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2021 Greatest Hits: Investigations From Snopes

In a year rife with misinformation, the Snopes team went pretty deep to get to the bottom of some of the internet’s most contested content.

Published Dec 14, 2021

 (Modified from Mike's Birds (Wikimedia Commons))
Image Via Modified from Mike's Birds (Wikimedia Commons)

As we reflect on 2021, Snopes compiled some of the year's "deep dives" — stories where our newsroom really flexed its investigative reporting skills.

From scaremongering rumors about COVID-19 vaccinations to the origin of Thanksgiving celebrations to actor Ellie Kemper's alleged connection to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), our deep dives in 2021 included:


‘18 Reasons I Won’t Be Getting a COVID Vaccine’ Post Filled With Reckless Falsehoods

A blog post riddled with misinformation is effectively a “Now That’s What I Call Music” style anthology of debunked anti-vaccine and COVID-19 denial claims.

Image via Screencapture / deconstructingconventional.com


Dan Stock’s Speech to Mt. Vernon School Board Is Not Scientifically Credible

You would be hard pressed to find a single sentence in Dr. Stock’s speech on “​​the futility of mask mandates and COVID-19 protocols” that is not misleading or explicitly false.

Image via Youtube Screencapture


About That Frank Shallenberger ‘Informed Vaccine Consent’ Post

A post authored by a doctor that promotes the dubious “ozone therapy” falsely argues the coronavirus pandemic is over. 

Image via Screenshot


The ‘Occam’s Razor Argument’ Has Not Shifted in Favor of a COVID Lab Leak

Proponents of the “COVID lab leak” theory that COVID-19 originated as a result of work performed at the Wuhan Institute of Virology keep repeating the same misinformation. 

Image via Modified from Mike's Birds (Wikimedia Commons)


Did Controversial AZT Treatment Kill More Patients than AIDS in ’80s, ’90s? 

Commonly called AZT, azidothymidine was originally produced to treat cancer two decades prior to the HIV epidemic. 

Person, Human, Monitor


Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan, and the Nobel Prize Parable 

A popular tale claims that an act of kindness greatly impacted the lives of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy. 

Image via Wikipedia


Was Thanksgiving Originally a Celebration of the Massacre of a Native American Tribe? 

The Pequot massacre of 1637 resulted in the deaths of several hundred indigenous people. 

Image via N. C. Wyeth/Wikimedia Commons


Fact Check: Ellie Kemper, the KKK, and the ‘Veiled Prophet Ball’ 

The actor’s ties to a controversial St. Louis debutante ball were unearthed in a 1999 photograph. 


Are These Rumors about Daunte Wright’s Criminal Record True? 

We determined the legitimacy of accusations against the 20-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by a white suburban Minneapolis police officer.


[See also: Top 10 Most Popular Snopes Fact Checks in 2021]

Want something investigated by Snopes in 2022? Submit your misinformation leads and questions to Snopes, subscribe to our newsletters, and support us financially by becoming a member or making a direct contribution.

Madison Dapcevich is a former writer for Snopes.

Jessica Lee is Snopes' Senior Assignments Editor with expertise in investigative storytelling, media literacy advocacy and digital audience engagement.

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