Patterico's Pontifications

3/27/2016

Snopes Lamely Tries to Exonerate Emory Crybullies, Gets Facts Wrong [Updated]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:28 am

[guest post by JVW]

As a follow-up to last night’s post on the recent kerfuffle at Emory, I see that the website Snopes, which describes itself as “the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation,” has weighed in. In what seems to be a curious take on the subject, the snopes blogger Kim LaCapria focuses on the claim that Emory students “were offered ’emergency counseling’ after pro-Trump graffiti appeared overnight in campus ‘safe spaces,'” and judges it to be “mostly false,” decreeing the following:

WHAT’S TRUE: Students at Emory University gathered in protest after pro-Trump graffiti appeared overnight; administrators investigated the graffiti as it appeared outside designated areas for chalk markings.

WHAT’S FALSE: “Emergency counseling” was offered to or demanded by students; Emory students complained that their “safe spaces” had been violated; students were afraid of or traumatized by the chalk markings.

It strikes me as a bit odd that Ms. LaCapria is so fixated on the idea of emergency counseling being offered. Yes, as she points out, some conservative critics claimed that the school had offered the students “emergency counseling,” and in fact, the word “counseling” was not used in any official communication from Emory’s administration, let alone “emergency counseling.” But the administration did promise “. . . regular and structured opportunities for difficult dialogues, a formal process to institutionalize identification, review and [the] addressing of social justice opportunities and issues and a commitment to an annual retreat to renew our efforts,” and announced that the student government would be holding extra office hours “to provide Emory students an opportunity to discuss such support and inclusivity on Emory’s campus.” While this might not rise to the level of official counseling sessions with trained psychiatric professionals, it seems to me to be at least some sort of counseling or other.

But let’s put that aside for a moment, giving Ms. LaCapria the benefit of the doubt in her judgement. What can’t be explained away, though, is her puzzling assertion that students were not in fact “afraid of or traumatized by the chalk markings.” If that were the case, then how would Ms. LaCapria explain the following quotes from the article in the Emory Wheel campus newspaper:

An antiphonal chant addressed to University administration, led by College sophomore Jonathan Peraza, resounded “You are not listening! Come speak to us, we are in pain!” throughout the Quad. [. . .]

“I’m supposed to feel comfortable and safe [here],” one student said. “But this man is being supported by students on our campus and our administration shows that they, by their silence, support it as well. I don’t deserve to feel afraid at my school. . .” [. . .]

“What are we feeling?” Peraza asked those assembled. Responses of “frustration” and “fear” came from around the room. . . “

[bolded emphasis in all cases is added by me]

Though I have never been a huge believer in the idea that Snopes is part of a left-wing media cabal seeking to push a progressive agenda, I find it difficult to read this particular entry and not get the sense that Kim LaCapria sought to spin this controversy in a way to mitigate the damage that Emory crybullies and their venal and cowardly administration have done to their university. Honing in on the idea that the word “counseling” was never used, and the weird obsessiveness with debunking the idea that “emergency” counseling was offered is one thing, but Ms. LaCapria is flat-out wrong in her assertion that no students expressed fear or a sense of trauma at the chalkings.

I rate her coverage of the Emory Crybully Saga to be “Mostly False.”

UPDATE: MD in Philly, who at the moment is not in Philly, reminds us that this site has had opportunity in the past to call into question the Snopes ruling on disputed events. Thanks for the timely reminder.

– JVW

43 Responses to “Snopes Lamely Tries to Exonerate Emory Crybullies, Gets Facts Wrong [Updated]”

  1. If one wanted to be pedantic, one could argue that it wasn’t so much the chalkings to which the students were referring when they expressed their fear, but an overall campus climate manifested in the chalkings. But I think that is being too clever by half, considering it was the markings that precipitated this whole mess. Are we to believe that the students saw chalkings and weren’t scared by them, but that somehow they unlocked other deeply-harbored more general fears that the students had been repressing? Pardon my derisive laughter at that idea.

    JVW (9e3c77)

  2. if the emory piddlepoops are afraid of and/or traumatized by the chalk markings wait til they find out what they’ve done to their job prospects

    see ya

    wouldn’t wanna be ya

    happyfeet (831175)

  3. We have discussed on this blog in the past that Snopes has at least made errors of omission that would vindicate the conservative view of things.

