After being called out by Live Action News, Daily Caller, and Fox Nation, Snopes changes fact-check, slightly

Snopes has quietly updated a “fact-checker” piece, after Live Action News and other reputable news sites called them out for failing to investigate real information. Snopes had rated Live Action’s claim that Planned Parenthood has abortion quotas as “Unproven.” Snopes’ edits came following this article that exposed the poorly researched job Snopes’ alleged “fact checker,” Kim LaCapria, did. LaCapria has written for Inquisitr — a site known for fake news and alternative facts, where she describes herself as “openly left-leaning.”

On February 7, 2017, Live Action released its exposé, featuring eyewitness testimony from two former Planned Parenthood employees — one a center manager, the other a nurse — revealing that Planned Parenthood required its facilities to hit monthly sales quotas for abortions. Many news sites referred to this as “abortion quotas.”

On February 10, 2017, Snopes parroted Planned Parenthood’s talking points in a poorly researched “fact-checker,” entitled, “Does Planned Parenthood Enforce ‘Abortion Quotas’?” rating the claim that Planned Parenthood requires abortion quotas as “Unproven.”

Then, on February 17, 2017 both Live Action News and the Daily Caller fired back, dismantling the original Snopes article, piece by piece. Fox Nation later linked to the Daily Caller piece, giving it additional exposure.

Live Action News pointed out that LaCapria published word-for-word talking points from a Planned Parenthood website. And, rather than researching Planned Parenthood’s claim that Thayer was a disgruntled employee whose fraud case against them was allegedly thrown out, LaCapria simply did a lazy copy and paste in her effort to discredit Live Action’s claim.

Screenshot from Snopes’ website

Screenshot from Planned Parenthood’s website

Peter Hassen, the author of the Daily Caller piece, also spotted LaCapria’s inaccurate claims about Planned Parenthood whistleblower, Sue Thayer, who formerly managed a Planned Parenthood facility in Iowa and was featured in the Live Action video, writing:

LaCapria cited Planned Parenthood in claiming that Thayer was unsuccessful in a lawsuit she brought against Planned Parenthood for alleged Medicaid fraud. But the lawsuit is still ongoing.

Hassen pointed out that Snopes failed to contact either Live Action News or the attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) who represented Thayer. He cited Thayer’s attorney, Casey Mattox of ADF, as stating:

We are back in the district court litigating this Medicaid fraud case against Planned Parenthood. …

As a result, they missed something in a fact-checking piece as basic as “what was the result of a federal court decision?”

A PDF save of the original Snopes’ article on February 17, 2017, shows the section that Hassen is referring to before it was updated by Snopes:

Screenshot of the Snopes Abortion Quotas article, Feb. 17, 2017

One day later, on February 18, 2017, Snopes issued an update, quietly making the changes and briefly noting the reason:

Screenshot of Snopes’ update on Abortion Quotas article, Feb. 18, 2017.

Snopes then added the section below to the piece:

Screenshot of updates to Snopes article

Live Action News had discovered prior to the updates that LaCapria must have failed to conduct a simple Google search, believing only the inaccurate Planned Parenthood report. Had she conducted a search, rather than placing all her “fact checking” in the hands of an organization with documented deceptions, she would have stumbled upon the exact same June 2016 DesMoines Register report she quoted verbatim without attribution in her updated piece.

Screen from June 2016 article in Des Moines Register on Sue Thayer case

The reasons why Snopes would leave out these important facts is unclear, but according to the Daily Caller’s report:

Mattox said he believes LaCapria brought up the ongoing lawsuit — which he said is “completely unrelated” to the Live Action story — to try and undermine Thayer’s credibility, a charge echoed by Live Action.

“Rather than addressing the actual claim of quotas, LaCapria questions the character of the former Planned Parenthood staffers because they were ambivalent about abortion, even while working for the abortion corporation,” the Live Action post reads.

“LaCapria goes after former Planned Parenthood manager Sue Thayer, painting her as a disgruntled employee. What that has to do with the claim that Planned Parenthood has abortion quotas or gives rewards to staff members who sell the procedure is uncertain.”

Despite the changes, Live Action News has discovered that the updated Snopes report remains inaccurate.

As one example, the original article published on February 10 and the February 18 update both state the following:

“Thayer’s relationship to Planned Parenthood was not discussed in the video beyond a description of her as a former employee.”

In our first rebuttal Live Action News pointed out :

As readers can see from the image below, at 12 seconds into the video, an explanation of Thayer’s “relationship to Planned Parenthood” is clearly detailed in bold print, reading, “Sue Thayer, former Planned Parenthood Manager.” In the video, Thayer states that her center was a “family planning center” and says, “I trained my staff the way that I was trained.” She even names the city where her center was located — “Storm Lake” (Iowa) — but I guess LaCapria missed all that as well.

Despite the inaccuracies which have little to nothing to do with the claim that Planned Parenthood had abortion quotas, it wasn’t exactly clear how LaCapria came to her “unproven” conclusion. After all, Live Action put two witnesses with first-hand knowledge about Planned Parenthood’s quotas on the record by name and then published their statements on video.

In contrast, while LaCapria claims in her Snopes piece to have contacted Planned Parenthood (which denied the quotas existed while having inaccurate information on their website about Thayer), she failed to publish any names or titles of contacts at Planned Parenthood for validation. (Additionally, a leading Planned Parenthood staff member has previously admitted that quotas do exist, just not under that term.)

Denial is a common response from Planned Parenthood officials anytime they are exposed, because they know the media rarely investigates the accusations against them.

Case in point is Snopes, which has once again shown how inept they are at fact checking. Snopes allowed its pro-abortion bias to cloud its ability to do simple searches outside the Planned Parenthood hemisphere. This bias resulted in an obviously inaccurate report. Perhaps now LaCapria and her team at Snopes will investigate the claims made against Planned Parenthood with a little less suspicion. But, given the remaining inaccuracies to the Snopes piece, somehow, we doubt it.

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