Checking Out the Fact Checkers at Snopes
The fact-checkers at left-leaning Snopes have been called on to work with left-leaning Facebook to “curb the spread of fake news.” If only we could count on Snopes to check the veracity of this story:
[A] DailyMail.com investigation reveals that Snopes.com’s founders, former husband and wife David and Barbara Mikkelson, are embroiled in a lengthy and bitter legal dispute in the wake of their divorce. …
They are accusing each other of financial impropriety, with Barbara claiming her ex-husband is guilty of ’embezzlement’ and suggesting he is attempting a ‘boondoggle’ to change tax arrangements, while David claims she took millions from their joint accounts and bought property in Las Vegas.
The Mikkelsons may be well qualified to opine on things that are fake:
Profiles of the website disclose that for some time before it was set up, the couple had posed as ‘The San Fernardo Valley Folklore Society’, using its name on letterheads, even though it did not exist.
A profile for the Webby Awards published in October describes it as ‘an entity dreamed up to help make the inquiries seem more legit’.
David Mikkeleson told the Los Angeles Times in 1997: ‘When I sent letters out to companies, I found I got a much better response with an official-looking organization’s stationery.’
Their marriage hit the rocks hard.
Barbara, 57, has accused her former husband, 56, of ‘raiding the corporate business Bardav bank account for his personal use and attorney fees’ without consulting her.
She also claimed he embezzled $98,000 from the company over the course of four years ‘which he expended upon himself and the prostitutes he hired’.
The former couple also bicker over David’s salary, which he wants raised to two or three times his current $240,000, although he says he will settle for $360,000 — which would be plenty, especially considering his extravagant expense charges.
So bitter was the dispute, that they even fell out over the arbiter they had appointed to settle disputes, meaning that Facebook’s arbiter cannot even agree on its own arbiter.
Snopes is supposed to be politically neutral, but has a reputation for bias against conservatives. David’s new bride Elyssa Young, who has worked as a prostitute and a porn actress and now works for Snopes, is unlikely to change this.
She ran for U.S. congress in Hawaii as a Libertarian in 2004, during which she handed out ‘Re-Defeat Bush’ cards and condoms stamped with the slogan ‘Don’t get screwed again’.
Ms. Young isn’t the only one at Snopes with a colorful background.
One of the lead fact-checkers, Kim LaCapria, has also been a sex-and-fetish blogger who went by the pseudonym ‘Vice Vixen.’
Ms. Vixen boasts that she spends her days playing scrabble, smoking pot, and posting to Snopes.
It makes you wonder what kind of fact-checking standards Snopes might employ.
David Mikkelson told the Dailymail.com that Snopes does not have a ‘standardized procedure’ for fact-checking ‘since the nature of this material can vary widely.’ …
He also said the company has no set requirements for fact-checkers because the variety of the work ‘would be difficult to encompass in any single blanket set of standards.’
But no doubt Snopes can root out what Fakebook would regard as “fake news.”