When the supposed watchdogs need guarding, too, who then watches over them? The self-proclaimed “fact-checking” site Snopes.com is on the verge of a financial collapse as one of its founders has been accused of irresponsibly using company funds to support an ugly divorce, and worse, pay for fancy vacations with his new wife who used to be a former 1escort and porn actress.
His financial challenges have become so tough and dire that Snopes owner David Mikkelson had to resort to crowd-funding to plead for public donations. Readers have quickly responded, contributing more than $500,000 in just the first 24 hours since the launch of the crowd-funding plea.
Snopes has been around since 1995, and is sometimes cited by other supposed “fact-checking” sites to support their claims. Facebook has also announced recently its plan to collaborate with Snopes to flag down “fake news.” Snopes suffers, however, with low credibility with conservatives as they largely slam the site for its obvious bias towards the left and their views and agenda. Snopes has also admitted that for a site proclaiming itself as a “fact-checker”, it really has no standard procedure at all for the serious business of fact-checking.
Snopes.com’s founders, the former husband and wife tandem of David and Barbara Mikkelson, have since divorced, but continue to be embroiled in ugly legal battle. Barbara once accused her former partner of using company funds to pay for prostitutes. She has also accused David of embezzling more than $100,000 in company funds. She has asked the courts to limit access to David’s bank account because she fears that he would eventually drain company funds with his wild spending habits.
David has countered charged that his former wife took millions from their joint accounts to buy property in Las Vegas. He married one of their former staff who also used to be an escort and porn actress, Elyssa Young. Young was a Las Vegas escort until 2015, and used to charge around $500 for her services. She also starred in several porn flicks.
David is also facing other cases aside from those lodged against him by former wife Barbara. An advertising and internet company, Proper Media, has filed a lawsuit against David in California. A court hearing is scheduled for August. The owners of Proper Media bought 50 percent of Bardav Inc., a company launched by the former Mikkellson couple and which owns Snopes. They claim that David “engaged in a lengthy scheme of concealment and subterfuge to gain control of the company and to drain its profits.”
David even uses Proper Media whom he accuses of withholding advertising revenue in pleading for donations from the site’s followers and supporters, saying that they may no longer have the financial capacity to continue operating the site. Proper Media counters that it is David’s irresponsible spending habits that caused Snope’s financial troubles.
In fact, Proper Media owners believe that if David will continue on as director of Bardav, he will only succeed in irreversibly draining the company of important financial resources and will only spend instead on personal and unnecessary expenditures.
David has been accused of spending “tens of thousands of dollars” on vacations and honeymoon at Tokyo Disneyland with new wife Young. Young now serves as administrative assistant at Snopes.
WND also reported that one of Snope’s leading “fact-checkers” is a former sex-and-fetish blogger who described her routine as smoking pot and posting to Snopes.com. Snopes actually has no formal requirements for fact-checkers, because supposedly the variety of the work “would be difficult to encompass in any single blanket set of standards.
Mikkelson has previously denied that Snopes takes any political position, but his new wife once ran for U.S. Congress in Hawaii as a Libertarian in 2004. Conservative readers have always felt also that Snopes illustrate a clear bias for left-leaning views and agenda.
There lies the problem at times with self-proclaimed guardians and watchdogs, when they are so quick to see the dirt outside and can not sweep the mess in their own backyard.