    Never trust somebody who says they are an objective fact checker.
    Give me someone who will tell me their bias and then try to provide the best info on all sides of the story any day.

    MD in Philly (at the moment not in Philly) (441480)

  4. Thanks, MD. I’ve added an update:

    UPDATE: MD in Philly, who at the moment is not in Philly, reminds us that this site has had opportunity in the past to call into question the Snopes ruling on disputed events. Thanks for the timely reminder.

    JVW (9e3c77)

  5. I agree with you MD in Philly. Nobody is impartial so just tell me your bias so I can keep it in mind when I read your opinion. I really can’t understand the idea of fact checkers that can’t impartially check a fact. That would be an opinion checker to me.

    Rev. Hoagie ™ (e4fcd6)

  6. I’ve been following the Mikkelsons for over 25 years and have never found them to be dishonest. But when a judgment call is called for theirs is coloured by their perspective, which is that of middle-of-the-road Canadians. They also treat all reports skeptically, and interpret the subject’s published statements charitably.

    This particular article is not from the Mikkelsons, but it makes a good point. There doesn’t seem to be any reliable source for this business about emergency counselling being asked for or offered. It seems like it was a sarcastic response by a critic of these special snowflakes that somehow was then misunderstood and reported as an actual demand by them.

    Milhouse (87c499)

  7. It strikes me as a bit odd that Ms. LaCapria is so fixated on the idea of emergency counseling being offered.

    That is the specific claim she was analyzing. Snopes is not a political watchdog or analyst; it isn’t even a USAn site at all. It analyzes specific factual claims that circulate on the net; that’s all.

    Milhouse (87c499)

  8. Ah Snopes—in my experience a Snopes “debunking” comes with a whole wheelbarrow load of horse manure. When somebody tells me, “but Snopes says. . . ” I know I am dealing with a lilberal (and literal) moron.

    Skeptical Voter (1d5c8b)

  9. Sorry, “Skeptical Voter”, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Snopes is the gold standard for reliability — so long as it is dealing with factual claims, not with opinions.

    Milhouse (87c499)

  10. Problem is, Milhouse, that the Snopes piece implies that, since the words “emergency counseling” or “counseling” were nowhere to be found in the admin’s activities or statements, or immediate reporting, nothing remotely like dealing with the poor dears’ trauma was ever considered. And that it wasn’t necessary because the poor dears weren’t claiming trauma, anyway.

    Richard Aubrey (472a6f)

  11. Emory and their Trump problem… must have been a slow news day…

    jkstewart2 (a8ca85)

  12. I haven’t liked the Snopeses since they burned down Mr. Harris’s barn.

    nk (dbc370)

  13. Via Clarion Project, an adolescent in Khomeni’s Iran:

    As time went by, I realized that my interrogator had taken pity on me and decided to leave me outside the torture chambers from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day, blindfolded, cold and hungry, instead of physically torturing me. Sitting outside, I was forced to listen to the interrogators reciting passages the Koran, which they used to gain strength to flog political prisoners with thick factory cables. There, I also listened to screams of prisoners as they were brutally tortured by the barbarian Islamic regime’s interrogators.

    I can tell you that there is only one experience worse that being tortured: having to listen to others scream and beg, not for their lives but for their death.

    There are no words to describe what life in prison was like for a teenager who had never been apart from her parents, even for one night sleepover at her grandparents. From being a picky eater at home, I was forced to eat the terrible selection in Evin prison, where I found more than a couple times a toenail in the food.

    I also had to learn to discern the prisoners who were working as spies, providing information for the regime and prison authorities.

    In the end, I was given an 18-month sentence. In reality, according to the law, I should have been hanged for my anti-Islamic and anti-revolutionary views. To this day I have no idea why and how my life was spared.

    DNF (755a85)

  14. Snopes has been biased for years.

    SPQR (d7fa7f)

  15. Moderates exist, they just can’t help and want the government to handle Islamism:

    https://www.clarionproject.org/blog/cair/here-are-moderate-muslims-where-are-you

    Sounds straightforward.

