September 17, 2021

Liberal fact-checker site Snopes apologizes for plagiarism scandal

Co-founder and CEO David Mikkelson of fact-checking site Snopes.com admitted and apologized for plagiarism from numerous articles from various outlets over a multi-year period.

“In late July/early August, members of this company began a comprehensive internal investigation into allegations of plagiarism leveled against Snopes Founder/CEO David Mikkelson after a journalist got in touch with us about his own research for a story,” Snopes.com said in a statement.

“The journalist, Dean Sterling Jones, shared with Snopes Managing Editor Doreen Marchionni more than two dozen examples of what appeared to be sentences or paragraphs from various news sites pasted into Snopes news stories without appropriate attribution. Most of the stories were published roughly between 2014 and 2016 under a generic ‘Snopes Staff’ byline or under the defunct pseudonym “Jeff Zarronandia,” it added.

The Washington Times reported, “He has been suspended from editorial production pending the conclusion of an internal review but remains CEO and a 50% shareholder in the company, according to a statement from Snopes’ senior leadership.”

BuzzFeed News reportedly served as the outlet to break the story. The Times report note Snopes said “it has identified 140 stories with possible problems, including the 54 found to include appropriated material.”

The plagiarism report is especially concerning given the nature of Snopes.com. The website claims to be a fact-checking website.

Many across social media have slammed or mocked the Snopes founder over his repeated violations. The organization will reportedly conduct a review to ensure future violations do not occur.

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