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Snopes.com is a website founded by Barbara and David Mikkelson that dedicates itself to researching and confirming the truth behind
stupidity urban legends, chain e-mails, and other stories of uncertain origin. Some of this includes various forms of woo, religious stories, and myths about politicians (Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Bill and Hillary Clinton all have their own sections).
Woo-pushers, the fringe on either end of the political spectrum, and those who benefit from these stories tend to dismiss Snopes as wrong or biased, despite research showing it isn't. The writers of many chain emails have found a different way to help neutralize Snopes' effectiveness, by announcing that their claim was confirmed by Snopes (since few recipients will check to see if it really did).
Lest people think Snopes is simply biased or just plain cynical, a surprising number of myths actually turn out to be true (although usually in a much more mundane way than the chain letters imply). Randomly browsing Snopes is a fun way to kill your day, right up there with TV Tropes and Cracked.
Snopes articles usually consist of little more than a claim that they investigated, the site's findings on the veracity of that claim, and citation footnotes. On May 15, 2015, the site chose to publish a more detailed article showing the methodology they used to rebut one long-time Hollywood myth -- that Clark Gable had killed a pedestrian while driving drunk in 1945 (or was it 1933?) and the alleged coverup by MGM that ensued. Their results show how two separate incidents in Gable's life, one possible incident in the life of John Huston, and the willingness of people to believe the worst about the movie industry, combined in the minds of those who were reminiscing about Gable to form one scandalous (and slanderous) story that has since become part of the canon of Hollywood history.
Accusations of bias
Anyone who insists that their personal myth is fact, whether that be moonhoaxers, 9/11 truthers, or bigfooters, will insist that Snopes is wrong because everyone but themselves is biased against the "truth". FactCheck.org, a nonprofit website dedicated to, umm, checking facts, reported that Snopes was completely unbiased. This of course proves that FactCheck is also part of the conspiracy.[citation NOT needed]
If you were to visit the website prior to 2014, you would get horrid flashbacks to the dark ages of the intertubes, when everyone used Geocities and people still made jokes about AOL free trials. Luckily, the website finally underwent an overhaul, which spares users' sight-bladders.
- Mikkelson, David. Crash Course -- Rumor: Clark Gable killed a pedestrian while driving drunk, but MGM covered up the accident. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
- FactCheck on Snopes