Saturday, October 10, 2020

Tim Pool keeps using the same bad argument to criticize journalists

Tim Pool was criticizing the media this week for spreading what he called "unhinged conspiracy theories" about Donald Trump's visit to Walter Reed.  The main conspiracy theory he focused on concerned the EXIF data of these two photographs released by the White House:

Twitter users, most notably Jon Ostrower, looked at the EXIF data and saw the timestamps were only spaced 10 minutes apart.  If the timestamps are legit, it gives the photos a certain staged quality, suggesting perhaps Donald Trump wasn't working as hard as he'd want the American public to believe:

Tim Pool found this allegation ridiculous.  "Let me explain why these people are insane," he says in his video (which, incidentally, has over 250,000 views).  He explains that the timestamps in the EXIF data were probably created at the end of the day when the AP photographer (referring to Joyce N. Boghosian) finally had the chance to file and edit her photos.  Thus, the timestamps didn't actually correspond to when the two photographs were originally shot.  

Tim concludes:  "These journalists don't do any work at all.  None!  None whatsoever.  It's incredible.  The no work.  No Google search."

Tim has taken this approach before.  I'm talking specifically about the videos he made following the Toronto Van Attack.  On April 23rd, 2018, a man named Alek Minassian drove a van onto a crowded Toronto sidewalk, killing 10 people and injuring 16 others.  In the hours after the attack, people began sharing copies of a Facebook post supposedly written by Alek Minassian that referenced an Incel Rebellion  The post said:

Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161.  The Incel Rebellion has already begun!  We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys!  All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!

Journalists reached out to Facebook and got confirmation the post was real, and Alek Minassian was labeled an incel terrorist by the media.  Tim Pool was pissed off about this, for some reason.  He did some digging and he concluded the Facebook post was a hoax, which meant there was no evidence Alek Minassian was an incel.  In four different YouTube videos, Tim Pool asserted his belief that the Facebook profile was fake, and he also said the journalists spreading this type of hoax were "evil."  Here's a sample diatribe:

This is fake news....I bet everything, I bet my car, that this incels thing is fake news....Somebody made a Facebook profile and then added a post...We have no reason to believe it's true.  There's no confirmation. Yet it will go down in history that this man was an incel like many of these other shooters, like Elliot Rodger....When the New York Times runs a story where they say Alek Minassian was an incel, that's not the truth....A fake profile is not proof.

However, it turned out the Facebook post was real.  Alek Minassian wrote it, he posted it on his personal Facebook account, and he identified as an incel.  I reviewed Tim's arguments in a blog post last year, and I examined in painstaking detail all the facts surrounding the Facebook post, and I concluded with roughly 99.99% certainty it was legitimate.  There was a tiny smidge of uncertainty, but this doubt was removed when Toronto authorities released footage last year of an interview between Alek Minassian and a police detective:

Minassian talks at length about being an incel, about 4chan and Eliot Rodger.  At the 2:01:07 mark, he says:

I did post a Facebook message right before the attack stating that the Incel Rebellion has already begun.  

So there's the definitive proof.

Now it would be easy to say, "Hey look, Tim Pool got it wrong!"  But I wanted to understand why he got it wrong, and there were a few reasons I picked up on as to why Tim Pool thought the Facebook post was a hoax.  He thought the timestamp on the Facebook post might not match up with the minute-by-minute timeline of the attack, and he also thought the post might've been edited after the attack took place.  I explained in my blog why neither of those theories made sense.  I know how Facebook works, and I could tell when Tim Pool was barking up the wrong tree.

It's harder for me to pinpoint where Tim might be going wrong with regards to the EXIF data.  When he mentioned Adobe Premiere, and talked about his experience rendering photos, I found myself thinking, "Maybe he really knows what he's talking about this time."  And I realized I was starting to fall under what Michael Crichton called the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect.  This pertains to how we consume the news, and how we forget to be skeptical sometimes.  Crichton said:

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray's case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

I myself don't know anything about photography or how EXIF if data is generated.  However, I recognize that the argument Tim made about EXIF data is the exact same goddamn argument he made about Alek Minassian's Facebook post:  He's saying journalists got it wrong because the timestamps can be edited.  That's his one argument.  The last time I analyzed one of these arguments, it turned out to be bullshit.  Since I couldn't pass my own judgment on this specific topic, I looked at what different news and photography websites said about the EXIF data.

Allen Murabayashi wrote a blog post and recorded a podcast for, and he used forensic tools to examine the two pictures.  He drew a critical eye to certain claims, such as the claim Donald Trump was signing a blank piece of paper.  At no point did Allen suggest the timestamps in the EXIF data were misleading.

