The New York Times folded yesterday and altered their clownish article that contained defamatory statements about the The Babylon Bee. But the update they offered is still flaming hot garbage, and I shall explain why.
(If you don't know what I'm talking about, start with this article from yesterday:)
So the NYT called the Bee a right-wing misinformation site, and we called them out for it. I published that article above and also called out the author, Mike Isaac, on Twitter over the egregious and defamatory wording in his piece. We wanted it changed and frankly were not opposed to legal action if they refused.
And the NYT did change it yesterday.
Only, again, it's still piping hot liquid garbage.
Isaac, who goes by "rat king" on Twitter (no for real), tagged myself and Seth yesterday to let us know ... NOT that he had fixed the error, NOT to apologize for unfairly and untruthfully smearing the Bee ... but "to note that the piece has been updated to reference the past run-ins with Snopes and Facebook."
Allow me to translate the rat king's tweet:
So here's the original wording in the NYT article:
But satire kept popping up as a blind spot. In 2019 and 2020, Facebook often dealt with far-right misinformation sites that used "satire" claims to protect their presence on the platform, Mr. Brooking said. For example, The Babylon Bee, a right-leaning site, sometimes trafficked in misinformation under the guise of satire.
And here's the rat king's updated version:
But satire kept popping up as a blind spot. In 2019 and 2020, Facebook often dealt with far-right misinformation sites that used "satire" claims to protect their presence on the platform, Mr. Brooking said. [Updated March 22, 2021: The Babylon Bee, a right-leaning satirical site, has feuded with Facebook and the fact-checking site Snopes over whether the site published misinformation or satire.]
That's their update after slandering the Bee as a site that "traffics in misinformation under the guise of satire."
This is still awful and malicious and precisely worded to be so.
Look where the Bee is mentioned in the article. It's right after this sentence: "In 2019 and 2020, Facebook often dealt with far-right misinformation sites that used 'satire' claims to protect their presence on the platform."
"Oh, what far-right misinformation sites?" anyone who reads the article will ask themselves.
The very next sentence lobs a shot at the Bee.
Rat king is CLEARLY implying that the Bee is one of the aforementioned right-wing misinformation sites — and being that the Bee is the only example given of said sites, perhaps he's implying that we're the most prominent offender.
And I want you to notice how precisely worded the update is.
Isaac didn't just remove the defamatory sentence. He didn't say, "Update: In a previous version of this article, The Babylon Bee, which is one of the most popular satire websites in the world, was unfairly characterized as a misinformation site knowingly spreading falsehoods under the guise of satire. We regret the error."
That would have been the appropriate thing to do.
No, instead he said the Bee "has feuded with Facebook and the fact-checking site Snopes over whether the site published misinformation or satire."
The casual reader will take that to mean that it is questionable whether the Bee publishes satire OR misinformation. That's the precise wording. That's how it reads. But he used the word "published" instead of "publishes" so he can claim he was only referring to a few specific instances when the Bee beefed with Snopes and Facebook.
And the links — oh, the links!
In rat king's update, the words "has feuded" are linked to this fact-check from Snopes. Which is amazing. Because if you click through to that fact-check and scroll down just below the headline you'll see that Snopes rated our article not "False" but "Satire."
EVEN BETTER, just below that, you'll notice this:
That's right, in a link to substantiate the claim that the Bee has "feuded with fact-checking site Snopes over whether the site published misinformation or satire," there is a big orange box in which Snopes explicitly states the opposite and denies that they meant to "impute deceptive intent on the part of the Babylon Bee."
Also in rat king's update, the words "fact-checking site Snopes" are hyperlinked to this clowntown article from Snopes.
I could write an entire book about how bad that piece is and how ridiculous and nonsensical their supposed "survey" was. Instead I'd like to point you to this part of the article:
I wonder if Mike Isaac the New York Times Rat King has ever, or would ever, accuse Stephen Colbert or The Onion of "trafficking in misinformation under the guise of satire." The Onion has been fact-checked by Snopes before. I wonder if rat boy has ever, or would ever categorize that as "a feud over whether the site published misinformation or satire."
I mean it says right there in the Snopes article that The Onion "is misunderstood so often that there's a large online community dedicated to ridiculing those who have been fooled"!
That's fooling A LOT of people! Is this not problematic? Is this not worthy of the same harsh treatment Mike Isaac and the New York Times give the Bee? Or does The Onion get a pass because they're liberals?
I think we all know the answer to that.
Also, I'm sure it's just a coincidence that during this whole dust-up Mike Isaac's most recent media tweet is a screen grab from a comic published by ... The Onion.
I'm sure he didn't know. I'm sure he just found it via a Google search or something. I'm sure.
Mike Isaac the Rat King is a fine representative of the New York Times. Their update is unsatisfactory and we at The Babylon Bee continue to discuss our options.
P.S. Bee CEO Seth Dillon is scheduled to be on Shannon Bream tomorrow night ... don't miss it 😊
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Full disclosure: Adam Ford is founder and part-owner of The Babylon Bee.