Snopes Exposed

By Sarah

For the past few years www.snopes.com has positioned itself, or others have labeled it, as the 'tell-all final word' on any comment, claim and email.

But for several years people tried to find out who exactly was behind snopes.com. Only recently did Wikipedia get to the bottom of it - kinda makes you wonder what they were hiding. Well, finally we know. It is run by a husband and wife team - that's right, no big office of investigators
and researchers, no team of lawyers. It's just a mom-and-pop operation that began as a hobby.

David and Barbara Mikkelson in the San Fernando Valley of California started the website about 13 years ago - and they have no formal background or experience in investigative research. After a few years it gained popularity believing it to be unbiased and neutral, but over the past couple of years people started asking questions who was behind it and did they have a selfish motivation? The reason for the questions - or skepticisms - is a result of snopes.com claiming to have the bottom line facts to certain questions or issue when in fact they have been proven wrong. Also, there were criticisms the Mikkelsons were not really investigating and getting to the 'true' bottom of various issues.

A few months ago, when my State Farm agent Bud Gregg in Mandeville hoisted a political sign referencing Barack Obama and made a big splash across the internet, 'supposedly' the Mikkelson's claim to have researched this issue before posting their findings on snopes.com. In their statement they claimed the corporate office of State Farm pressured Gregg into taking down the sign, when in fact nothing of the sort 'ever' took place.

I personally contacted David Mikkelson (and he replied back to me) thinking he would want to get to the bottom of this and I gave him Bud Gregg's contact phone numbers - and Bud was going to give him phone numbers to the big exec's at State Farm in Illinois who would have been willing to speak with him about it. He never called Bud. In fact, I learned from Bud Gregg no one from snopes.com ever contacted anyone with State Farm. Yet,snopes.com issued a statement as the 'final factual word' on the issue as if they did all their homework and got to the bottom of things - not!

Then it has been learned the Mikkelson's are very Democratic (party) and extremely liberal. As we all now know from this presidential election, liberals have a purpose agenda to discredit anything that appears to be conservative. There has been much criticism lately over the internet with people pointing out the Mikkelson's liberalism revealing itself in their website findings. Gee, what a shock?

So, I say this now to everyone who goes to www.snopes.com to get what they think to be the bottom line facts...'proceed with caution.' Take what it says at face value and nothing more. Use it only to lead you to their references where you can link to and read the sources for yourself. Plus, you can always google a subject and do the research yourself. It now seems apparent that's all the Mikkelson's do. After all, I can personally vouch from my own experience for their 'not' fully looking into things.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snopes.com

Best regards,

Walter E. Colburn, Jr.
General Manager North America
Able Systems
ussales@able-systems.com
Visit our web site @ www.able-systems.com
Phone: 610.692.4580
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19 comments:

Chappy said...

Interesting....I always wondered why ALL (or at least most) of the liberal items discussed on Snopes leaned more favorably for the left wing. It actually makes a lot of sense. The best way to settle a disagreement is to "end the argument" with some outside source which contains undisputed facts (i.e. dictionary, etc.). Why not create your own source of undisputed facts and then cite to it on every possible occasion.

.....stupid liberals...

Anonymous said...

I think Sarah (or Walter?) does the conservative movement a disservice when they publish an article with a sensationalized titled like "Snopes Exposed".

What was there to expose? Snopes has always been open and up-front about who they are per: http://www.snopes.com/info/faq.asp
For example:
Q: Who creates the material for this site?
A: With very few exceptions, all of the material on this site is prepared by the same people who operate this site, Barbara and David Mikkelson.
Q: How do I know the information you've presented is accurate?
A: We don't expect anyone to accept us as the ultimate authority on any topic, which is why our site's name indicates that it contains reference pages. Unlike the plethora of anonymous individuals who create and send the unsigned, unsourced e-mail messages that are forwarded all over the Internet, we show our work. The research materials we've used in the preparation of any particular page are listed in the bibliography displayed at the bottom of that page so that readers who wish to verify the validity of our information may check those sources for themselves.

I pity the foolish who accept anything from the Internet on face value -- which is why I didn't accept this 'exposé' article.

The value of Snopes is that the website provides references that can be validated either online or through hardcopy research. Just like Wikipedia does, which the author, whoever he/she may be, felt was valid enough to link and refer to.

Why wasn't the actual Snopes link to this issue posted?http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/chicken.asp It appears the author fell into the trap they created, "After all, I can personally vouch from my own experience for...'not' fully looking into things."

This kind of FUD is an embarrasment to the conservative community.

sparky said...

