I’m a coastal liberal — and I was forced to see things from another perspective
I moved to a small town at just the right time in national politics. It feels like the conservative/liberal divide has grown to absurd proportions, and in part it’s become a geographic divide as well as a social one.
I’m a coastal liberal who now lives around rural conservatives, and living here has forced me to see things from another perspective.
My town was settled mostly by Latter-day Saints who worked in ranching and farming. There’s still cattle and farmland interspersed between the burgeoning neighborhoods. Many of the county elders and large landowners are still Mormon farmers and ranchers, and religion is such a big part of life that leaving the church can mean for some people losing social and family ties.
I’ve come to understand the fear some small-town residents have of technology and new ways of working. In cities, people embrace new industries powered by tech and don’t think twice about the demise of agricultural jobs. But when you were raised to be a cowboy, it can be frustrating to discover the only way you can make enough money to buy a house involves computers. I’ve seen this frustration unfortunately get aimed at newcomers to my town, many of whom are college-educated coastal liberals who ride bikes and skis instead of horses.
I would not have seen this very real problem fueling rural discontent had I never left LA, even if I feel like some of that anger is directed at me. But I’ve also gained a new perspective on national issues that I would have missed had I stayed in the city.
For example, after Donald Trump’s election, I saw memes and posts from friends in California talking about how their state should secede, or how sparsely populated states should have their electoral college votes or senate representation reduced.
My first thought was water: Many of the rivers they depend on in California come from headwaters up here. As the saying goes, in Wyoming, “whiskey’s for drinking, and water’s for fighting over.” When I pointed out that to disregard these states could result in dire consequences for water-hungry California, I got attacked by people with whom I agree on 99% of the issues.
In the battle between Babylon Bee and Snopes, all you need to know is this: most of the people who turn to Snopes to fact check something are people on the left, thus more likely than not left wingers are forwarding these satirical articles to Snopes for fact checking. Sadly the humorless left wing scowls at Snopes, like Dan Evon, are so butthurt over this very good satire from Babylon Bee they feel compelled to attack.
It’s time to give up on Snopes entirely.
Fact-checking is important in this age of fake news, and Snopes has done some decent investigative work through the years. But the organization should know when to leave well enough alone.
Last week Snopes “fact-checked” an article titled “Georgia Lawmaker Claims Chick-fil-A Employee Told Her To Go Back To Her Country, Later Clarifies He Actually Said ‘My Pleasure’.” First, that headline is way too long. Second, why is a company wasting time fact-checking a site clearly labeled satire?
What will be “investigated” next? Crop circles?
Snopes writer Dan Evon wrote, “While this real-world incident stirred up a good amount of online anger, it wasn’t quite outrageous enough for the entertainment website Babylon Bee. In an apparent attempt to maximize the online indignation, this website published a fictionalized version of the story . . .”
In an apparent attempt? There’s no apparent. That’s exactly what the Bee does. Would you expect an outlet that publishes headlines like “Border Patrol Agent Calls Up Planned Parenthood To Get Helpful Pointers On Separating Children From Their Mothers” to be subtle or sneaky in its attempts to drive web traffic?
Mr. Evon went on to accuse the Bee of fooling its readers. But it seems pretty clear that readers of the Babylon Bee know what they’re getting into. Want proof? Just look at the Facebook comments.
The Babylon Bee says it has lawyered up, and we’re sure that a satire news organization going to court will provide some fantastic material for future headlines. But Snopes should know better than to pick fights with a site clearly labeled as satire news. It’s called picking your battles.