Of course, it's only natural that the urban legend e-mailers would develop defenses against this wanton display of facts. The first line of defense was to start putting "This e-mail has been declared 'true' by Snopes, so don't bother to go check it!" at the top of the e-mail. Of course, if you then doggedly go check Snopes anyway, you find that they're lying through their teeth. So that ruse quickly stopped being effective.
So now they've taken it to the next level, which is to start sending around e-mails attacking Snopes directly. We just got the first of these last night, an e-mail that claims another site (TruthOrFiction) has revealed that -- Gasp! -- Snopes is run by a husband-and-wife team of amateur fact-checkers (which presumably is supposed to be a problem for some reason); the e-mail then goes on to say that TruthOrFiction has shown them to be LIBERALS (Oh noes!) so obviously you can't believe a word they say.
Except they're not.
Well, rephrase, they might be for all I know, but that's not something TruthOrFiction says. In fact, TruthOrFiction says:
Snopes.com is an excellent site that has become an authoritative source for information about urban legends and forwarded emails. We regard David and Barbara Mikkelson, the founders and operators of Snopes.com, as colleagues and professional researchers who have earned a good reputation for what they do.
We can give a unique perspective on this story because we do the same kind of work as Snopes.com and have sometimes been the target of similar criticism.
We've got a collection of emails that have come to TruthOrFiction.com accusing us of being "right wing whackos" as well as "liberals" and "communists." We've been suspected of being owned and operated by both Republicans and Democrats. We've been called "Christian propagandists" as well as "atheists pretending to be neutral." We occasionally receive emails that have elaborate theories about who "really" owns us and what our "real" motives are.
The bottom line is that if you try to report the truth, there will be those who don't like the truth you've reported and who will develop suspicions about why you did.
That, in our view, is what is happening with Snopes.
The 2008 presidential campaign has been one of the most intense and unique in our nation's history and has prompted more political eRumors than any presidential campaign in our experience, especially about Barack Obama.
These anti-Snopes emails have probably been prompted by someone who does not like Barack Obama and does not like the fact that Snopes (or TruthOrFiction.com for that matter) has debunked some of the emails that are not true about him.
I fully expect the next e-mail that comes along to claim that TruthOrFiction.com is funded by Al-Qaeda.