Yes, I was tempted to work in the word “dopes,” but resisted the temptation.
As a young man in 1973 I watched a big-hit movie called The Sting. It starred Robert Redford and Paul Newman, and the plot involved an elaborate charade to convince a very wealthy man that he had a good chance of winning a pile of money if he bet on a certain horse. They had large chalkboards and men on ladders listing and changing horse racing outcomes and betting odds, all fake. The man bet, lost a bundle, but importantly, once the ‘sting’ had occurred it was understood that it be permanent. He could never know he’d been had.
I learned quite a bit from this movie, one thing that the expression “con-game” is based on the word “confidence.” In order to be stung, we have to trust the people sticking it to us. Without trust, people are much harder to fool. Thus in our world do news media outlets and journalists go to great lengths to project an aura of reliability, holding a code of ethical behavior that shields them as they lie with impunity.
Brian Williams was once the lead anchor for NBC news, and took a fall. I happened to think that he was a gifted entertainer, perhaps the funniest news man who ever lived. In interviews outside his job he could hold his own with any comedian, even Jon Stewart on the Daily show. In one episode where he was the guest, he mentioned Walter Cronkite, and told Stewart that yes, indeed, people in the news business looked up to and admired Cronkite, just as people in Stewart’s business did so with Carrot Top.
Williams was demoted after publicly claiming that a helicopter in which he was a passenger was nearly hit by missiles, a boldfaced lie. But that could not possibly be the reason, as boldfaced lying is part of the job of any news anchor. More likely, I suspected, Williams lost his position due to his less-than-serious demeanor outside of news, his sense of humor and willingness to step up and confront comics in a comical way. He really could have succeeded as a standup comic, as I viewed it. As such, he lacked gravitas. He was no Walter Cronkite, but rather was more like the Robin Williams of news.
I distinctly remember one interview wherein Williams discussed his job as lead anchor for NBC. He said that he wrote the news, and was constantly changing it as information trickled in during commercial breaks. This was a lie, as “news” originates from a single source so that all outlets repeat the same lies. It can be no other way. Patrons of FOX and NPR, supposedly at opposite ends of our razor-thin ideological spectrum, imagine themselves intellectually superior folks, but believe the same lies fed from slightly different menus designed to appeal to different personality types. There can be no variance. All news outlets right now, from the New York Times down to Democracy Now! are claiming that Russia has invaded the Ukraine. In an effective propaganda system, all news is the same. All read from a common source, likely contained within the Intelligence cartel, maybe even in Langley. (By the way, Ukraine is off-topic, but regarding the Russian invasion, I doubt it is happening.)
(By the way, I love the New York Times tagline, “All the News That Fits”, as it is a double entendre, and probably intentional. We are to imagine that the newspaper is packing each edition with everything that will fit in a certain number of pages, and between advertisements. I take it to mean that the Times knows that the ideological content of its news cannot be at odds with power, and must “fit” within the ideology of our system of indoctrination. Similarly, the Washington Post claims that “Democracy Dies in Darkness”. More easily it could change “Dies” to “Died.”)
What, you may wonder at this point, does this have to do with Snopes? It has been annoying me for a long time. More than two years ago, when I was on Facebook, I bristled when some yokel claimed that a story was true. He had, you see, “Snoped it.” In other words, he had gone to an imperial source and found the truth. How easy to lie to this guy, so gullible!
Snopes was created in 1994, just prior to the advance of the Internet. Its founders, David and Barbara Mikkelson, each owned 50% until their divorce, at which time, it appears, Barbara was bought out. David has a checkered past, having been outed in 2021 by BuzzFeed as having plagiarized 54 articles from 2015-2019. He has admitted to the misdeeds, and is currently suspended from duties at Snopes. This part needs fact checking: He is said to have married Elyssa Young, a former escort and porn star in Las Vegas. Mikkelson currently lives in Tacoma, and is said to have a net worth of $80 million.
None of that matters. I have long suspected Snopes to be an Intelligence front, and its founders in truth to be actors. But I cannot prove such a thing – I can only assert that Snopes always follows the party line, never truthfully fact-checking anything that is put forth by our propaganda system.
Regarding Mikkelson, plagiarism is not a crime (it is a “tort”, subject to legal damages), though engaging in it shows a defect in character. He can marry anyone he wants. These things tend to mar his credibility as the man behind a revered fact-checking website. But this post is less about Snopes than “fact-checking” in general. It is a sting operation.
We all know the story of John Stossel’s lawsuit against Facebook for defamation. That outfit labeled a post he did on Climate Change as “misleading”. In case anyone is not aware, Facebook has long taken it upon itself to set the record straight, not only on Climate Change, but on Covid and AIDS and the moon landings, or all of the LOOT, or Lies of Our Times. It is a guardian at the cave entrance. Stossel sued, and yes, we know this is just lawyers being lawyers, doing anything to win a case, but their defense of Facebook was as follows: Facebook’s “Fact Checkers” are merely offering opinions, and as such cannot be sued.
