Facebook fact-checks, threatens Christian satire site Babylon Bee over, you know, SATIRE post

Facebook fact-checks, threatens Christian satire site Babylon Bee over, you know, SATIRE post

The Babylon Bee, often called a sort of Christian-themed Onion, has been making people laugh for the last two years (as of Thursday, 1 March), with – in Wikipedia’s words – “over-the-top fake stories focusing on well known pastors, celebrities, and politicians.”

Much of the fun comes simply from Christian doctrine, framed for a chuckle.  Take a Thursday headline:

Calvinist Dog Corrects Owner: ‘No One Is A Good Boy’

The story recounts a lecture from the dog, Rupert:

Trending: Biden administration cuts off $12 billion to California for not wasting enough money

According to witnesses, the dog went on to lecture his owner for several minutes, stressing how easy it is to forget who we really are in light of God’s blinding holiness and our desperately fallen nature.

“Do not call me a good boy—I am a depraved wretch,” he added before picking up his stick and continuing to play.

Some of the stories require a bit of an insider perspective on Christian observance and customs.

Man Only Serving In Church Sound Booth To Avoid Greeting Time

Others require serious knowledge of personalities and theological disputes.

John MacArthur Sneaks Into Charismatic Congregation Inside Hollowed-Out Trojan Pulpit

Most of the fare is pretty tame, and when it has a political bite, it’s not deep.

Nation That Calls Trump ‘Hitler’ Demands He Take All Guns Away

This is a site that runs headlines like:

Man Who Identified As M1 Abrams Tank Killed In Action

So when it posted the following story on 1 March 2018, it was a pretty good bet it was, you know, satire.

CNN Purchases Industrial-Sized Washing Machine To Spin News Before Publication

(H/t: PJ Media.)

Perhaps it was possible for unwary readers to be easily duped by the opening sentence.

In order to aid the news station in preparing stories for consumption, popular news media organization CNN purchased an industrial-sized washing machine to help its journalists and news anchors spin the news before publication.

It’s tough for readers under the age of, say, five years to separate the factual from the imaginary in such a context.  And the Internet does get its share of four-year-old browsers perusing stories from the Facebook news feed.  There’s no question about that.

But it comes off as just a little over the top for Facebook to warn Babylon Bee that the “CNN washing machine” post had been fact-checked by Snopes.com, and was disputed by same, and if Babylon Bee became a “repeat offender,” the site would see its “distribution reduced” and its “ability to monetize and advertised [sic] removed.”

In the tweet thread below the original tweet by Adam Ford (the man behind Babylon Bee), another user posted a screen cap of the warning he received from Facebook when he clicked on the “CNN washing machine” post.

The whole tweet thread is worth a look.  It’s mostly intelligent, and brings up all the right points about the lack of a sense of humor, lack of perspective, and the dangers of Facebook’s muddled crusade to label “fake news” and stamp it out.

But I’m thinking we’ve just had the death blow to that crusade.  It may not be immediate, but the cause of death will be ruled “terminal absurdity.”  Nothing could illustrate more neatly than this little episode that adopting a subjective, meaningless expression like “fake news,” and trying to silence people by deploying it against them as a weapon, just turns you into a fool.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.

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