Satirie site The Babylon Bee took on The New York Times and won. Censored by Facebook back in March, The Babylon Bee became the subject of a Times story in which the Grey Lady claimed that the Bee was an example of a "far-right misinformation site" that "sometimes trafficked in misinformation under the guise of satire."
Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon asked for a retraction, and they got it. Dillon posted to Twitter that the Times had responded to the letter and actually removed the defamatory statements from the article.
The letter sent to Bee counsel read "We have carefully reviewed the concerns raised in your letter and, in response to those concerns, we have removed the reference to the Babylon Bee from the article and appended a correction."
Dillon said that the Bee's objection asked that the sentence stating that they trafficked in misinformation be removed. When the Times made their correction, they did not pull or update the sentence, instead they replaced it with an update that said the Bee had "feuded with [Snopes] and [Facebook] about whether [the Bee is] information or satire." This was also not accurate.
The most recent correction, which appears to be the final, reads that "An earlier version of this article referred imprecisely to the Babylon Bee, a right-leaning satirical website, and a controversy regarding the handling of its content by Facebook and the fact-checking site Snopes. While both Facebook and Snopes previously have classified some Babylon Bee articles as misinformation, rather than satire, they have dropped those claims, and the Babylon Bee denies that it has trafficked in misinformation."
In April, Facebook demonetized the satirical page over a joke. The social media giant blocked a post and then demonetized the page over a joke that Facebook said was "promoting crime." The joke was making fun of rioters.
October 2020 saw a showdown between Facebook and the Bee too. Facebook suppressed the Bee's posts after they ran a story about Sen. Mazie Hirono's (D-HI) outright disgust with Amy Coney Barrett, only reversing course after media outrage forced their hand.
In "Senator Hirono Demands ACB Be Weighed Against A Duck To See If She Is A Witch," the Bee posited that Hirono and her fellow Democrats had "suspicions" that Barrett "might be a practitioner of the dark arts."
Stealing liberally from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the Bee joked that Hirono said "Oh, she's a witch alright, just look at her... Just look at the way she's dressed and how she's so much prettier and smarter than us! She's in league with Beelzebub himself, I just know it! We must burn her!"
At the time, The Post Millennial asked Seth Dillon, Babylon Bee CEO, why he thinks Facebook came down so much harder on the Bee for this one, given that they've tangled before. After the story was flagged by fact checkers, the Bee filed an appeal, as is the process. That appeal was denied.
"It's just difficult for us to believe that Facebook has decided to double down on this enforcement decision," Dillon said. "We fully expected that once a real person reviewed the article, they'd see that it's just a rehashed Monty Python joke put out there by a satire site. It literally couldn't be more silly or harmless. Yet here we are."
USA Today actually issued a "fact-check" of the Bee for a story titled "Ninth Circuit Court Overturns Death Of Ruth Bader Ginsburg." It was in response to the Bee's story that read "a landmark ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg," and jokingly quoted the court as saying "we will block any [nomination] attempt until we figure out a way to resurrect her or maybe clone her and restore her to her already 'legally alive' state. We're still figuring that part out."
Fact-checker Chelsey Cox wrote the fact-check, "Fact check: Satirical claim that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Ginsburg’s death...Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died of metastatic pancreatic cancer Sept. 18, is actually 'alive,' the article suggests, because the 9th Circuit overturned her death."
"We rate this claim SATIRE, based on our research. A satirical article about the 9th Circuit "overturning" Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death has no basis in fact. It is true that the 9th Circuit has ruled against many Trump-era policies."
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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