Snopes and Truth or Fiction are another case. By their claim to be absolutely neutral and factual, they can be dangerously misleading, even disingenuous, either inadvertently or purposefully. Their analysis and conclusions should not be blindly accepted.
I’ve recently encountered two examples.
One pertains to a quote from the Barack Obama book, “The Audacity of Hope.” On page 261 Obama states: “…and I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” The question is - who is “them” he is referring to?
In context, within the paragraph, he is referring to US citizen immigrants from Arab countries and Pakistan (as his text reads “Arab and Pakistani Americans”), which happen to be countries of what official religion: Jewish? Methodist? Noooo. Islam. Therefore, it is NOT a distortion to insert the word “Muslims” in place of “them” in the above sentence, so the clear meaning, in context, can be taken to be:
“…and I will stand with Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”
This proper interpretation is consistent with Obama’s actions of handcuffing the CIA and FBI both in war zones as well as in the US when interrogating terror suspects as well as his failure to conclude that Islamic ideology had anything to do with the Hasan terror shooting at Fort Hood. He is already “standing with them.” He apparently considers the work of the FBI and CIA (their investigative methods) to be among the “political winds” shifting in an ugly direction. He wishes to give Islamic terror suspects the benefit of the doubt. This causes me to wonder to what extent he is interfering with investigations such as the recent New York City subway bombing suspects case to further his “standing with them [Muslims]?
Snopes and TruthOrFiction give Obama a pass with their published renderings of his “intent.”
From “Truthorfiction.com” (Snopes says roughly the same thing):
"I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."-Fiction!Fiction? Not really. In context, this is an accurate interpretation of what Obama conveyed.
This is a corruption of a quote from Obama's book The Audacity of Hope.Corruption? Hardly. It is a clarification of Obama’s failure to use the terms Islam and Muslim when he refers to immigrants from the Arab countries and Pakistan.
It is from a section that talks about the concerns of immigrants who are American citizens.The paragraph the quote is taken from is specifically speaking of American Muslims from the Islamic Arab states and Islamic Pakistan. Snopes and TruthorFiction ignore this context. Obama cleverly avoids use of the terms “Muslim” and “Islam” here. These terms are used in a variety of other places in Audacity but are not referenced even once in the extensive Index of the book. He is either ignorant of or choosing to ignore the fact that the Islamic religion is at the core of Jihadi violence in the world. Why would he want to do that?
Here is the accurate and more complete quote: "Of course, not all my conversations in immigrant communities follow this easy pattern. In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging.It appears Obama is opposed to questioning terrorist suspects.
They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific assurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II,At the time, the entire nation was fearful of Japanese sabotage, which was a real threat after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The nation appropriately took action to defend against likely sabotage. Obama is being a historical revisionist in defense of Islam!
and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.He promises to stand with the Muslim immigrants should they commit additional seditious and terrorist acts that cause the political winds to turn ugly.
News flash: Things don’t turn ugly because Muslims are selling girl scout cookies. Things turn ugly as a result of suicide missions that destroy sky scrapers killing 3,000 and that kill our soldiers within our domestic military bases.
The other example of Snopes/Truth or Fiction fuzzy analysis that ends in misleading political correctness is their comment on the following email posted by Rick Mathes, an independent Baptist Minister at Mission Gate Prison Ministry of St. Louis MO. Here is his email that went viral on the internet a few years ago, and is still making the rounds:
“Allah or Jesus?How does Snopes treat this pastor’s email circulating around the internet?
By Rick Mathes
Last month I attended my annual training session that's required for maintaining my state prison security clearance. During the training session there was a presentation by three speakers representing the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim faiths, who explained each of their beliefs. I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say.
The Imam gave a great presentation of the basics of Islam complete with a video. After the presentations, time was provided for questions and answers. When it was my turn, I directed my question to the Imam and asked: "Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] against the infidels of the world. And, that by killing an infidel, which is a command to all Muslims, they are assured of a place in Heaven. If that's the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?"
There was no disagreement with my statements and without hesitation, he replied, "Non-believers!"
I responded, "So, let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can go to Heaven. Is that correct?"
The expression on his face changed from one of authority and command to that of a little boy who had just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He sheepishly replied, "Yes".
I then said, "Well, Sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine Pope John Paul II commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith, or Dr. Stanley ordering Protestants to do the same in order to go to Heaven!"
The Imam was speechless.
I continued, "I also have a problem with being your friend when you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me.
"Let me ask you a question. Would you rather have your Allah who tells you to kill me in order to go to Heaven, or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to Heaven and He wants you to be with me?"
You could have heard a pin drop as the Imam hung his head in shame.
Chuck Colson once told me something that has sustained me these 20 years of prison ministry. He said to me, “Rick, remember that the truth will prevai8l.”
And it will!
They acknowledge the email accurately reflects what the Pastor wrote. But they go to great lengths to discredit the Pastor’s account of the interview. Snopes interviewed a reporter who interviewed the Public Information Officer for the Missouri Department of Corrections. Snopes used a third hand source and that third hand source did not attend the interview.
Snopes quotes the Public Information Officer (PIO) as claiming the Muslim the pastor interviewed was not a “minister.” First, the Pastor did not claim he was a minister. He termed him an “Imam.” The PIO erroneously used the term “minister” and then claimed he was not one. He was, in fact, an Imam. That right off the bat shows the ignorance of both the PIO and Snopes. The title of Imam is often given to the male prayer leader in a mosque or the Muslim worshiper who leads the recitation of prayer when two or more worshipers are present. The interviewed Muslim was in fact the Imam of the prison.
Snopes main point in an attempt to discredit the pastors account of the interview was to assert that “Islam is not a monolithic religion” – an attempt to suggest that what the Imam claimed was not representative of Islam.
The fact remains, what the imam said to the pastor is representative of what a spiritual leader of Muslims inside a US prison believes. And that belief is entirely consistent with the belief and practice of millions of Muslims around the world. Read the news. Look at the facts.
Snopes then embarks on a multi-paragraph, moral equivalency rant about several Biblical passages that have not been acted on for over 2,000 years.
In this instance, Snopes sounds like a mouthpiece for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamic organization now under investigation by the FBI for funding Hamas and Islamic terror.
Urban legends, at least, does not appear to have a biased pro-Islamic axe to grind. Here is their conclusion:
It is therefore a case of Mathes' word against the prison official's. I have not been able to find public statements by anyone else in a position to confirm the facts.Snopes, Truth or Fiction and similar sites should not be used as a substitute for independent thinking.
As to the substance of the alleged debate — whether or not it is a core tenet of Islam that believers must wage holy war against non-believers wherever they are found — there is fierce disagreement on that issue even among acknowledged experts in Muslim culture and theology, so I will not attempt to defend one side or the other in this brief commentary.