    DNF (755a85)

  16. However much integrity the Mikkelsons may have, they aren’t Snopes and haven’t been for some time. Snopes is now like Vox or Politico of 538, they’ve got lots of other writers and they produce “content”.

    Gabriel Hanna (54dfae)

  17. It strikes me as a bit odd that Ms. LaCapria is so fixated on the idea of emergency counseling being offered.

    That is the specific claim she was analyzing. Snopes is not a political watchdog or analyst; it isn’t even a USAn site at all. It analyzes specific factual claims that circulate on the net; that’s all.

    Well, it was one of three specific claims she was judging false:

    WHAT’S FALSE: “Emergency counseling” was offered to or demanded by students; Emory students complained that their “safe spaces” had been violated; students were afraid of or traumatized by the chalk markings.

    Of course, I wouldn’t exactly say “. . . regular and structured opportunities for difficult dialogues” isn’t “counseling”. The other two claims judged false — “Emory students complained that their ‘safe spaces’ had been violated” and “students were afraid of or traumatized by the chalk markings” were both true.
    Incidentally, what does the acronym “USAn” mean in this context?

    CayleyGraph (353727)

  18. What is this word “Facts”

    f1guyus (5a4596)

  19. Just another chapter in the ongoing 70 year history of Baby Boomer stupidity. Everything we touched, we screwed up. The music was the sole good thing we did. These Emory students are the discharge of the Boomers, only a Boomer kid would dissolve into a wet spot when confronted with a chalked message. And these clowns are going to pay my Social Security and Medicare?????

    dee (00fef6)

  20. yes, their utter foolishness cannot be pointed out, because that two would be considered microagression,

    narciso (732bc0)

  21. note the snopes piece does not have an open comment link, unlike the emory wheel,

    narciso (732bc0)

  22. 19. Word, remember Chicago ’68? It’s coming back courtesy of the Boomers.

    MOTUS:

    Because both of the remaining people’s choice candidates will leave the GOPe Masters of Whiz in their dust. The nomination of either Trump or Cruz is a complete rejection and repudiation of the party’s leadership. It will be the end of Karl Rove, Bill Kristol, Mitt Romney, the Bushes, et al. They can pack up their white boards, briefcases, polls and crony capitalism and head back to the ranch.

    Pat Buchanan calls this cabal the Rule or Ruin Republicans – if they can’t rule, they will ruin the party by 1)brokering the convention and giving the nomination to someone the people don’t want or, in the event that doesn’t work, 2) run a third party candidate virtually guaranteeing a Hillary win. This strategy worked pretty well against the grass roots Tea Partiers who tried to usurp their power, so surely it will work against the new rubes and vulgarians at their gate.

    So here’s the deal, the GOPe is intent on undermining your candidate – regardless of who it is. Don’t be complicit. Don’t help them disassemble whichever candidate is not your first choice. They have enough gun power of their own, we don’t need to help them kneecap one of their mortal enemies.

    DNF (755a85)

  23. But they don’t call it the Party of Stupid for nothing, look in the mirror Boomer.

    DNF (ffe548)

  24. Accepting the analysis from someone who should know — Buchanan almost gave Florida and the Presidency to Gore in 2000 — the ruin is Trump, intended to cut out Cruz and put in the pantsuit.

    nk (dbc370)

  25. you can’t even get that right, they blamed buchanan for bush beating gore,

    narciso (732bc0)

  26. “They” were a few old Jewish ladies in Robert Wexler’s district who claimed that they were confused by Buchanan’s placement on the ballot making them hang their chads and also give them such a tsuris.

    nk (dbc370)

  27. Snowflakes and their #fauxrage ….. Can you just please get me my fries?

    Rodney King's Spirit (a089dc)

  28. The story was if not for Buchanan that Gore would have won. That was the Jewish girls’ story and they have died with lie….

