EXCLUSIVE — The New York Times would “love to cancel” the Babylon Bee, the CEO of the increasingly popular satirical website told Fox News, revealing that legal action is being considered after the paper labeled their content as misinformation.
“Cancel culture is a funny thing. The way that it works most of the time is, you know, somebody says something that they shouldn’t have said. They tweet something regrettable, they tweet something politically incorrect that you’re not allowed to say or think anymore. And then an outraged mob forms and tries to get that person fired or canceled,” said Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon, whose website and Twitter feed battle political correctness and mock “woke” liberals on a daily basis.
“It’s a little different for us.”
Dillon said The Babylon Bee is targeted by the same people who push cancel culture, but they go about it differently when dealing with a platform that is meant to entertain.
“These liberal media outlets and personalities have tried to create this narrative about us where we’re not actually a satire site, but a disinformation site and where we’re putting out fake news on purpose to mislead people,” he said, adding that critics claim the site uses satire as a “shield” to get around Facebook and other social media platforms’ rules
The New York Times recently reported the Bee “sometimes trafficked in misinformation under the guise of satire,” while CNN’s Brian Stelter and Donie O’Sullivan have made similar claims. Dillon said the goal is “obviously” to get the narrative to stick that his site is a serial spreader of fake news, as it would then be deplatformed by Big Tech companies.
“They put this stuff out there and if they can get it to stick, then then we have no platform remaining. There’s not going to be anybody who wants to host our stuff. … It’s an effort to try and cancel us.”
Dillon has previously blasted the Times for pushing “false and defamatory” rhetoric about his company in a report published by the liberal newspaper last month. He’s still peeved that the Times accused his site of peddling fake news “under the guise of satire” and is now considering legal action.
“We are contemplating and discussing with our counsel what the next move should be. Should we sue them or not. And that’s an open question,” he said. “We’re exploring our options.”
The Times made the claims in a feature, “For Political Cartoonists, the Irony Was That Facebook Didn’t Recognize Irony,” that was published last month. The report detailed how Facebook has had trouble identifying satire when policing its site for frowned-upon political content.
The New York Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“They edited that article, a very minor edit,” Dillon said, noting the paper deleted the line about trafficking in misinformation.
The Times added an updated line that claimed the Bee “has feuded with Facebook and the fact-checking site Snopes over whether the site published misinformation or satire.”
“It’s not really much of a correction. In fact, it’s actually kind of a joke,” he said.
Dillon said it’s ironic that the very same media outlets that condemn misinformation don’t practice what they preach.
“They’re using misinformation to smear us as being a source of misinformation,” Dillon said. “They are, in fact, the ones trafficking in misinformation under the guise of journalism.”
Dillon said the neverending push for political correctness from the left helps provide fodder for his site but also creates challenges for satire.
“We’re able to mock them for kind of the silliness of it a lot of the time,” Dillon said. “Some of these examples are just so extreme and ridiculous. You can’t help but laugh at them.”
One example Dillon laughed at was a recent CNN report that declared certain text fonts “communicating Asianness” can be racist and “perpetuate problematic stereotypes” when the font is used on things such as takeout menus. A second example was Hunter Biden admitting he smoked parmesan cheese because it resembled crack.
“I think it’s one of the challenges that we face right now. You know, G. K. Chesterton said way back in 1911 that the world has become too absurd to be satirized. And I just laugh when I think about that,” Dillon said, marveling at how the English philosopher viewed the world as “absurd” more than a century ago.
“What would he think now?” Dillon asked, saying satire becomes more difficult when the actual political commentary is so “laughable.”
Despite that, Dillon and his team have found a way to poke fun at everything from CNN and the mainstream media, to top Democrats, to Black Lives Matter and far-left protesters.
Dillon said his staff essentially fires off ideas to each other all day and if something is funny, it winds up on the site once it’s ironed out.
“It’s just this constant back and forth … other writers will chime in and try to refine it and get it to where it needs to be so that we can write an article off of it,” he said. “It always starts with the headline, the joke is in the headline.”
But Dillon admits that his even his team might not have come up with something like Hunter Biden’s cheese admission and some of the other actual headlines the writers come across each day.
“I don’t know that we’ve ever done anything that’s as wild as that. We try to keep it pretty silly a lot of the time just to be goofy, have fun with it. But yeah, reality sometimes outpaces us,” Dillon said.