Long story short, Snopes has classified the story as 'MIXTURE,' containing both true and false elements, despite saying in their first statement that it is false.
Statement reproduces President Obama's response regarding opposition to his veterans' health insurance plan.
The beginning of Snopes' response:
This item is another entry difficult to classify as either "true" or "false." It's false in the literal sense that President Barack Obama did not utter the words attributed to him above; this piece is an excerpt from a form of satire that makes political or social points by putting outrageous words into the mouths of others.
However, even if the words aren't literally true (i.e., they're not something Barack Obama actually said), the issue they reference is not, as in most satirical pieces, a fabrication or a highly exaggerated version of reality.
Ah yes, the old "in a literal sense" conundrum.
The point here is that the claim they're addressing is whether the words actually are Obama's. They come right out and say they're not, but then go on a huge rant about policies of which they're obviously not fond. Many people are outraged by this. I'm guessing it's because everyone has always thought of Snopes as the last bastion of unbiased truth on the Internet. Everyone but me, that is.
This is bothersome to me because many Snopes-checkers rarely read past the green or red 'True' or 'False' indicators on any given subject, trusting that Snopes knows what they're talking about. In this case, their declaration of it as 'False' is not justified by the actual evidence they've presented.
Now, I'm not saying that Tony Blair did tell this amusing anecdote at a cocktail party, but the only "evidence" they have regarding its untruth is speculation from a man whose job it is to make Tony Blair look good -- a man that wasn't even present at said dinner party in the first place. In legal dramas on television, I believe they'd call that "hearsay." And I object! It's the word of someone who was present against someone who wasn't. Not exactly fair reasoning. (It is my claim, however, that had Tony Blair's press secretary been present, and had Tony Blair actually said it, the secretary would still say he didn't. That's his job, afterall.)
With evidence like that, Snopes could, at best, only classify the story as "unverifiable." After discovering this, I spent several hours going through all the George Bush articles on Snopes.com looking for bias. Granted, my results clearly showed my own confirmation bias -- I'm just going to pretend like that's not a problem. Suffice to say, according to my research, the statement that "Snopes is generally favorable towards Republicans whenever blatant evidence to the contrary doesn't make it impossible to do so," is a big fat "True."
So anyway, if you rely on Snopes to determine whether or not the things you hear are true, then you need to -- at the very least -- actually read their evidence for whatever determination they make and then use your own skills of deduction before you go snidely emailing it off to whatever poor sucker repeated it as fact.
You might not actually deserve the smug, self-righteous feeling you get when you do that.
The author lives in Vancouver, Washington, USA with his girlfriend and a menagerie of cats, rats, fish, birds, guinea pigs and robots.
Among other inanities, he strives to use investigative techniques to work young starlet breasts into every aspect of rational discourse -- focusing on the discourse, thus making it not perverted. Also, has recently begun a career as "Internet hairstylist."
He can be contacted via email and Jabber IM at 'email@example.com'. He likes to be contacted.
(All press inquiries, however, ought be directed towards the author's agent, Alistair Hoel, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.)