Fair enough. Fact checkers lie, just like everyone, and are protected in those lies by organizations who employ them by falling back on that flimsy defense. There is no law that says that news organizations have to tell the truth, and no law that says fact checkers have to check facts. It’s all a game, and a rigged game at that.
Fact checking, like news, is a confidence game. It’s objective has nothing to do with truth, but rather with public trust. They willingly go along with power. Snopes has run 269 Covid-related articles, many of them just links to news stories, some “fact checks.” I’ve been perusing these and find them to be carefully worded to avoid outright lying, but also failing to ask the right questions.
For instance, it’s been asserted here and at other websites such as Drs. Andrew Kaufman’s and Tom Cowan that masking and social distancing are nothing more than psychological manipulation and that the Covid-19 vaccines are dangerous, even deadly. As of this moment, the Open-VAERS website linked on our blogroll reports over 24,000 Covid-vaccine deaths and 133,000 hospitalizations. How does Snopes treat this information, which is actually a repeat of information provided by Health and Human Services? They weasel-word by highlighting an absurd claim that there are more vaccine deaths than Covid deaths, easily defeating that particular claim and thereby deliberately missing the whole point. It’s a misdirection tactic, nothing more. ***
VAERS stands for Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, a website monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The figures on the site reflect the fact that it’s a public reporting tool, not a vaccine death toll.
“VAERS accepts reports of any adverse event following any vaccination,” according to the CDC. “Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.”
The CDC also said the COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and that reports of deaths from the vaccines are rare:
“More than 339 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through July 19, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 6,207 reports of death (0.0018%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause. Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem. A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines. However, recent reports indicate a plausible causal relationship between the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and TTS, a rare and serious adverse event—blood clots with low platelets—which has caused deaths.”
Significant adverse reactions from COVID-19 vaccines are rare, but when they do happen, they are usually the result of an allergic reaction.
That last line, written by Snopes fact-checker Bathania Palma, is a blatant and outright lie. The words above about the J&J vaccine and some associated deaths have a ‘strategic retreat’ feel about them. In addition, the 0.0018% figure used is a lie, that is, they are reporting 6,207 deaths (written in July of 2021, that number most likely wildly inaccurate, but does anyone fact-check this stuff?) divided by 339,000,000**** vaccinations (again, fact-check, anyone?) – do you see the diversion? The true death rate would be 6,207 divided by the number of people injected, not the number of injections. And anyway, Snopes might also report the Harvard Pilgrim Medical study linked below that claims that only 1% of serious adverse vaccine events are even reported to CDC. That’s a lie by omission.
Snopes is defending the WHO/CDC narrative that the vaccines are “safe and effective.” Snopes is deliberately trying to deflect information reported by VAERS by downplaying VAERS as unreliable. If Snopes were a real fact-checking organization, they would do more than deflect and misdirect. They would actually follow through and try to get to the bottoms of the VAERS controversy. Instead, Snopes reflexively falls back on official pronouncements of government agencies and other authority figures. There’s a word for that: propaganda.
Here’s something Snopes could fact-check: The Department of Health and Human Services awarded a $1 million grant to track VAERS reporting at Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare over a three year period. This study reported that less than 1% of vaccine-related adverse events were being reported to CDC. The researchers went the distance and came up with a proposed system that would upgrade the reporting system and collect reported adverse events to something approaching 100%. Here’s the end of the report:
“Unfortunately, there was never an opportunity to perform system performance assessments because the necessary CDC contacts were no longer available and the CDC consultants responsible for receiving data were no longer responsive to our multiple requests to proceed with testing and evaluation.”
“However, real data transmissions of non-physician approved reports to the CDC was unable to commence, as, by the end of this project, the CDC had yet to respond to multiple requests to partner for this activity.”
CDC knew the system was broken, and did not want to fix it. Why? CDC is not talking, but we can speculate: The vaccine regime run by pharmaceutical companies is extremely corrupt. We know this because that industry approached Congress to immunize them from lawsuits caused by vaccine-caused adverse events. That Congress went along with this scheme speaks volumes about the power that resides in PhRMA. It is therefore safe to speculate that PhRMA controls CDC, and PhRMA did not want an effective adverse event reporting system. So, CDC shut down the Harvard Pilgrim study.
There. I’ve now reported more and done more fact-checking on the Covid-19 vaccine than Snopes. Furthermore, I’ve not resorted to misdirection and weasel words. I’ve simply reported what has happened, what has been reported by HHS, and about a study that HHS authorized and financed, only to have it shut down by CDC.
I fact-checked. Snopes could take a lesson here.
***(I might agree with that statement, as I regard the number of Covid deaths to be zero, given that a virus has never been isolated. But heck, that is because I fact check while others do not.)
**** Long after writing this today, and too easily letting that number, 339,000,000 slide off as having some serious meaning, I realized that our “fact-checker” was approximating the population of the US, 344 million at this time. “339”, spook alert, is 3333, but let’s not go there. Just understand that Snopes made it up. It’s a lie. Most people I know have vaxxed, but let’s not kid ourselves. The number of unvaxxed far exceeds official truth.