“This is not a genuine photograph of Ocasio-Cortez on the show.”
Hoax watchdog Snopes was widely ridiculed for performing one of its infamous fact-checks on a satirical article that claimed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., guessed “free” during an appearance on iconic gameshow “The Price Is Right.”
The article was published in mid-April by satire site The Babylon Bee, and featured a manipulated image of Ocasio-Cortez supposedly appearing on the show. The piece took a light dig at the freshman congresswoman’s socialist sympathies by claiming that Ocasio-Cortez shouted “FREE!” when host Drew Carey asked her to estimate the price of a series of items, which included “a set of Italian leather handbags, an all expenses paid trip to the Bahamas, and a brand new 2019 BMW 330i.”
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“She went on to guess that diamond earrings, a set of jet skis, and even a giant pile of cash were all free. Carey unveiled a package containing world-class healthcare and she said, ‘Definitely free,'” The Babylon Bee wrote in the satirical piece. “She was at one point puzzled by a stack of croissants but eventually guessed that they also were free.”
The piece concluded by describing hot-mic comments supposedly made by Ocasio-Cortez, in which she claimed “that the game was rigged by capitalism and that ‘everybody knows giant piles of money are free, that’s like basic economics 101.'”
— David Rutz (@DavidRutz) April 17, 2019
“This is not a genuine photograph of Ocasio-Cortez on the show,” Snopes clarified in a piece debunking the article.
Snopes categorized the Babylon Bee’s article as “junk news.”
In a thorough examination of the photograph, Snopes reported that the viral image combined a photo of Ocasio-Cortez appearing on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” in 2018 and a still shot from an October “The Price Is Right” episode.
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Snopes even offered up its own photo-collage – in case any skeptics doubted whether the image had been doctored.
“Eagle-eyed viewers may notice that the contestants on either side of AOC in the doctored image don’t quite match up with their real-world counterparts,” Snopes explained. When Snopes reached out to The Babylon Bee for comment, the site confessed to altering the appearances “to make it less real—that is, less directly tied to an actual episode that aired.”
Conservatives lambasted the fact-checker on social media, finding it patently absurd that the site would attempt to debunk a clearly satirical article.
What started as a story about @AOC on a satirical website also spread on social media as a standalone altered image. Without context, it is inevitable in today's misinformation age that some people will see, believe, and keep scrolling: https://t.co/95RRj4nSzs
Roll the video 📽️ pic.twitter.com/Q0R2GVx8vf
— snopes.com (@snopes) April 17, 2019
“Why stop there, Snopes? Run through that entire site and just fact check the holy hell out of it,” Red State’s Brandon Morse said in a tongue-in-cheek tweet.
Are you guys sure? I think you should really take another look at it.
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) April 17, 2019
This is far from the first time Snopes has fact-checked the Babylon Bee.
Conservatives have in the past accused prominent fact-checking websites Snopes and PolitiFact of having a liberal bias. Last year, the right-leaning Media Research Center announced the launch of the Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers project, which aimed to “ensure the fact-checkers themselves are reliable, or exposed as liberal partisans if they aren’t.”
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