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Wednesday, September 22, 2021
MRC Lies To Again Portray Babylon Bee As Victim
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loves to portray the Babylon Bee as a victim of social media "censorship" because its right-wing satire tends to get fact-checked -- while omitting the context that it gets fact-checked because its fellow right-wingers like to potray its satire as fact (while it also fact-checks satire). Autumn Johnson did this again in an Aug, 18 post:

Lead Stories, a liberal fact-checker site, labeled a satire article from The Babylon Bee as “false.”

The fact-check on the Facebook post said the article had “false information” and that “independent fact-checkers say the information has no basis in fact.”

The Bee article mockingly accused CNN of “praising” the Taliban for wearing masks during its Afghanistan takeover.


The Babylon Bee has been subjected to multiple fact-checks for its satire.

But that's not what happened here. The Babylon Bee article was promoted in a Facebook post that literally states, "This is no joke." In other words, Johnson is lying to her readers by omitting the context in which the "fact-check" was made.

Johnson also rehashed the MRC's old attacks on Lead Stories, declaring that "Notably, Lead Stories is no stranger to left-wing bias." But it's not "left-wing bias" to point out that a story that someone presented as "no joke"is, in fact, a joke.

This was followed by an Aug. 24 post by Johnson in which she let the Babylon Bee play victim yet again:

Facebook is doubling down on its efforts to suppress conservative satire, according to Seth Dillion, CEO of The Babylon Bee.

Dillon said Facebook uses biased fact-checkers to flag content that leans conservative, especially satire that makes fun of prominent Democrats like President Biden and Speaker Pelosi.

"Facebook uses politically aligned fact-checkers to flag, suppress, and sometimes remove content they deem objectionable. This is not necessarily an issue, but it becomes an issue when it results in politically motivated viewpoint discrimination done under the guise of cracking down on ‘misinformation’ and ‘hate speech,’" Dillon told Fox News on Monday. "We're certainly getting caught up in that."

Dillon believes Facebook’s efforts resulted in traffic dips from the platform and noted that the platform seems to be classifying the publication’s content as “news” instead of “satire.”

But neither Dillon nor the Fox News article from which Johnson pulls her post don't address the issue of people presenting Babylon Bee satire as fact, which is what prompts the fact-checks. Indeed, Fox News was determined to help push the false narrative, complaining that "In 2018, Snopes fact-checked a Babylon Bee satire article claiming that CNN had bought a washing machine to 'spin the news.'" In fact, the Snopes article specifically states: "Although it should have been obvious that the Babylon Bee piece was just a spoof of the ongoing political brouhaha over alleged news media 'bias' and 'fake news,' some readers missed that aspect of the article and interpreted it literally." Again, a "satire" article was fact-checked because people presented it as fact.

Johnson went on to reference her earlier post, repeating her false statement that "Lead Stories, a liberal fact-checker site, recently labeled a satire article from The Babylon Bee as 'false'" -- again omitting the fact that it had been posted on Facebook by someone asserting it was "no joke."

This is "media research" at its shoddiest.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:44 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 22, 2021 4:27 PM EDT

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