You just have to love how Facebook immunizes itself against fake news. In 2017, the social media giant partnered with Politifact and Snopes, two leading “fact-checkers,” to ferret out misinformation that appeared on its pages. Earlier this year, Snopes withdrew from the partnership, though it continues independently to peddle its own half-truths.
In fact, Snopes came to the same conclusion as Politifact regarding a troubling photo for Democrats that appeared on Facebook’s pages. The image, which appears above, shows then-Sen. Joe Biden at a campaign event with Sen. Robert Byrd, who is remembered for personally filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for 14 hours. Although Byrd later claimed he regretted the move, he nevertheless went on to oppose the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
But the fact of Byrd’s life that members of both parties find unforgivable is that in the early 1940s, he recruited 150 of his friends and associates to create a new chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in his home state of West Virginia.
So what was Politifact’s and Snopes’s rating of the photo of Biden with Byrd? Both sources found it “mostly false.”
Does that mean the photo was fake? Not according to Politifact, which writes:
The image is authentic. It was shot by Associated Press photographer Bob Bird in October 2008 as Biden, then a Democratic senator from Delaware and Barack Obama’s Democratic vice presidential candidate, attended a campaign rally in downtown Charleston, W. Va. Also in the photo are the state’s then-Gov. Joe Manchin and then-U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, also a West Virginia Democrat.
But on what basis, then, is the photo adjudged to be “mostly false”? It is the caption accompanying the image on Facebook, which also appeared in a tweet:
Biden with Grand wizard Of KKK. So who again is playing you, lying to you, using you for the votes, Creators of the KKK, opposed civil right of blacks. Yup that's the Democratic Party. pic.twitter.com/i5N4AN9Vb8
— UnclePhilly (@unclephilly) June 26, 2019
Politifact and Snopes take issue with the mischaracterization of Byrd as a “Grand Wizard” of the KKK, a title he never held. But the rest of the post is accurate. Byrd was a Democrat and did create a chapter of the KKK, as noted above.
And yet, two left-leaning sources find the post “mostly false”? It appears that the fact checkers need fact checkers.