Of all the email I get, I don't know why this one bugged me so much.
Here is an email accusing Snopes.com of deliberately "lying" and "covering up" for the Obama administration. From the look of it, this claim has been around quite a while and seems to have grown out of the "birther" movement of people who seem to think Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
Skepticism 101 tells me that since this is an anonymous email which does not cite even one specific incident to back the claim, it is likely that it is completely unsubstantiated.
However, it demonstrates the kind of argument skeptics are faced with all the time, and this type of email is the kind that tends to eventually wind up in every inbox on the planet. Despite its completely unsubstantiated claims, obvious political agenda, and numerous logical fallacies, people can easily end up persuaded by things like this.
A web search led me to more than a few sites with similar claims.
Anyway, here it is....
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 Youtube yourself and find the video of Obama or others actually saying these things. So it's up to you, but what is the value of "truth or fiction" checks if the source is faulty? I simply can't 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. This website is backing Obama and is covering up for him. They will say anything that makes him look bad is a hoax and they also tell lies on the other side about McCain and Palin.
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.
I have found a copy of something very similar to this letter, but with a signature here
I am admittedly a regular user of Snopes and a strong supporter of the site, but feel I should still ask this question if only to avoid being an A Priori skeptic and dismissing this claim out of hand, without at least considering it.
In short, I think it would be more effective to disprove this claim than dismiss it.
So I have to ask:
Is there any validity to this claim that Snopes is biased and inaccurate?
What are the facts about the reliability of Snopes, its objectivity and its ability to self-correct?
What is the best evidence skeptics can use to defend a commonly cited reference like Snopes against claims like this?