The New York Post editorial board has been on fire lately. As I covered earlier, on Thursday they came to Andy Ngo's defense after he was attacked in Portland last weekend. In an editorial from Friday, they defended The Babylon Bee from The New York Times.
But wait, you might ask, isn't The Babylon Bee satire? Yes, yes it is. And yet The Times has still made it a target of theirs.
As the editorial reads, with original emphasis:
On occasion it’s hard to spot satire, but it’s pretty sad when professional journalists can’t recognize an entire site devoted to it. But such are the fallen standards of po-faced progressive puritans at The New York Times.
The Bee, a lonely outpost of comedy in this oh-so-serious world, has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Times over a news article that attacked the Bee as a “far-right misinformation site” that “sometimes trafficked in misinformation under the guise of satire” and suggested it dishonestly “claims” to be satire to dodge the content-cops at Facebook and other social media.
All you have to do is go to babylonbee.com to see that everything there is a joke (much of it quite funny). What the Times doesn’t like is much of it is at the expense of liberals.
Yes, some social-media shares may confuse a few souls into thinking they’re reading real news, but that’s just as true of The Onion, which leans left. We wonder why The Times hasn’t attacked it.
The editorial links to reporting from Tamir Lapin, "Babylon Bee demands retraction from NY Times over ‘misinformation’ label."
As Lapin reported:
The Times article, published on March 19, was titled, “For Political Cartoonists, the Irony Was That Facebook Didn’t Recognize Irony.”
It originally stated that, “In 2019 and 2020, Facebook often dealt with far-right misinformation sites that used ‘satire’ claims to protect their presence on the platform,” citing Emerson T. Brooking, a resident fellow for the think tank Atlantic Council.
The article went on to state that, “For example, The Babylon Bee, a right-leaning site, sometimes trafficked in misinformation under the guise of satire.”
After being called out by Dillon, the Times updated the story on March 22 to instead read, “The Babylon Bee, a right-leaning satirical site, has feuded with Facebook and the fact-checking site Snopes over whether the site published misinformation or satire.”
But Dillon said the update was “was no better than the original.”
The New York Times article in question was already dumb, and featured a dumb example with a no less dumb correction. The article is about political cartoons. Referencing The Babylon Bee was just an unnecessary aside, and now they have to answer to legal counsel for it.
When it comes to that retraction, The Babylon Bee isn't playing around. They've gotten their counsel involved, as CEO Seth Dillon explained over a Twitter thread.
I commented on the original version of the article in this thread. https://t.co/lv0eYo6NzK— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) June 3, 2021
The update was no better than the original. We have not, in fact, feuded with Snopes as to whether we publish satire or misinformation. Snopes retracted that insinuation with an editors' note saying it was never their intent to call our motives into question. pic.twitter.com/3s5lw9HyCw— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) June 3, 2021
These mischaracterizations from the Times are nothing new. Previously, Times reporter Kevin Roose wrote a defamatory piece that claimed we "capitalize on confusion" and that we have a "habit of skirting the line between misinformation and satire," whatever that means.— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) June 3, 2021
For better or worse, the NY Times is considered a "reliable source." We cannot stand idly by as they act with malice to misrepresent us in ways that jeopardize our business.— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) June 3, 2021
Dillon also retweeted from their news site, Not the Bee, to share details about the lawsuit.
Lawyered-up Babylon Bee accuses New York Times of defamation, demands retraction ?? https://t.co/EPqu83xfhe— Not the Bee (@Not_the_Bee) June 3, 2021
Snopes, as The New York Times referenced in the above article and in a previous one, has also relentlessly gone after the satire site. You'd hope that a fact-checking site and a newspaper outlet as prominent as The New York Times would know better, but evidently that's too much to ask, especially since The New York Times back in October published "How The Babylon Bee, a Right-Wing Satire Site, Capitalizes on Confusion."
Let's see if now that counsel is involved, The New York Times will lighten up.