reliable as it holds itself out to be. This will come as a huge surprise to regular readers of this blog.

Oh, BTW, don’t forget to boycott Target, who really deserves the faux French pronunciation of their name.

UPDATE: Lonewacko offers another gem from Snopes, where they conclude that since some guy wrote a spoof of the federal investigation concerning the New Orleans police farce, that must mean the investigation isn’t real, either.

September 9, 2005

Snopes Discovers “Fake But Accurate”

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:48 pm

While Snopes had little trouble labeling as “false” the notion that Al Gore falsely claimed to have invented the Internet (while burying the fact that he had in fact falsely claimed to have “created” it), or as confirming as “true” the allegation that news services described blacks as “looting” and whites as “finding” (while burying the fact that the two stories originated from different news services, and that one incident actually involved looting and the other actually involved finding), in this case, it just doesn’t know what to do with this:

If you read carefully, you’ll see that they had no trouble identifying this particular piece as a fake, and they’ve had no success in corroborating the other alleged sources it’s sometimes attributed to, yet it fits so well with their own stereotypes about the 1950s that they can’t bring themselves to admit this one’s false rather than “undetermined.” Lame.

August 28, 2005

Oakland Justice Update

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 11:28 pm

First, the good news: apparently, the victim of that horrendous videotaped 2002 beating Matt Drudge exhumed last week (and which I blogged about as well) survived the attack, and is in good enough health to be pissed off about the fact that this video is being broadcast all over the Internet and local TV news. Her injuries included dizziness and some hearing loss, although it’s not clear from the KGO story whether she still has these problems now or if they were temporary following the attack.

Now for the bad news: the Oakland P.D. has been asleep at the switch for three years, and now, according to KRON account, the statute of limitations appears to have run. Or has it?


February 21, 2005

Moron German Prostitutes

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:22 pm

A few holdouts are still insisting that Clare Chapman and the Daily Telegraph’s hoax about German prostitution is legit. Some pretty much admit they want the story to be true, while some jerks attacked me personally even for suggesting otherwise. Thus, it behooves me to translate the other article that Chapman cribbed from. Note in particular the date that this story ran: July 30, 2003. Also note that the date in which prostitution became a fully recognized legal profession was January 1, 2002. Then consider the fact that the “25 year old girl” referenced in Chapman’s article is almost certainly the same “25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing ‘sexual services” at a brothel in Berlin” from Berlin referenced in the original article, along with the fact that “just over two years ago” was actually just over three years ago as of the date Chapman’s article ran. Bottom line: Charlotte Allen is right that there’s no evidence Chapman is “the Jayson Blair of Brit journalism.” Such an analogy would be terribly unfair to Jayson Blair. Chapman is Britain’s answer to Mary Mapes, or Dan Rather minus the stature. She’s no Jayson Blair.

So, without further ado, here’s a translation of the Jungle-World article Chapman appears to have cribbed from.

UPDATE: Apparently, some people just don’t know when to stop. After first attacking me for god knows why (is Clare Chapman his sister or something?!), and then deleting my polite responses to his anything but polite tirade (along with any other comments and trackbacks that disagree with him), he now accuses me of lacking “standards” and “intellectual consistency” because … well, just because. Actually, he spells his non-logic out a bit more clearly than that, so let’s have a go. I mean hell, I tried playing nice, but this twit obviously doesn’t understand nice. On to Plan B.

UPDATE: Contrary to the histrionics of a certain self-appointed blogospheric standards arbiter,

Sorry, I didn’t know there was some guy out there whose job it is to apppoint bloggers to arbitrate standards, express opinions, etc. I basically assumed it was a free-for-all. If only I had known such an official authority existed, I would have certainly have turned to the official Appointer of Blogospheric Standards to request an appointment the old fashioned way rather than taking matters into my own hands and appointing myself as a blogger. My bad.

there is absolutely no evidence that this story is a hoax.

Translated: “I like this story, so if you think it’s bunk, well, LA LA LA LA LA! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! LA LA LA LA LA LA.”

It is certainly the case that some media used sensationalist headlines that distorted the fact pattern, but the body of this particular story remain “undebunked.”

In the sense that it’s almost impossible to prove a negative, I suppose so. But between me, Snopes, the German members of ChicagoBoyz, the entire friggin’ media of the one country you’d think would be publishing this scandal on the front page ever day, and the fact that no other journalist in the world has reached the same conclusions Chapman did, not to mention the fact that the Daily Telegraph itself has yet to print either a follow-up or even another article on any topic by (ex-?!) journalist Clare Chapman, I think it’s pretty goddamned safe to conclude that the body of this particular story remains “uncorroborated.”

The perpertrator of the “hoax hoax” has a history of straining to discredit other bloggers for the sake of his (her?) own self-aggrandizement (i.e., “Ha-ha, look at me, I’m smarter than you!”).

