Abusing Snopes With Sarah Palin Story
There’s a dirty little shell game being played by the Republican Party when it comes to Sarah Palin’s record on banning books. Whenever the fact that Sarah Palin tried to fire the Wasilla librarian after the librarian rejected Palin’s suggestion that she be open to censoring books, the Republicans come on and talk about Snopes.
It’s all a lie, they say. Snopes says so!
First of all, just because the Snopes web site says something is so doesn’t mean that it actually is. A lot of people have falled for the idea that Snopes always gets a story right because, well, it’s Snopes. It’s ironic that they accept what Snopes, supposedly a place of skeptical inquiry with a doubting mind, tells them without question.
But what does Snopes actually say about the Sarah Palin book banning incident? Not much, really. Snopes does debunk one particular email that was sent around recently, claiming to be a list of the books that Sarah Palin requested to be pulled off the shelves of the Wasilla public library.
That email was not genuine. However, that email is not the basis of the story about Sarah Palin and the attempt to fire the Wasilla librarian. The story came from firsthand accounts in Wasilla, and has been backed up by newspaper reports at the time.
Sarah Palin did try to fire the librarian in Wasilla. Sarah Palin did communicate with the librarian about banning books at the library.
Furthermore, at the same time that Sarah Palin, as the new mayor of Wasilla, was communicating with the librarian about banning books, her church was engaged in a similar effort to ban books. The Wasilla Assembly of God church was trying to get books banned from the library and a local book store.
The evidence is strong: Sarah Palin was working to censor books. Yet, the Republicans have pulled the Snopes card, and Snopes doesn’t seem to have investigated very carefully beyond the debunking of a single email.
Keep your eye on the ball. What the Republicans have done by citing a very small disclaimer on the larger story is to get people to focus on a relatively irrelevant detail. It is as if, at a murder trial, the defense team claims that the prosecution’s case is completely inaccurate because, although the defendant was photographed at the scene of the crime holding the murder weapon, a lawyer on the prosecutor’s team once said that the defendant was wearing a hat, while the photograph shows no hat.
Are you going to fall for that kind of distraction?