Patrick Hall of tried to track down the original photos so he could examine the EXIF data himself.  Patrick's article took a more cautious approach.  He wrote: "Some might ask if someone simply could have made up fake EXIF data and pushed them online to a mob of people foaming at the mouth to discredit the president? That doesn't seem to be the case since the times match from images anyone can download off the AP's website."

Jane Lytvynenko of BuzzFeed News complied a list of false claims and misinformation being spread about Donald Trump's stay at Walter Reed.  In regards to the EXIF data, she wrote: "Yes, metadata really does show these two photos of Trump being taken minutes apart. (The date relies on the camera's internal clock, which may be out of date or inaccurate.)"

Allen Murabayashi and Patrick Hall are photographers, and Jane Lytvynenko debunks misinformation for a living.  None of them brought up the same point Tim Pool had harped on.  None of them suggested the timestamps in the EXIF data were generated or edited when the photos were filed at the end of the day.  Tim Pool was acting as though Jon Ostrower and other Twitter users had made the most obvious mistake in the world.  Yet I couldn't find anyone else echoing Tim's thoughts.

Maybe there's a reason for that.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Breitbart makes a faulty "fact check" about Biden

You won't believe it, but this fact check from Breitbart is faulty.  Here's the claim they're supposedly fact-checking, from the NBC town hall with Joe Biden:

CLAIM: For the umpteenth time, Joe Biden claimed that President Donald Trump called neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, “very fine people.” 

Except Joe Biden didn't make that claim.  Biden simply quoted Donald Trump's line about how there were "very fine people" on both sides in Charlottesville and said it was a dog whistle. Breitbart is upset because Joe Biden called Trump's line a dog whistle, and they don't have a good way to counter that.  So Breitbart made something up, and then fact-checked what they made up.      

I know Donald Trump didn't specifically say during his press conference that Neo-Nazis were "fine people."  I know he said White Supremacists should be condemned.  But he definitely said there were "very fine people" on both sides.  That's a quote.  From there, interpretations begin to split.  Is it possible to be on the same side as Neo-Nazis, and march alongside White Supremacists, and also be a fine person?  Were there Average Joes who attended the Unite The Right rally out of curiosity, got swept up in the march, and didn't realize until later that the people shouting "Jews will not replace us!" were bad hombres?  That's the argument the "fine people" truthers are making, and I don't think most people are buying the argument, which is why Joe Biden keeps bringing up the quote. 

Biden didn't say that Trump called Neo-Nazis or White Supremacists "fine people."  His wording was more careful, as you can see in this transcript: 

Again, I give you my word, after my son passed, I wasn’t going to run again. But when I saw those people coming out of the woods, literally, the fields, carrying torches in Charlottesville screeching at — if you close your eyes, remember what you saw. Their veins bulging, preaching antisemitic hate. The same exact language used in Germany in the thirties, accompanied by the Ku Klux Klan. And when a woman was innocently killed, what was the question asked of the president? “What do you think?” He said there were “very fine people on both sides.” No president has ever said anything remotely like that. There’s this constant dog whistle.

I don't detect any lies in what he said.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Why is this Facebook voting ad so spooky?

A few nights ago I was watching TV when this jarring commercial aired:

The point is to encourage Facebook users to learn about the 2020 voting process.  But the ad makes voting seem like it's some ominous endeavor.  Here are some highlights: 

0:00:  Spooky piano music plays.  An old woman stares out the window.  A girl in a darkened room gets ready to blow out her birthday candles, possibly for the last time.  A despondent man sits in the woods.  A mailman has a concerned look on his face while holding an envelope.  Some dude in a bathroom is stunned while reading a Facebook update about a dog.

0:17: A beleaguered mother of two tries to type something into her phone, and fails.

0:27: Close-up shot of a tongue.  

0:33:  The spooky piano music plays again.  The elderly woman asks her friend, "You'll be safe, right?"  (This is the LAST thing you'd ever want to ask someone in a horror movie.)  Two women in masks douse a voting area with spray and goo.  

0:49:  The ghostly sound of a child's laughter is heard.  

0:52:  A guy goes "Whoo!" in the voting booth.  (This isn't  scary, but the guy seems obnoxious.  I think he's wearing a fedora.)

0:56:  A plug for the website:  This is the thing being advertised, believe it or not.  

With all that said, the actual FB website seems useful, and I was able to check my registration status in about 45 seconds.  However, I would have never thought to visit the website if I weren't poring over this spooky ad in preparation for writing a blog post.  The whole presentation reminded me of that infamous ad for the electric car.  You know, the one which made it seem like anyone who bought an electric car was doomed:

Friday, October 2, 2020 is another site which plagiarizes content.

