The War On Dissent

Click here to view original web page at

This blog is going on 18 years old.

In that time, I’ve written a lot of things, in a lot of styles; reporting, fiction, analysis, history, and a whole lot more.

And, oh yeah, satire. Lots and lots of satire.

And I’ve found the “hard” way (not that hard; there were few real consequences, knock wood) that a lot of people just. Don’t. Get. Satire. At. All.

Combine human bovinity with tribalism, and you’ve got…

…well, Snopes.

The once-respected fact-checking site has beclowned itself a few times in “fact-checking” “news stories” from the likes of the Onion and Babylon Bee. It was easy to chalk it up to not-very-bright “fact-checkers”.

But then it became all weaponized”

In 2018, after Snopes fact-checked a Bee article titled “CNN Purchases Industrial-Sized Washing Machine to Spin News Before Publication” (no, really), Facebook warned the Bee that it could be penalized with reduced distribution and demonetization. Facebook later apologized for its warning.
And last week Snopes escalated its attack. It fact-checked an article called “Georgia Lawmaker Claims Chick-Fil-A Employee Told Her To Go Back To Her Country, Later Clarifies He Actually Said ‘My Pleasure.’” But rather than merely noting that the story was clearly satire from a known satire site, it launched an attack on the Bee’s motives and methods.
In its original fact-check, it questioned whether the article was satire, accusing the Bee of “fanning the flames of a controversy” and “muddying the details of a news story.” It posted a misleading and incomplete summary of the ridiculous Erica Thomas incident in Georgia (where a black Georgia lawmaker accused a fellow Publix customer of telling her to “go back” where she came from and then walked back her accusation) and then called the Bee article a “ruse” and an “apparent attempt to maximize the online indignation.”
It bears repeating that the Bee is obvious satire. Obvious.

This isn’t about would-be “journalists” with no sense of humor. This is about stifling – “deplatforming”, the kids call it today – one of civil dissent’s most powerful weapons – cutting humor.