If you have any right wing friends on social media who share some of these sketchy memes they pass around, then you may have confronted them with a fact checking article. If so, you have probably gotten this response. “Snopes is liberal!” This may or may not be true. However, one should resist the urge to fight that claim. Why? First, because it’s irrelevant. Secondly, because the person making that claim is using the very logical fallacy they are indirectly accusing you of.
Argument from authority.
Argument from authority is a logical fallacy that cites the support of a claimed authority as proof that an argument is correct. Hence, they attack your “authority” (Snopes) in an attempt to discredit them. However, Snopes isn’t an authority in this situation. They are merely compiling facts from other sources as they relate to a specific topic. Moreover, the question becomes who is the authority who declared Snopes to be liberal? More importantly, what difference does it make if they are?
Ask your conservative friend to complete the following equation. 2+2=_. I’m willing to bet that they will agree that the answer is 4. Why? Because facts aren’t partisan. There is no liberal or conservative math. A compass points in the same direction in red and blue states.
But Steve, Snopes is liberal!
Perhaps. And that might effect which facts they choose to check. However, the real question is one of accuracy. Is Snopes accurate? If so, their political lean is irrelevant to any particular fact they check. Moreover, the same holds true even if they are inaccurate. In other words, I can rely on them if they are accurate and I cannot if they are wrong. Their political bias is irrelevant.
“Truth or Fiction” is a fact checking site preferred by the right. Here is what they have to say about Snopes.
The bottom line is that if you try to report the truth, there will be those who don’t like the truth you’ve reported and who will develop suspicions about why you did.
That, in our view, is what is happening with Snopes.
Hence, when confronted with the “Snopes is liberal” argument I offer a simple response. “And? Show me where they have gotten it wrong.” I’ve yet to have an accuser provide me with such proof.
The problem here is not the aversion of the far right to Snopes. The problem is their aversion to facts. For example, this is a meme a Republican posted yesterday.
None of these statements are quotes of the person to whom they are attributed. The first three are misquoted, the last one is a complete fabrication.
Sheila Jackson Lee’s quote:
Lee also rattled off a set of prepared gun stats during the interview. She noted that “gun homicide is the leading cause of death” and the
second leading cause of death among young people aged 16-24 among
“No law abiding citizen in the United States of America has any fear that their Constitutional rights will be infringed in any way. None, zero. Look, common sense facts are these assault weapons are unnecessary and dangerous weapons that put our law enforcement personnel at risk…”Politifact
“Our health care system has pretty much dealt with the safety issue: thanks to Roe vs. Wade, abortion is now safer than getting your tonsils out.”
So you see, those who attack fact checkers aren’t at war with Snopes. They are at war with facts. They simply dislike the fact checkers because they discredit the disinformation that they spread.