There’s big news out tonight about Snopes and in the current #fakenews era that we find ourselves living in, we should pay attention.
If you didn’t read Forbes damning piece on Snopes, or have been out of the loop- it’s time to catch up on this heinous site.
Outrages that despite CNN bending over and doing story after story on Snopes (from TV to internet) stating how they were the “Mythbusters” and Snopes was where “fake news goes to die” Snopes says they need your cool hard cash, and quick!
For years, Snopes did an ok job of busting urban myths that your Grandma sent out via email. For instance, no, Disney was not giving out free tickets to the first 100 people to forward an email and other beauties like “Woman accidentally confuses foam insulation for mousse.” They were helpful. However, they got a little big for their britches and started telling us what we could and couldn’t believe. Snopes, who anointed themselves as God of what is true and false, started tackling controversial stories and proclaiming they were the absolute authority on truth.
They failed at debunking a story we did about a missing medical doctor whose vehicle was found on the side of the road. Their snooty disparaging piece tried to “snope” our CORRECT location of the good doctor with a false one. We called them out in a video showing their site and they quietly changed their false piece. Zero apologies later (to us or the family of the doctor) and he’s still missing nearly 2 years later. Thanks Snopes.
And then they got busted. In fact, it’s been alleged that David Mikkelson has engaged in “gross financial, technical, and corporate mismanagement.” He’s been accused of fraud and embezzlement of his own company for illegal activity (we needn’t say for what as it’s pretty graphic!) in official court documents. Perhaps that’s part of why they find themselves in the predicament they are in now.
Earlier today they put out a call asking for help- in the form of money. And mainstream media were quick to jump on board with this crooked website and encourage people to actually give them money! Can you IMAGINE?
Why do they need money? Here’s a breakdown of what’s been going on:
- Snopes signs a contract with Popular Media to utilize their IT/advertising software.
- Founders Barbara and David, go through a bitter divorce and each walk away with 50% of the Snopes parent company, Bardav.
- Five major shareholders at Popular Media covertly purchase Barbara’s shares at an exorbitant price.
- CEO of Snopes, David, immediately revokes Popular Media’s contract and cuts them out of various different parts of the companies daily routine. (“Mid-contract, Popular made an aggressive bid for control, paying what Mikkelson said was an “exorbitant” price for the other half of the company. The contract with Popular was one that could be canceled at any time by either party, and that’s what Mikkelson says he did, as part of his everyday job as President of the company. Even if Popular’s owners were on the Bardav board (they aren’t, he noted), their permission wouldn’t be necessary because it’s not a board-level decision, and anyway, they would have to recuse themselves for conflict of interest.” 1)
- Popular Media retaliates by freezing Snopes access to all of their advertising revenue and their servers.
- Then, Vincent Green (a former minor shareholder at Popular Media) leaves them and goes to work at Snopes. Popular Media responds by filing a suit claiming that Green and David conspired to somehow short the other shareholders at Popular Media, out of their ownership of the Snopes parent company.
- Snopes pleads for $500,000 dollars to keep running.
- Popular Media asks for a fact check to be run on Snopes’ fundraising plea: “Today’s post only confirms Popular Media’s allegations that Mr. Mikkelson has drained the company’s bank accounts and is unable to operate Snopes profitably without Popular Media’s expertise and management.” 2
It’s like a terrible, middle school drama.
To many people, it looks like a hostile takeover by Popular Media, and while I don’t know them, I do know David and he’s not a standup guy- I don’t think he’d know “truth” if it smacked him in the face. And even media analyst, Thomas Baekdal isn’t buying it saying on Twitter:
Things are not as simple as they appear. We need far more answers before I will donate anything. I’m not going to support a marriage dispute https://t.co/DIYSmrjIq3
— Thomas Baekdal (@baekdal) July 24, 2017
According to our friends at The Free Thought Project:
“Snopes, as a business — is not broke. David Mikkelson — who’s been accused of defrauding the website to pay for prostitution — is broke.
Snopes’ estimated value is in the tens of millions, with a daily revenue intake around five figures — a day. They are currently ranked in the top 2,600 websites globally as well as being in the top 700 domestically. The behemoth ‘fact-checker’ is nowhere near being broke.
However, thanks to a dirty divorce between David Mikkelson and his ex-wife Barbara Mikkelson, the company has turned into a glorious shit show.”
None of this is ANYTHING anyone should be throwing money at. They made their proverbial bed and they should have to lie in it. (Pun intended.)