As the above poster notes, this article is wrong about the particulars of the Bud Gregg case -- I recommend clicking on the link to the full Snopes account of this, but here's a link to a State Farm rep, in a letter to the editor, backing up the Mikkelsons' version of the story:

http://www.techetoday.com/node/7462

As for the larger accusations: The claim that it's been difficult to find out "who exactly is behind Snopes.com" and that Wikipedia only recently "got to the bottom of it" is baseless, as is the implication that the Mikkelsons present themselves as having a background in "investigative research". Here's what they say on the FAQ on their own site: "With very few exceptions, all of the material on this site is prepared by the same people who operate this site, David and Barbara Mikkelson... We don't expect anyone to accept us as the ultimate authority on any topic, which is why our site's name indicates that it contains reference pages."

http://www.snopes.com/info/faq.asp

And, lest anyone think they recently added these details to their FAQ, they've been up-front about their role in the site, and their lack of an investigative background, for years -- for one example, here's Barbara Mikkelson in a 2004 CNN interview: "Well, it was started out as our hobby, and that's what it still is. We just had a love of trying to find extra details about stories that were already in circulation, seeing what we could add to what was already known, and from there we started putting our writings up as web pages. "

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0405/02/sm.05.html

As for the claim that the Mikkelsons are "very Democratic (party) and very liberal" -- unlike the Mikkelsons, the author doesn't supply any reference materials to support that claim. (Interestingly, in some versions of this that have been posted on the Internet, that sentence reads, "it has been learned that the Mikkelsons are Jewish -- very Democratic (party) and very liberal"; I'm not sure which version came first, so maybe the original composer of this posting believed that, if they were Jewish, they must therefore be Democrats, Q.E.D.) To me, at least, they've always seemed pretty even-handed about debunking rumors, and they've put down plenty of ugly George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and John McCain rumors:

http://snopes.com/politics/bush/bush.asp

http://snopes.com/politics/palin/palin.asp

http://snopes.com/politics/mccain/mccain.asp

For what it's worth, according to fundrace.org and opensecrets.org, they haven't made political contributions to either party.

Anonymous said...

A suggestion. Before you publish something, do a Google, or Bing, or whatever search and see what comes up. Just copy a phrase from the email in question, and search for it.

For example, I entered "liberals have a purpose agenda to discredit anything that appears to be conservative" in Google search, which is how I found your website.

I also found
http://www.factcheck.org/2009/04/snopescom/

Now what am I supposed to believe?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

What I have noticed that the references for snopes' information has often consisted of only one source. That gives me concern about their credibility.

Denny G said...

I also have googled a few things and found even other truth or fiction sites defend scopes, which lends me to believe a grudge is feeding this...or someone who is not a fan of the president. Which ever it is I commend your persistence.

Anonymous said...

I am an independent voter.

I don't care about the "Snopes" political leanings (whatever they might be), because I don't go that site for political insight.

I use "Snopes" to research suspected myths that I receive in Emails from uninformed people who believe everything that they receive in their Email, and feel obligated to forward it.

Thus far, "Snopes" has been 100% accurate in debunking myths in my experience.

I personally think that the people who started this "tempest in a teapot" need a more productive agenda (i.e., "Get a Life").

mc cox said...

Very interesting but not supported by fact, the very thing we try to use when cutting through the liberal rhetoric. Wikipedia is hardly a source to use for facts. I can put an entry there that could paint you as a closet liberal and it would become fact. Do yourself a favor and check your story first because you weaken the efforts of the conservative viewpoint when you disseminate spam.


Brady, David E. "Valley Newswatch/A Special Report: The Virtual Valley," Los Angeles Times, 5 June 1995.

Interview with David Mikkelson, 8 April 2009.

Hochman, David. "Rumor Detectives: Ture Story or Online Hoax?" Reader's Digest, April 2009.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/04/05/1356943/rumors-gossip-and-urban-myths.html

http://www.factcheck.org/2009/04/snopescom/

http://blog.ungullible.com/2010/04/ask-snopes-are-political-gullibles-more.html

http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/internet/a/snopes_exposed.htm

Anonymous said...

I am conservative in my values but because of the falsehoods and lack of fact-checking for this article I will not visit your site or use it for informational purposes. It has nothing to offer me that I can depend on. I don't know who "Sarah" is, who supposedly wrote this "article" but I think she needs to go elsewhere for a career as a writer. Working for this site will teach her nothing about credibility.

Anonymous said...

I too sent Snopes information, in my case, about the alleged "Dancing Palestinians" after 9/11, after reading a post made by a German lady and finding out about a German TV crew who had been there and reported differently in their "60 Minutes" program, all to no avail.

Here is what the lady from Germany had posted in English:
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2001 4:35 PM
Subject: Fwd: FWD (This might be of interest for documentary students)

Hi everyone,
Thought you'd like to know how news is really not news but creative
constructions.
-----------------------
Last week the German tv-channel "ARD" showed in its
programm "Panorama" an analysis of the whole film material on
the "Dancing Palestinians" which was far more than what was shown on
tv. On those complete sequences one could see that it wasn't a big
crowd that was dancing and applauding, but only a very small group of
mostly children. They were stirred up by one young man. On the few
scenes that weren't close-ups of this group, one could see, that the
rest of the street was calm and people passing by were rather puzzled
when they saw the crowd cheering. When one woman who was part of this
group was intervied by other journalists later, she told that those
who made this film promised to give her some cake when she joined the
crowd, but in fact she hadn't been happy but shocked when she had
heard of the attack. So "Panorama" suspected that the "Dancing
Palestinians " were a creation of the news-agencies who send these
sequences to tv broadcasters all over the world.