Translation: this pissing match has nothing to do with the merits of the prostitution hoax. It’s all about the fact that he thinks I am smarter than he is, and he’s pissed about that. Not pissed that I claim to be smarter – at the time he posted his screed I had made no such claim – but because he thinks/realizes/whatever that I am. Guess what, I’m smarter than most people. It’s no big deal. This is about which story is right, not who can score higher on an I.Q. test.

His/her argument essentially consists of “The Telegraph is a tabloid,” “a name is misspelled in the article” and “‘lefty rags’ have reported it, so it must be false.”

I invite my readers to peruse my past articles to decide for themselves whether my argument was that simplistic or not. Although I will say this: part of it is unambiguously false. For the benefit of the 99% of my readers who probably do not speak or read German (probably including the Kipshit, given his utter lack of familarity with German culture), I’ve translated both of the lefty rag articles described. If he had actually bothered to read either the articles or the translations – assuming, of course, that he can read – he’d know full well that neither of these articles, nor any others that have run to date in any of the German or German-language press, came close to reporting the story that Chapman concocted.

One might also note his (her?) apparent fetish for the word “official” (e.g., “this story is officially bunk”) — since when is ChicagoBoyz an “official” anything? (He/She once insisted that I issue a correction regarding the “official” breed of my own dog!).

So that’s what it’s about. The kipstick knows full well that he doesn’t know a f’n thing about the topic at hand, and was too lazy or too stupid even to read the ChicagoBoyz discussion before commenting on it, but no matter – he’s mad at me for pointing out that he doesn’t know much about dog breeds, either. Note how he whines bout “my own dog,” as if his ownership of a single dog meant a f’n thing about the breed as a breed. Earth to Kip: you own one pit bull / Amstaff; you don’t own the whole breed. If I called my Rottweiler a “ruttwilder” (or worse, a “French Poodle”) you’d have every right to tell me I was wrong, and the fact that it was My. Own. Dog. would not have any bearing on the issue at all. More importantly, all this has what, exactly, to do with the credibility of a story about prostitution and unemployment in Germany that has thus far been alleged by one (count ’em, one) British journalist and zero (count ’em, zero) German journalists?

Meanwhile, the Telegraph has not issued a retraction,

Yup, I’m sure the Kipster reads the Telegraph’s correction section every day, so he’d know. He probably gets the paper edition delivered on his doorstep. Lord knows how else he’d even find their corrections if he wanted to.

its competitors have not pounced to disprove it,

Wow, for a Yank, the Kipmeister sure is one prolific reader of British journals. Not only does he have English paperboys fly all the way to deliver the Daily Telegraph to his doorstep every day, he also gets the Independent, the Guardian (a lefty rag which, curiously, has said nary a word about this topic), the Times of London, and scores of other British newspapers you and I have never heard of! All hail the great Kip, and scans each of them every day for articles tending to debunk or corroborate the one article he insists is legit.

the German government has not disputed the incident (the policy implications, yes, but not the incident), neither has the bordello; the woman has not recanted.

What’s to recant? If the kipstick had even bothered to read the story Chapman cribbed her from (or my handy-dandy translation of the same) he’d know there was no real story to recant. The woman was inadvertently referred to a bar tending job at a brothel. She complained, they may or may not have properly apologized to her personally, but they certainly made it clear to her that she was not at risk of losing her job benefits, as Chapman implied and the author of her headline stated explicitly. It might be nice if she were to come forward and admit that yes indeed, she did age a year and a half between July 30, 2003 and January 30, 2005 just like the rest of us, and as such, she was not a 25 year old at the time that Chapman’s cheap knock-off of an article ran. But a correction of such a trivial matter probably wouldn’t run in the Telegraph anyway. But I’m sure Kip already knows that, seeing as he reads the Telegraph and all its major competitors from cover to cover every day, paying special attention to corrections.


That shows how deep the French Kip digs to get at the bottom of a story. The last person thick enough to get my sex wrong was Mark York, hardly someone I’d want to be lumped together with. [OK, so “Sunshine” made a similar error much more recently than that. That’s different; her error was clearly intentional.]

also posts the following —

All further blogger speculation on this subject should end immediately.

What a very blogospheric response — “rush to (counter-)judgment; don’t dig any deeper. Just shut up — because I say so.”

Translation: an appeal to stop blindly speculating on something you know next to nothing about equals a directive not to research the matter and actually learn something. How sad.

How sad.


(UPDATE: Meanwhile, weeks later, he/she/it is still blogging about it. So much for “standards” and “intellectual consistency.” Go figure.)

Apparently, in this guy’s kipped up world, everyone has a duty to remain consistent not only to what one says, but to what some idiot from New York (but I repeat myself) says you meant. O-kay.

February 13, 2005

Unemployed Prostitute Hoax Update

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 3:18 pm

Add Mark Steyn to the ever-growing list of otherwise sensible writers who reported this German prostitution canard as fact long after it had been fully debunked.


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