“Let us be clear: Plagiarism undermines our mission and values, full stop,” said the statement. “It has no place in any context within this organization.”
The plagiarism was discovered by BuzzFeed writer Dean Sterling Jones, who recognized sentences and paragraphs that appeared to be copied and pasted directly, without proper attribution, from other websites.
Jones found over 20 clear examples of plagiarism during his investigation.
Mikkelson posted the stories to the leftist website under the title “Snopes Staff” and the pseudonym “Jeff Zarronandia,” perhaps hoping that his plagiarism would go unnoticed.
Throughout the investigation, Jones also uncovered reports of Mikkelson requesting that his journalists engage in unethical reporting practices.
Snopes said that Mikkelson, who was suspended while awaiting the outcome of the investigation, has been cooperative with so far.
Doreen Marchionni, the managing editor Snopes.com, and Vinny Green, chief operations officer for Snopes Media Group, issued the apology to the website’s readers, committing to greater journalistic integrity in the future.
“To the staff, past, present, and future, who are undoubtedly impacted by these findings, we are deeply sorry,” they wrote.
“While an individual’s actions have caused this breach of our ethics, we hope the extraordinary writers and editors who work at Snopes do not see their efforts and reputation undermined by these missteps,” they added.
As of now, the media outlet is also retracting all offending stories.