A short (German) summary of the program:
<>
Barbara Fischer
Hamburg
And here is the current url of the archive of the program:
http://daserste.ndr.de/panorama/archiv/2001/erste7528.html

Anonymous said...

AHAHAHAHA

How stupid do you feel now Sarah?

Even your conservative pals think you're an idiot for posting this tripe.

As per Snopes:

"An e-mail circulated in October 2008 falsely claimed that we contacted neither Bud Gregg nor State Farm about this subject. FactCheck.org has verified that the e-mail was false."

Oh the irony... using Snopes to prove you are simply circulating a false rumor about Snopes!

I guess you should have checked Snopes before you believed that email, huh?

Carroll said...

Generally speaking, liberals are more intelligent and inquisitive than conservatives and, as a result, they tend to question issues and opinions rather than accept them at face value. Therefore, liberals often find themselves in conflict with conservative friends and family members who see everything in black and white.

Anonymous said...

If there seems to be a liberal bias in Snopes.com exposés, perhaps it's because the conservatives are more prone to just makin' stuff up about their opponents. You can only debunk what's not true, and if the source of the lies is one-sided, the debunking will appear the same in the opposite direction. It might also help to go back and look at Snopes articles during the previous Administration. They were just as avid at debunking made-up, anti-President Bush emails as they are at doing the same now with anti-President Obama stories.

Sometimes, the bias is in the beholder.

Anonymous said...

Its pretty much always been this kind of vindictiveness and spitefulness that has damaged the conservative brand; it's always conservatives that use this tone of schadenfreude, but not liberals. i gotta say that. liberals are just boring.

Anonymous said...

I have found three authors listed in different places on the Internet for this article. Research this letter on factcheck.org, about.com, truthorfiction.com as well as snopes.com. You'll see a different story.

Emily said...

Thank you to all of you (Anonymous, Sparky, Mr. Cox)who encourage us to seek truth and do the research. It troubles me to see false emails disseminated so rapidly and believed so absolutely. And I am grateful to those who do the research for such sites as snopes.com, factcheck.org, urbanlegends.about.com for the work they do. I hope "Notoriously Conservative" is taking to heart the comments posted here.

Anonymous said...

I went to Snopes to check out the Kagan-Obama connection, and they said it was false and that there were no such dockets in existence as the ones that were mentioned. So I goggled the supreme court, typed in Obama Kagan, and guess what? Yep you got it. Snopes lied. Everyone of those dockets are there.

So Here is what I wrote Snopes:
WND article about Elena Kagan and Barak Obama dockets. The information you have posted stating that there were no such cases as claimed by WND (WorldNetDaily) and the examples you gave are blatantly false. I went directly to the Supreme courts website, typed in Obama Kagan and immediately came up with all of the dockets that WND made reference too. I have long suspected that you really slant things but this was really shocking.
Thank You, I hope you will be much more truthful in the future,
*************
Bet you didn't know this....

Kagan was representing Obama in all the petitions to prove his citizenship.
Now she may help rule on them.

Folks, this is really ugly. Chicago Politics, and the beat goes on and on and on..

Once again the Senate sold us out.

Well, someone figured out why Obama nominated Elana Kagan for the Supreme Court.... Pull up the Supreme Courts website, go to the docket and search for Obama. She was the Solicitor General for all the suits against him filed with the Supreme Court to show proof of natural born citizenship. He owed her big time. All of the requests were denied of course. They were never heard. It just keeps getting deeper and deeper, doesn't it?

The American people mean nothing any longer.. It's all about payback time for those that compromised themselves to elect someone that really has no true right to even be there.

We should be getting so sick of all of this nonsense.

Here are some website's of the Supreme Court Docket:

You can look up some of these hearings and guess what?? Elana Kagan is the attorney representing Obama!!! Check out these examples:



Just Click on the URL:



http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docketfiles/09-8857.htm



http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=%2Fdocketfiles%2F09-6790.htm



http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docketfiles/09-724.htm



Supreme Court of the United States HOME PAGE

http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=%2Fdocketfiles%2F09-

Do you folks realize we've spent our entire lives fighting Socialism and Communism, and now we are being seriously threatened, and the threat is coming from within! So What has happened to America ? WHY would anyone in their right mind choose to abandon the Constitution, our American Heritage, and the vehicle that brought us all over 234 years of an unprecedented standard of living?

Anonymous said...

What Wikipedia says:
"Snopes receives complaints of both liberal and conservative bias, but insists that it applies the same debunking standards to all political stories. FactCheck reviewed a sample of Snopes' responses to political rumors regarding George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and Barack Obama, and found them to be free from bias in all cases. FactCheck noted that Barbara Mikkelson was a Canadian citizen (and thus unable to vote in American elections) and David Mikkelson was an independent who was once a registered Republican. "You’d be hard-pressed to find two more apolitical people," David Mikkelson told them.[25][26]"

Anonymous said...

You should watch this video. It totally puts those stupid liberals in their place with their so called facts.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/40018314#40018314

Thank you for your insightful and honest post. Please continue to spread God's word.

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