August 20, 2010

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
- Juvenal

Literally, "Who will guard the guards themselves?", have you ever wondered about those flame responses citing snopes.com as an authoritarian debunker of the e-mail and internet stories, claims and other incredible particles we come across on our journey down electron-strewn corridors.

I got the following snopes debunking just the other day:

SNOPES EXPOSED
For the past few years (http://www.snopescom/ 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 that 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 snopes.com to get what they think to be the bottom line fact '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://http//www.wikipedia.org/ or http://http//www.snopes.com/

I have found this to be true also! Many videos of Obama I tried to verify on Snopes and they said they were False. Then they gave their liberal slant! I have suspected some problems with snopes for some time now, but I have only caught them in half-truths. If there is any subjectivity they do an immediate full left rudder.

Truth or Fiction, is a better source for verification, in my opinion.

http://www.truthorfiction.com/

I have recently discovered that Snopes.com is owned by a flaming liberal and this man is in the tank for Obama. There are many things they have listed on their site as a hoax and yet you can go to You tube yourself and find the video of Obama actually saying these things. So you see, you cannot and should not trust Snopes.com, ever for anything that remotely resembles truth! I don't even trust them to tell me if email chains are hoaxes anymore.

A few conservative speakers on Myspace told me about Snopes.com. A few months ago and I took it upon myself to do a little research to find out if it was true. Well, I found out for myself that it is true. Anyway just FYI please don't use Snopes.com anymore for fact checking and make your friends aware of their political leanings as well. Many people still think Snopes.com is neutral and they can be trusted as factual. We need to make sure everyone is aware that that is a hoax in itself.

Thank you,

Alan Strong, CEO/Chairman
Commercial Programming Systems, Inc.
4400 Coldwater Canyon Ave. Suite
200 Studio City , CA. 91604-5039

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'd heard this before.

But when I got to the signature block I almost fell off my chair. I knew this guy. Yeah, I worked as a contract computer programmer in the 80s and 90s and had a number of gigs through Alan Strong's company, CPS. So I will be seeking out Alan (if only to renew an old friendship) to find out what he knows and what documentation he has on his refutation of snopes. I am sure it will be interesting.

Not that I believe that snopes is a hoax. I mean, I can't believe that these folks are plotting to undermine conservative thought from their fortress in the San Fernando Valley. It's just I doubt everything some lib throws at me to debunk a story I have posted.It spoils all the fun.

Just for grins, I visited the WikiPedia entry on snopes and got this:

Snopes receives more complaints that it is too liberal than that it is too conservative, 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.

..and then trundled off to Factcheck itself and found a rebuttal to the liberal meme that seemed to be imbued with even-handedness and redolent with citations and references. But I am a little taken aback by the masthead at FactCheck:


You notice it says "A PROJECT OF THE ANNENBERG PUBLIC POLICY CENTER"? Ain't them the guys who sponsor all of that NPR crapola? Then they must be a bastion of conservative thought, right?

So now I am all turned around and just don't know whom to believe. I think I need to put John Stossel on speed dial so I can adjudicate these things.

You know, I think Ronald Reagan probably said it best:

"Trust but verify"

I'm going to get a drink. You want one while I am up?

-30-

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