USA Today actually fact-checked a satire piece about RBG’s death being ‘overturned’

USA Today actually fact-checked a satire piece about RBG’s death being ‘overturned’

September 29, 2020

Nothing gets by the fact-checkers at USA Today.

In a fact-check article posted Sunday, USA Today writer Chelsey Cox and other staffers unironically determined a story published by the Babylon Bee, a well-known satire site, to be — you guessed it — “satire.”

What are the details?

The Babylon Bee story, titled Ninth Circuit Court Overturns Death Of Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” jokingly suggested that the historically liberal Ninth Circuit of Appeals ruled the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death unconstitutional in attempt to block President Donald Trump from nominating a conservative replacement.

Ginsburg died earlier this month due to complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

The satirical article quipped that Trump slammed the ruling as “idiotic” and called the judges “a bunch of morons.”

Justice Kim McLane Wardlaw, in an obviously fake response, vowed to “block any attempt [to replace RBG] until we figure out a way to resurrect her or maybe clone her and restore her to her already ‘legally alive’ state. We’re still figuring that part out.”

The story should have been an obvious joke to anyone who read it, especially considering that the Bee advertises itself with the Twitter slogan, “Fake news you can trust.” USA Today appeared to acknowledge as much: “The Babylon Bee is ‘the world’s best satire site,’ according to its website,” the report said.

Yet instead of laughing if off and going about their day, USA Today fact-checkers decided to forge on and submit a lengthy rebuttal to the story.

They actually checked the records

They even went so far as to check the Ninth Circuit’s website for past rulings about Ginsburg’s death. To no one’s surprise, there aren’t any.

“There is no record of any Wardlaw opinion on Ginsburg’s death on the website for the 9th Circuit, but she participated in a panel discussion Friday about Ginsburg’s life produced by the UCLA School of Law,” Cox wrote. “There was no mention of ‘reviving’ Ginsburg during the discussion.”

The report went on to note at length the history of the West Coast-based court’s opposition to Trump before finally delivering its determination.

“We rate this claim SATIRE, based on our research,” the fact-check concluded. “A satirical article about the 9th Circuit ‘overturning’ Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has no basis in fact. It is true that the 9th Circuit has ruled against many Trump-era policies.”

The news outlet cited a whopping 15 trusted sources to support its determination. The fact-checkers could have saved precious time, however, if they would’ve just read the Bee’s bio and moved on.

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