Fact checking is a sad, broken joke. And Snopes is the most bizarrely brazen punch line in that joke.
After a number of conservatives, including one of my articles on Senator Kamala Harris, noted that Kamala’s’ father had written an essay tracing back his roots to a slave owner, Snopes launched a “fact check”.
The “fact check” consisted of trying to cast doubt on the statement by using the term “right-wing” very frequently. Then, finally Snopes got down to listing the source of the claim.
In his Jamaica Global article, Harris claimed to be descended from the 19th-century planter and slave owner Hamilton Brown. He wrote:
“My roots go back, within my lifetime, to my paternal grandmother Miss Chrishy (née Christiana Brown, descendant of Hamilton Brown who is on record as plantation and slave owner and founder of Brown’s Town) and to my maternal grandmother Miss Iris (née Iris Finegan, farmer and educator, from Aenon Town and Inverness, ancestry unknown to me). The Harris name comes from my paternal grandfather Joseph Alexander Harris, land-owner and agricultural ‘produce’ exporter (mostly pimento or all-spice), who died in 1939 one year after I was born and is buried in the church yard of the magnificent Anglican Church which Hamilton Brown built in Brown’s Town (and where, as a child, I learned the catechism, was baptized and confirmed, and served as an acolyte).”
There is no doubt that Hamilton Brown was a prominent plantation owner in Jamaica during the first half of the 19th century, owned slaves, and also advocated against the abolition of slavery and sought to downplay the difficult working and living conditions of slaves in Jamaica.
However, we have been unable to verify that a line of descent exists between the modern-day Harris family and the 19th-century slave owner. As such, the claim that an ancestor of Sen. Harris owned slaves in Jamaica remains unproven.
I’m going to go ahead and say that Harris probably knows more about Jamaican history and his ancestry than Snopes does.
I see no reason why Harris would falsely claim to be descended from a slave owner. And we generally accept people’s claims of descent unless, as in Elizabeth Warren’s case, the claim is manifestly untrue.
Is Snopes suggesting that Kamala’s father is lying about his ancestry? That would be risky. So instead it’s trying to cast doubt on the subject by calling it “unproven”.
Fact checks of this sort exist to advance lefty agendas and undermine conservative ones to an absurd degree. This is how absurd that degree can be.