If you’ve ever received by email a desperate plea for help from the 90-year-old widow of the Sultan of Nigeria to “please to allow as desperate assistance forthwith transfer the sum of US20000000000000000 into your bank account for which you will kindly be entitled to a fidners fee of 23.74% ass establish under INTERPOL and the funds of the legal European Union, praise be God and find you well,” then perhaps you’ve visited Snopes.com. I certainly hope so.
Snopes, as you then probably know, catalogs and debunks (or in some cases verifies) urban legends. Run by a husband-and-wife team, it started out as a way to investigate whether a teenage girl in the ’50s really had her brain eaten by spiders, or whether AIDS Mary was really trolling bars in your neighborhood wickedly seeking to infect you by taking a sip from your Captain Morgan’s and Coke. In the years since its launch, Snopes has migrated into a sort of bullshit-cop role, tracking down and debunking the completely jackass tickets to looneyville that people seem to send out on the internet for God Knows Why.
If you’ve read any significant number of the articles on Snopes, then you may have quibbles with them here and there. But I think it’s unlikely you think husband and wife team of David and Barbara Mikelson are, say, French agents, crypto-Islamist fanatics, Kenyans, or The Devil.
Well, my friend, that’s about to change.
Do you want to know who funds Snopes? The chilling answer is spelled out in a still-circulating email that’s actually old news — from, roughly, the era of the 2008 election. Public-speaker something-or-other sort of garden-variety wingnut Dr. Leonard Coldwell posted it at DrLeonardColdwell.com.
The message, and the post, are helpfully entitled “Snopes Exposed Don’t use snopes – Do not use snopes!” for people who have short attention spans.
In case you missed it in the title of the post, by the way, just remember the helpful URL: http://drleonardcoldwell.com/2010/08/13/snopes-exposed-dont-use-snopes-do-not-use-snopes/ — this guy really means you shouldn’t trust Snopes, shouldn’t trust snopes, no seriously, seriously. Do. Not. Trust. SNOPES. Also, don’t trust Snopes, in case you were wondering.
The gent, Alan Strong, claims to be “CEO/Chairman, Commercial Programming Systems, Inc., 4400 Coldwater Canyon Ave. Suite 200 in Studio City. And whatever they “program,” it sure isn’t HTML — the visible HTML tags below are not mine but those of “Alan Strong,” who, by the way, helpfully repeats himself yet again, after the headline, in the first line of his post — just in case you missed his central message.
Snopes Exposed Don’t use snopes – Do not use snopes!
I might add they have reported to the Justice Department with regard to not telling the truth about aspartame, even after information was given that confirmed they were wrong.
Snopes receives funding from an undisclosed source. The source is undisclosed because Snopes refuses to disclose that source. The Democratic Alliance, a funding channel for uber-Leftist (Marxist) Billionaires (George Soros etc.), direct funds to an “Internet Propaganda Arm” pushing these views. The Democratic Alliance has been reported to instruct Fundees to not disclose their funding source.
…several even weirder paragraphs omitted…
A few months ago, when my State Farm agent Bud Gregg in Mandeville hoisted a political sign referencing Barack Obama and made a big splash across the Internet, ‘supposedly’ the Mikkelson’s claim to have researched this issue before posting their findings on <http://snopes.com>snopes.com. In their statement they claimed the corporate office of State Farm pressured Gregg into taking down the sign, when in fact nothing of the sort ‘ever’ took place. I personally contacted David Mikkelson (and he replied back to me) thinking he would want to get to the bottom of this and I gave him Bud Gregg’s contact phone numbers – and Bud was going to give him phone numbers to the big exec’s at State Farm in Illinois who would have been willing to speak with him about it. He never called Bud. In fact, I learned from Bud Gregg that no one from <http://snopes.com>snopes.com ever contacted anyone with State Farm.
Yet, <http://snopes.com>snopes.com issued a statement as the ‘final factual word’ on the issue as if they did all their homework and got to the bottom of things – not!
Then it has been learned the Mikkelson’s are very Democratic (party) and extremely liberal. As we all now know from this presidential election, liberals have a purpose agenda to discredit anything that appears to be conservative. There has been much criticism lately over the Internet with people pointing out the Mikkelson’s liberalism revealing itself in their website findings. Gee, what a shock?
So, I say this now to everyone who goes to <http://snopes.com>snopes.com to get what they think to be the bottom line fact ‘proceed with caution.’ Take what it says at face value and nothing more. Use it only to lead you to their references where you can link to and read the sources for yourself. Plus,you can always search a subject and do the research yourself.
