Snopes’ Toxic Culture and Liberal Bias

The Story Behind the Fact Checker

Snopes can best be described this way: A fact-checking site whose founder and executive is knee deep in lies and scandal, and a former managing editor whose liberal bias is palpably evident.

Do you know how this arbiter of truth got started? In 1994, by founder David Mikkelson and his ex-wife Barbara Mikkelson out of the basement of their home in California. That’s not to say it can’t be legitimate because it was founded out of their basement, but there’s more to this tawdry tale. Hold on tight. It got a jumpstart as the first fact-checking site, focusing on urban legends or “old-wives tales,” before turning its focus to fake news and other misinformation.

Snopes has been riddled with scandal after the recent relocation of its “corporate headquarters” a few years ago to Mikkelson’s bedroom office in Tacoma, WA. To clarify, Snopes isn’t the name of the company; it’s only the name of the site. Bardav, Inc. (which Mikkelson also owns) is the parent company that owns and runs the so-called debunking site.

Mikkelson Sued for Using Corporate Funds to Wine and Dine Ex-Porn Star Wife

Mikkelson had hired Proper Media to manage a significant portion of the site, including web content and advertising accounts for Snopes. Mikkelson’s ex-wife, Barbara Mikkelson, had 50 percent ownership and sold her stake to the directors of Proper Media before divorcing Mikkelson in 2016. Shortly thereafter, Proper Media accused Mikkelson of having blocked their access to Snopes, thus making it impossible for them to manage the site as agreed on. Proper Media, in turn, withheld all advertising revenue and wouldn’t surrender the domain name, suing Bardav (Mikkelson) for breach of contract, civil conspiracy, and corporate waste.

David Mikkelson with wife and former escort, Elyssa Young.

Was Mikkelson fit to run the company? This is the basis for the suit alleging corporate waste, since after the divorce Mikkelson was allegedly embezzling company funds to pay for his divorce, and lavish trips with his new bride—Snopes employee Elyssa Young. According to multiple sources, Mikkelson’s new wife, Elyssa Young (aka “Erin O’Bryn”), is a former escort and porn actress; she also ran for Congress in Hawaii, in 2004, as a libertarian on a “dump Bush” platform. (But I’m sure this has no bearing––not even a smidgeon––on her ability to provide Mikkelson assistance when it comes to “fact-checking.”)

Elyssa Young tweets a selfie of herself wearing a Snopes tanktop while Mikkelson is being interviewed.

Here’s her Facebook page: The page has photos posted of her and Mikkelson on there. Also, she looks exactly like “Elyssa Young”; thus, Erin O’Bryn must be an alias and stage name.

Because this is still being litigated, we’ll soon learn if Mickelson did embezzle company funds to pay for legal fees and lavish trips with his former escort and adult film star wife, Elyssa Young. It’s noteworthy that Proper Media learned about the supposed embezzlement of nearly $100,000 from Mikkelson’s ex-wife, Barbara Mikkelson, in court documents related to their divorce; in other words, this isn’t a baseless allegation.

In fact, his ex-wife wrote in court filings that he “raided the … corporate bank account for his personal use and attorney fees,” and that he [David Mikkelson] “expended money on himself and the prostitutes he hired.” (Talk about a damning statement.) In sum, Mikkelson is facing contentious legal battles stemming from alleged financial misappropriation of company funds.

If the guy at the top is misappropriating funds, how can he be trusted to fact-check the news?

Former Managing Editor a Liberal Hack

The former managing editor of Snopes, Brooke Binkowski, is a liberal hack disguised as an apolitical journalist seeking the truth. In fact, she was the editor of Snopes for nearly three years––up until 2018—when she finally got fired. (I guess Mikkelson thought she was blowing their cover as the “definitive fact-checking site.”)

While editor, her tweets reveal that she’s pro-life, pro-LGBTQ rights, anti-Second Amendment, and may have a sex/porn obsession herself. Here are a few of those tweets:

This was tweeted in March 2016, while she was still editor of Snopes. Is the penis mightier than the sword? According to her, yes. It’s an unprofessional tweet from a so-called “journalist” and “managing editor” of one of the biggest fact-checking sites. Maybe that’s the Snopes culture? She’s also tweeted other messages, where she doesn’t hesitate to use other crude terms, either literally or figuratively. There’s also a picture of her with 64-year old porn star, Ron Jeremy, who’s been accused of groping multiple women. (So much for respecting women.)

Her favorite reporter, Igor Volsky, is the author of “Guns Down”—a book about how to defeat the NRA. In fact, he’s so fervently anti-gun, that he regularly tweets about the fatalities caused by mass shootings and gun violence; he also believes in banning assault weapons, bump stocks, and large magazines, at the least. Igor is also anti-Trump and has endorsed the notion that Trump colluded with Russia, and has suggested that Trump is the perfect asset for Putin to attack America. He’s not just a reporter; he’s an ideologue who happens to be Binkowski’s favorite reporter.

The owner is likely an embezzler, and the executive assistant is a former adult film star and escort who ran as a libertarian and goes by an alias. Then there’s the former managing editor, whose favorite reporter is a guy on a relentless crusade to curtail gun rights and who believes that Trump is “Russia’s best asset.” Further, the former managing editor of Snopes (for three years) is pro-choice, taking jabs at preachers on Tweeter and even blaming the election of Trump for emboldening “white nationalists.” Binkowski believes that his election has emboldened anti-abortion whites to rear their “white nationalists” heads.

In the words of David Mikkelson: 

“The Wall Street Journal. The Washington Post. Your crazy cousin’s blog. It all looks the same. A picture with a headline and subject. Before, they were relegated to a soapbox on street corners or drafting a newsletter. Now anybody can throw up a website.”

And sir, your website is no exception.

1 Comment

  1. I never wanted to go on any of those trips. I thought they were a waste of money and of time. I encouraged the trips only when they could be tied to business. To me, correcting misinformation and acknowledging that much of what the internet was publishing out there was misinformation, was much more important than sitting with gorrillas. It made no sense to me to destroy the environment to see the environment. I felt that the need for serious fact checking was overwhelming. Because I have children and grandchildren, my primary investment is in a stable and functioning future world. Debunking articles about poop on the president’s pants is heartbreakingly childish and laughing about people injecting bleach because they’re “stupid” makes me ill. I mistakenly had very high hopes that David was really the good guy he said he was but he has no interest in creating a quality body of work. He had no interest in operating ethically. Frankly I’m embarrassed that I put my face out there and associated it with Snopes. by the way I’m the one that insisted that Brooke be removed from her position because I could see right away she wasn’t cut for the job. For the record David never hired me. He never considered me intelligent enough. I believe I’m the first one that picked up on his plagiarism, his terrible leadership skills, and I’m the one that insisted on him hiring a real editor whom I hoped would put an end to his childish games he was playing with millions of minds in the name of profit and power. The truth is I’m going to lose everything because he has all the money all the power and I’m not even able to secure a lawyer because they’re all enamored with my soon-to-be-ex-husband. No one’s even asked me my side of the story. And I’ve been clearly instructed that I have no side of the story. Just a dumb hooker trying to take a free ride (only for the money, I hear) instead a of a conscientious objector to misinformation and lies. The sad reality is that truth is worthless these days because once it can be bought it is no longer truth. And since our legal system is about who has the most money there is no truth and we are doomed as a civilization. Here’s to another libel suit.


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