Say Nopes to Snopes.

Snopes’ Dan Evon Lies About Biden Relationship Origins, Inspires Politifact, AFP to Repeat the Lie

  • Left-wing “Fact Check” outlets cherry pick which facts to check, to cover for the fact Joe and Jill Biden were likely unfaithful in their prior marriages
  • “Fact Check” outlets verify disputed fact by asking Joe Biden if Jill cheated on her husband with him, and when he says “no” they rate everything else “false”
  • Almost every outlet completely ignores or buries Jill Biden’s previous husband who has publicly said Jill started an affair with Joe three years prior to when they say they first met

OUR RATING: Trash Journalism, aka the Daily Beast.

Indicted Outlet: Dan Evon | Snopes | Link | Archive 2/22/21
Indicted Outlet: Ciara O’Rourke | Politifact | Link | Archive 2/22/21
Indicted Outlet: Joseph Allen | Distractify | Link | Archive 1/27/21
Indicted Outlet: Manon Jacob | Agence France-Presse | Link | Archive 2/25/21

The real substance of this story is whether Joe and Jill Biden met, as they allege, on a ‘blind date’ set up by friends in 1975. The circulating meme on this issue, which features a very young-looking Jill sitting on the lap of a spry but clearly older Joe Biden, is rated “false” by notoriously biased left-wing outlet Snopes because one minor issue with the narrative caption is wrong. 

Here are the main claims that the meme makes and a few it suggests:

  1. Jill Biden was 15 when Joe Biden met her at age 30 (False)
  2. Jill Biden was the family babysitter (Disputed)
  3. Suggested: their relationship started earlier than what is alleged (Disputed)
  4. Suggested: their relationship started inappropriately (Disputed)

The fact-checkers are right to say the first one is wrong, the Biden are 9 years apart in age, not 15. But Jill was the babysitter, their relationship likely started earlier, and likely started to some extent inappropriately.

We’re rating four fact-checks at once because they are all seriously flawed, and seeing how they each handle this basic story reveals how they abuse the fact check process. 

Major Violations:

  • Cherry Picking
  • Misrepresentation
  • Missing Context

Let’s quote exactly what Dan Evon says at Snopes:

The story of how U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden met is a relatively simple one: They were set up on a blind date by the president’s brother in March 1975. On social media, however, some users claim that the pair had a more sordid history. 

A February 2021 Facebook post, for instance, claimed that Jill was working as a babysitter for Joe and his family when the pair first met. This post falsely alleges that Jill was underage, and insinuates that their relationship began while Joe was still married to his first wife. 

Jill was not the Biden family babysitter, and she did not start dating Joe until she was in her 20s. 

For support, Snopes relies on two things: 1) Asking the White House, and 2) A 1977 puff piece about the Biden relationship.

Biden was already a Senator from Delaware by 1972. [1] The idea that a local paper is an authority on what might be a politically sensitive issue about how the Senator from the state met his now-wife, is not something you would expect to find in print. It’s a bad source, and it’s laughable that Snopes would use this as an authority. 

But this Snopes fact-check sets the stage for the lesser-thans like Politifact, Distractify, and AFP to regurgitate the same ‘fact-check’ with slightly different verbiage.

Jill Biden was born June 3, 1951. [2] Joe Biden was born November 20, 1942. [3] So no matter whether they met in 1972 or 1975, Jill was never “underage” but then again the meme never says that, it might imply it by saying she was the babysitter. 

She was in her early 20s here, but she was previously the babysitter.

Jill Jacobs was married to Bill Stevenson from 1970 to 1975. She remarried Joe Biden in 1977. Joe Biden’s first wife, Neilia, tragically died in a car accident on December 18, 1972. [4] 

Jill’s ex-husband claims that Joe first met Jill prior to the 1972 election and that they met regularly. [5][6][7] Stevenson says that Jill would regularly babysit for the Bidens. [8] Jill was a model at the time.  

So the main point here is that the Bidens’ story about how they first met is likely untrue. 

Here’s the excerpt that quotes Jill’s ex-husband to clarify this point: [5]

Biden has long claimed that he met Jill, then a local model, when his brother Frank set them up on a blind date in 1975, three years after Biden’s first wife Neilia and infant daughter were killed in a car accident. According to Biden, the couple saw a movie and fell in love. They married two years later. But Stevenson rejected this account, claiming he brought his then-wife Jill to Biden’s home in 1972, which is when the two actually first met.

“Right before the election in ’72, Jill, Joe, Neilia, and I were in [Biden’s] kitchen,” said Stevenson. “How do you forget that?”

Now, a lot of people meet under awkward circumstances, or they forget the exact details of how they met, so you could excuse how the Bidens may have reinvented the details in their head, but this is obviously more relevant because of how central Joe Biden has made the death of his first wife to his political career.

