Snopes goes political, destroys credibility
I assume that most of you have heard of the 'myth-busting' site Snopes.com
. Snopes forayed into politics
last week and may have destroyed its own credibility
. From the second link.
In January 2016, the Obama administration successfully negotiated the release
of four Americans who had been imprisoned in Iran in exchange for the
release of seven Iranians who had been imprisoned in the United States.
(A fifth American prisoner
was released separately.) At around the same time, the U.S.
airlifted the equivalent of USD$400 million in various currencies to
Tehran, sparking conspiracy theories about the timing:
As with other issues that would normally fall by the wayside in a
normal daily news cycle, the payout to Iran became prime fodder for yet
another election-year debate:
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) was among those who seized on the timing and cloak-and-dagger delivery method, which was first reported
by the Wall Street Journal, saying it proved suspicions that the Obama
administration had tried to hide a payment for the four Americans,
including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. GOP candidate Donald
Trump called it an example of the administration’s foreign policy
“Obama administration sent plane load of cash
to #Iran as ransom as part of deal on hostages. Just unreal,” tweeted
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a long-standing critic of the Iran talks.
State Department spokesman John Kirby joined Bill Hemmer
on "America's Newsroom" to defend a $400 million cash transfer to Iran
during the release of four Iranian-held U.S. hostages.
In reality, however, the money transfer was the result of a settlement of a long-standing claim at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in The Hague around the same time that the prisoners were released.
Kirby said the money had been frozen in a trust fund in the U.S. for decades and it was "their money."
He asserted that the fact that the transaction occurred during the
release of the detained Americans was "coincidental." Hemmer pressed
Kirby, saying that it appears that this cash transfer was kept secret
and was effectively a "ransom."
"It looks bad," Hemmer said.
So why should it bother us that $400 million was paid in small unmarked bills, in cash, via an unmarked airplane in violation of US law? At the third link, Robert Gehl explains:
So those are the facts. Yet Snopes conveniently leaves out one key
detail: the Iranians demanded this payment as a condition of releasing
those four Americans.
Whatever the terms were before, and whether or not we were going to
eventually give them this money anyway, is inconsequential. Iran
demanded the money, so we gave it to them. Period. But that’s not how
they see it:
“[T]he money transfer was the result of a settlement of a
long-standing claim at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in The Hague
around the same time that the prisoners were released. The Tribunal was
created specifically to deal with diplomatic relations between Iran and
the United States.”
Snopes spends most of the article rehashing points that nobody
disputes – the story was covered before, the money was owed to Iran, blah, blah, blah.
The point is that Snopes is conveniently glossing over the most
salient and important news item to come out of the initial story: that
Iran demanded the money in exchange for the hostages and that Iranian
officials call the money a “ransom payment.”
Snopes needs to go back to debunking claims of the Loch Ness Monster, Elvis and Hitler and stop playing with the big boys.
Sorry, but in my book Snopes no longer has any credibility on anything political.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Iran Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran sanctions regime, Iranian nuclear threat, kidnapping, ransom, Snopes.com