    Rodney King's Spirit (a089dc)

  29. and wexler had a public relations firm, concoct the narrative, and hence 37 days of agony, while the hijackers were moving in for the kill,

    narciso (732bc0)

  30. But someone could also say that if not for the networks calling Florida for Gore an hour prior to the polls closing in the central time zone conservative panhandle, Bush would have racked up tens of thousands of more votes.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  31. well that’s where accident and coincidence join enemy action,

    narciso (732bc0)

  32. Snowflakes and their #fauxrage ….. Can you just please get me my fries?

    Rodney King’s Spirit (a089dc) — 3/27/2016 @ 8:57 pm

    They can all move to California. Not only is it a safe space that refuses to challenge their notions, but with Gov. Linda Ronstadt’s Main Squeeze having just signed legislation guaranteeing unemployment a gradual increase to 15.00/hr for a sandwich artiste (I think 10.00/hr starting Jan 1 ’17), it’s the perfect place for Snowflake to use their mad skills learned in some Womyn’s Studies major.

    Bill H (dcdd7b)

  33. Myself, as soon as dad passes away I’m selling the house and getting the hell out of Dodge. Everyone tells me the weather in Texas is awful compared to San Diego, but my rights as an American are far more likely to be respected there.

    Bill H (dcdd7b)

  34. I regret that I have to call out JVW for an horrendous microaggression …

    The word is JUDGMENT, you *twit* … there is only *one* “e” in ‘judgment’ !

    OY !

    (And now back to my customary innocent self !)

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  35. If you are looking at non-political issues, Snopes is good. Despite calling themselves non-partisan, they do tend to support the left version of events more often. When presented with contradictory facts, they get pedantic in an effort to support their claims.

    Zombie John Gotti (da3576)

  36. defending fascist emory trash is bad for the snopes brand i think

    it was a choice

    and they chose badly

    happyfeet (831175)

  37. Only half of Snopes (Barbara Mikkelson) is Canadian. David Mikkelson is American and they are in California.

    Ex-Snopester (b46412)

  38. If the Emorites are scared and scarred by chalked graffiti in support of Donald Trump, what are they going to do when they have to do something really radical like go out into the real world and compete for jobs? Rather than simply facing the horrible fact that some of their fellow students support Mr Trump, they will be subject to the judgement, and possible criticism, by people who have the power to decline to hire, or even fire, them?

    Well, no real need to worry about them: they are losers. The only real employment qualification they will need if the ability to remember the question. “Would you like fries with that?”

    The wryly amused Dana (f6a568)

  39. scared and scarred by chalked graffiti in support of Donald Trump

    Technically, Snopes is correct. Nobody was scared and scarred by graffiti in support of Donald Trump – theyre just trying to make support of Donald Trump unacceptable on campus.

    Sammy Finkelman (48f9c6)

  40. I had written a complaint to Snopes before seeing this article. My point was that he guts of the story were the over-reaction of the students and the Administration taking them seriously. These were true. It was misleading for Snopes to focus on a few specific details that might have been exaggerated or wrong and call the story “Mostly False”.

    David in Cal (2b55d5)

  41. I bet none of those students has ever protested graffiti that has appeared in an urban neighborhood, or in a public restroom.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  42. Heather MacDonald wrote a piece at City Journal entitled Hey College Ninnies – Grow Up. Time to cut off funding from taxpayer supported schools if they put up with this insanity as versus telling students to grow up or be expelled.

    horatio (31b3e4)

  43. SNOPES SAID

    “WHAT’S TRUE: Students at Emory University gathered in protest after pro-Trump graffiti appeared overnight; administrators investigated the graffiti as it appeared outside designated areas for chalk markings.”

    Now allow me to correct the Snopes report.

    WHAT’S TRUE: Wagner reacted (in an obsequious manner) to the complaints of a small group of pearl clutching students. This is why Emory became a laughing stock.

    But the Snopes “reporter” is happy to have us think that Senior Emory administration ,the President no less, became aware of the “Trump chalkings” only as the result of some supposed routine review process of campus “chalkings”. 1) First, no one in administration except perhaps an Assistant Dean in the lower echelon would even be aware of the chalking policies – and even then he or she would probably have to refer to the written policy (if there even is one). 2) So called “unauthorized” chalkings involving any number of topics happen on the Emory campus with great frequency so it’s not like the Trump chalkings were somehow different except that they were in favor of Trump. No. It was Wagner’s apologetic and shuffling subservient behavior to student complaints (from a small group I might add) that got the negative attention.

    snopes_got_it_wrong (a9c813)


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