It’s entirely relevant if he was courting and grooming his early 20’s model babysitter for a relationship, it would certainly be relevant to the character of Joe Biden to falsify and lie about the nature of the tragedy that befell him: it would suggest he will use any crisis to better his political position in a very cynical way. 

Stevenson is very clear that they were cheaters:

Stevenson said he also became suspicious after Jill declined to go with him to meet Bruce Springsteen, telling him she had to babysit Biden’s two young children instead. [9]

And it’s a fair criticism to say that ex-spouses don’t make the most reliable judges of character, but it’s certainly substantial missing context from the original Snopes article and the others that followed. 

Ciara O’Rourke at Politifact at least mentions Jill’s ex-husband Stevenson, albeit not until the very end of the article in paragraph 10 of 12 total paragraphs. [10] Here’s what little she says about the matter:

Stevenson has alleged he introduced Jill Biden to Joe Biden in 1972 and that she started seeing Joe Biden in 1974. [10]

Notice that they specifically ‘debunk’ the babysitter claim in the headline even though Stevenson specifically says that Jill was the babysitter. 

Distractify’s Joseph Allen asks the question about Jill being the babysitter, and then doesn’t answer it in order to avoid lying about it. Here’s what Allen says:

Is the rumor true? Was Jill Joe Biden’s babysitter?
One persistent rumor about the couple is that Jill was Joe’s babysitter, and that’s how the two of them originally met. Although Joe is nine years Jill’s senior, the two of them actually met on a blind date set up by Joe’s brother. When they first met, Jill was still in her last year of college at the University of Delaware. They saw a movie together on their first date and seemed to bond instantly. [11]

Notice that Allen never answers whether or not Jill was the family babysitter. You can even notice in the URL for the page that that was the original headline to the article: “Was Jill Biden Joe Biden’s Babysitter” and in the final article, they changed it to:

Jill and Joe Biden Have Been Together for Decades, but How Did They Meet?

Which of course, isn’t what anyone is asking. No one is wondering ‘how’ they met, they are wondering whether Jill was the babysitter, and whether they were cheaters. If you believe Jill’s ex-husband, she was the babysitter. If you believe the ex-husband, they were cheaters. Not providing that information is enormous missing context, even if you rate the evidence as not credible.

It’s important for fact checkers to provide evidence, even if they don’t think that evidence is consistent with the conclusion they have reached. It’s important for readers to know all the relevant evidence so they can see whether they agree with the thought process of the writer and reporter. By denying context to their readers, Snopes and Distractify are just repeating the press releases from the White House.

Manon Jacob at AFP takes a slightly different tactic: focusing solely on the age discrepancy. [12] As I noted, the original meme misstated the ages of Jill and Joe when they first met. Jill and Joe are 9 years apart, and Jill met Joe sometime in her early 20s, not when she was 15 years old. 

Here’s how Jacob at AFP starts his fact-check:

Facebook posts claim President Joe Biden and his wife Jill met when she was a teenager and he was in his thirties. This is false; according to Jill Biden and media reports they went on their first date in 1975 when she was 23 and he 32, both had previous marriages, and a photo offered as proof of their inappropriate age gap dates from 1976.

This is the easiest thing to fact-check since the birthdays are public, and the claim in the meme in this regard is indeed false. But it is also false to disprove the entire claim because the author of the meme got the ages wrong or exaggerated them for effect. 

It is a common thing for fact check organizations to cherry pick facts to focus on, so they can summarily dismiss the rest of a claim that they clearly find politically inconvenient. By rating the age claim ‘false’ they can rate the rest of the claim ‘false’ even though it is, at best, disputed. 

To their credit AFP does mention the allegations from Jill’s ex-husband Stevenson, and even mentions the suppressed media story about allegations from Tara Reade that she was sexually assaulted by Joe Biden as a Senator. 

So the fact-checkers are all protecting Biden in different ways, with Snopes being the most egregious at ignoring missing context and cherry picking in order to do so. The others largely misrepresent the central issue in the story, which is whether the 1975 blind date love story alleged by Joe and Jill is correct.

It’s not clear from the available facts, but certainly the claims by Jill’s ex-husband Stevenson shouldn’t be omitted or ignored. These significant claims are dismissed without even a fair hearing or coherent rationalization, making the media’s debunking extremely suspect here for bias. There’s significant dispute as to how and when Joe and Jill Biden met and whether their 1977 marriage started with an affair by one or both of them starting in 1972 or 1974 and that should have been included in every fact check from the very start not buried at the bottom.

OUR RATING: Trash Journalism, aka the Daily Beast.


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