Nobody does modern satire like the Babylon Bee. If you’re even remotely familiar with the Bee, you know how well they skewer politicians and cultural tastemakers on both sides. They also riff beautifully on church culture, and they’ve recently begun a podcast that’s both hilarious and thoughtful.
The Babylon Bee is so good at what they do that some outlets have begun to believe that too many people fall for the Bee’s work. Christianity Today, a magazine that seems to tilt further to the left with every passing year, published a “study” last month that concluded that too many people fall for the Babylon Bee as real news rather than satire. They cited another “study” that claimed that lots of conservatives thought that Stephen Colbert was an actual conservative pundit. (Whatever. I’m calling bull on both counts.)
And then there’s a site that has become one of the Babylon Bee’s favorite targets lately: Snopes. The fact-checking site, which once at least appeared to be as non-biased as it claims, has taken to checking the veracity of some of the Bee’s most realistic articles. Remember the flap over Georgia State Representative Erica Thomas? When the Babylon Bee skewered her situation with an article joking that Thomas had a run in with a Chick-fil-A employee, Snopes decided to “fact check” the satire, as though anybody would believe that a Georgia native would have any problem with a Chick-fil-A employee’s behavior.
I remind you of all of this, dear reader, because the Babylon Bee did a piece on Snopes back in January that has turned into a Snopes-fulfilling prophecy in September. In January, the Bee wrote this article:
(The September time stamp proves how timeless the story is, and the Babylon Bee reminds readers of it from time to time.)
In typical fashion, the Babylon Bee gets their satire spot on with this one.
The fact-checking website will now label inaccurate claims that they deem “morally right” with the new label, giving public figures whose hearts are in the right place a pass.
“We were often running into situations were a truth claim was absolutely absurd, but it supported progressive causes,” said one Snopes editor. “So sometimes we just called it a ‘Mixture,’ but then people might get the idea that our favorite politicians are being slightly dishonest sometimes.”
Over the weekend, Snopes posted this:
Pay particular attention to the tweet itself, the text of which also serves as the sub-heading for the article: “An intriguing rumor about cultural theft and fried chicken lacks concrete evidence but alludes to a deeper truth.”
The claim remains “unproven” by Snopes, but the article sets up the claim:
The African Diaspora Facebook page wrote: “Meet Mrs. Childress. Colonel Sanders Stole His Famous Fried Chicken Recipe From A Black Woman Named Mrs. Childress. He later paid her $1,200 for her recipe. KFC is worth 15 Billion Dollars today.”
An image purported to be of Childress accompanies the Facebook claim, but Snopes notes that the illustration actually came from a racist advertisement from the 1920s. The author of the article also notes that there’s evidence to back up the claim that Col. Sanders “stole” his recipe (for $1,200) for fried chicken.
Even as the article concludes with a rating of “unproven” on the claim, the author seems willing to admit that it could have happened, because…you know…racism.
Sanders might have borrowed and taken elements of several fried chicken recipes, perhaps some of them invented by, or passed down or shared between, African American women — in the way that many recipes evolve and change over the years. “Miss Childress” might simply be a stand-in or symbolic victim in the wider legacy of appropriation and intellectual property theft that characterized much of the cultural relations between whites and blacks in early 20th-century America.
So Snopes can’t prove a claim, but one of its fact-checkers sees fit to editorialize that, because racism was unfortunately so pervasive in past eras, the claim could be true in one form or another. It sounds astonishingly like the Babylon Bee’s parody: “factually inaccurate but morally right.”
Is the Babylon Bee so far ahead of the curve culturally that it can predict Snopes’ every move, or has Snopes become as predictably leftist as so many other outlets? I’ll let you assign your own fact check to this one.