I have found this to be true also! Many videos of Obama I tried to verify on Snopes and they said they were False. Then they gave their liberal slant! I have suspected some problems with snopes for some time now, but I have only caught them in half-truths. If there is any subjectivity they do an immediate full left rudder.
I have recently discovered that <http://Snopes.com>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 You tube yourself and find the video of Obama actually saying these things. So you see, you cannot and should not trust <http://Snopes.com>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 <http://aboutSnopes.com>aboutSnopes.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. Anyway just FYI please don’t use <http://Snopes.com>Snopes.com anymore for fact checking and make your friends aware of their political leanings as well. Many people still <http://thinkSnopes.com>thinkSnopes.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.
Okay, just on a purely I-had-one-semester-of-journalism-school level, when your first line is “I might add,” you’re really asking for Jason Robards’s wingtip so far up your ass that you’ll be sneezing his toes for six months. On an HTML level? WTF is going on there!?!?
That Bud Gregg case referred to by Strong, incidentally, is the one Snopes un-debunked already — the guy who got in trouble with State Farm for holding an anti-Obama sign back during the election.
But who is Dr. Leonard Coldwell, and why does he cut and paste chain letters into his blog without stripping out the HTML tags?
Well, Dr. Coldwell doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, so I have to rely on his bio on his site. I’ll skip all the shit about how he’s a doctor who cures cancer and has some kind of bullshit wingnut magic radio show and all that. I’ll skip right to the weird part:
Dr. Leonard Coldwell is a strong supporter of our troops. He was the keynote speaker at the Rally for the Troops “Let Freedom Ring”. His powerful speech was broadcasted worldwide by Clear Channel Radio and because of popular demand constantly repeated. He is recognized by US President George W. Bush, the US Congress, and the South Carolina Governor, as well as senators, congressmen and the leaders of the veteran organization and churches around the country. His support for the MUSC ended with a standing ovation. President Barack Obama thanked Dr. Coldwell for his support.
Congressman Joe Wilson presented Dr. Coldwell at the US Congress with a special recognition that stated: “Best wishes to my good friend Dr. Leonard Coldwell, appreciate your promotion of Democracy.” Warmest Regards, Joe Wilson Member of Congress.
…The Honorable Joe Wilson being, of course, the U.S. Congressional Representative who screamed “You Lie!” during Barack Obama’s healthcare address to Congress, an ejaculation that got him rewarded by a gun manufacturer with his own line of Joe Wilson You Lie Commemorative Receivers for the AR-15.
It’s true: Weird attracts weird, apparently.
Alan Strong does appear to be a real person, and the founder of a company by the name he claims, or at least the website claiming to be for said company.
On this, my usual go-to site, Snopes.com, is no help whatsoever. Sadly, a search on Snopes.com for “Leonard Coldwell” or “Alan Strong” gets me bubba-diddley. Sad face.
Oh, here’s the Snopes post on aspartame, though. It’s awesome.
Can I just say there is SOME truth in the rumours that snopes is not to be trusted.
Snopes does indeed gain money for biased reports into aspartame.
I and many other epilepsy sufferers of whoms seizures are triggered by this substance challenged snopes. They ADMITTED it!
Yes, the stories have gone “Chinese whispers” but the basic story is TRUE.
F — Yeah, I gotta agree with “oak” here. “Snopes does indeed gain money for biased reports into aspartame.” Reference please? This sounds like complete made-up insanity, almost worthy of a Birther. If Diet Coke advertises on the Snopes site, well…I don’t think that’s really smoke, let alone fire. But you haven’t even bothered to give us that.
“I and many other epilepsy sufferers of whoms seizures are triggered…” Reference please? Preferably peer reviewed, not just someone who thinks their disease is caused by X cause? There are many people convinced that problems they experience come from specific sources; you’re really, really reaching to turn that on Snopes. How about people who think their schizophrenia is called by chemtrails? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
The neurotoxin accusations against aspartame are thin at best, so I’d like to see a reference.
“They ADMITTED it!” — Huh? I read every Snopes page even vaguely relating to aspartame, and I don’t remember anything about them admitting that they’re being paid to write nice things about the sweetener. Perhaps you could offer a link?
Chinese Whispers: http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/chinese+whispers.html
“The basic story is TRUE” — you have not established this; you have not argued for it; you have done nothing but state it. In vague terms. The basic story is NOT TRUE, as far as I’m concerned. Give me something to work with and I’ll consider, for one second that you’re not a lunatic.
Otherwise, you’re left in the same category as “Dr.” Leonard Coldwell, who’s flat-out nuts.