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Sunday, August 07, 2016

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:
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 failures.
“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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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. 

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At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Snopes has tiptoed around the edges since mid-2008, if not before. I learned the hard way to read their grammar VERY carefully. When ChoomDaddy appeared, they became dissemblers. One wonders if they were part of JournoList.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger InMemoryOf Yossi said...

Snopes lost credibility years ago.

At 6:51 AM, Blogger Yakov Butterfield said...

Snopes lost credibility dealing with anything in Israel, such as Fluoride in the Water.


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