Here is an article from September 4th, 2020, with the byline Turan Gafarli, titled: "Amazon deletes 20,000 reviews after evidence of profits for posts."

The text is copied entirely from an article from September 4th, 2020, written by David Lee, titled: "Amazon deletes 20,000 reviews after evidence of profits for posts"

The Union Journal has a Twitter account with 1,987 followers and a Facebook page with 495 likes.  The Transparency section on the Facebook page lists the owner as Rottweiler Life(?) and it lists Egypt as the location of the three page managers.  A few posts from The Union Journal have done well on Reddit; a submission in /r/WorldNews linking to the story about Amazon reviews received over 63,000 upvotes.

The articles on display AdSense ads and contain internet chum.

As of October 2nd, the homepage of contains two additional outbound links:  One link leads to  Another leads to (The Armenian Reporter), which is listed as a "partner."  Both sites have a similar website layout at TheUnionJournal.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

 Here's a news website which doesn't serve any purpose:

The About page says:

The Daily New York is an online newspaper that brings you all the latest updates regarding Politics, Business, Tech, Entertainment, Health, Sports, Style, Travel and More.

We are truth hunters and narrators. We are writers, planners and technologists, joined by a strategic vision to empower the world. We demonstrate the veracity of history as it unfurls and clarify what occurred, why it did, and what it means to you.

Our items and stages take you to the farthest corners of the world, and they carry the world to you, conveying materials and stories that improve your lives, your families and your networks.

We are accessible on a larger number of screens in a larger number of spots than some other news source. We represent greatness in our news coverage and our items. We are focused on serving you

You should've realized something was off by the time you reached "Our items and stages take you to the farthest corners of the world."  The homepage has a Statue of Liberty graphic, and the header has links for "World," "Business," "Opinion," "Sports," etc... 

The site has lots of articles, most which are two paragraphs long.  The articles don't seem to be plagiarized, but the grammar is janky.  The only byline I saw was "Chris Norton," and clicking on the byline takes you to:  I opened some stories in an incognito tab, and there weren't any ads.  The Contact page just contains a submission form.  The domain was registered on July 24, 2020.  

Here's a sample story titled "Serena Williams pulled out of French Open with Achilles injury ahead of her match against Tsvetana Pironkova":

TheDailyNY has a Twitter account with 612 tweets and 2 followers, and a Facebook page with 2 "likes."  This could all simply be some dude's personal project.  I'm not really sure.

A reddit account named /u/Ali_Sands has been spamming the domain.  Ali_Sands was also spamming another site a couple months ago called, and he promoted some sort of "Song Quiz" app, which you can see in the Google Play store:  It's from Arton Studios.

Saturday, September 12, 2020 on Reddit

Graphika published a report on the network, which was attributed to Russia's Internet Research Agency.  The website never reached a wide audience, but it's still interesting to look at the IRA's activity.

In addition to the main website (, the network also consisted of social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  One of the Twitter profiles was "Alice Schultz" (@AliceSc14113509), which was created on June 3, 2020.  I looked on Reddit and a found a user named /u/AliceSchultz25, which is just about the fakest-sounding username you could come up with.  Alice's account was created on June 1, 2020.  She shared two links to in /r/History and made another self-post in /r/PoliticalDiscussion (which likely contained a link to  All three links were removed by the automod and none of them got any upvotes.

I went onto, and found 10 other submission to  The most successful of these posts received 6 upvotes.

One post came from /u/Thisisntthespace, which is a shadowbanned account, so I can't see when the account was created.

So I assume /u/AliceSchultz25 is a sockpuppet, and perhaps /u/Thisisntthespace was a sockpuppet, too.  None of the other submissions came from accounts that I would say are sockpuppets, but I'll give a summary for the sake of completeness.

Three posts came from /u/gregorjamessmith40, which is a four-month old account with a lot of posts about Turkey and Syria and the Middle East.  He shares a lot of links to sites I haven't heard of, such as and

Two posts came from /u/kavabean2, which is a 12-year-old account with 112,000 karma points.  KavaBean2 is a moderator of /r/Labour and he shares links to a lot of left-wing sites such as and

One post came from /u/IntnsRed, which is a 14-year-old account with 400,000 karma points.  IntnsRed is a moderator of /r/WorldPolitics2, and he shares links to a ton of websites, including The Guardian, Newsweek, and CounterPunch.

Two posts came from /u/captainwaffles, which is a 10-year-old account.  CaptainWaffles also shares links to videos from Jimmy Dore and articles by Aaron Maté.

One post came from /u/human-no560, and he was sharing the link in order to highlight an example of Russian propaganda, so that doesn't really count. 

Below are all the links:








Thursday, September 10, 2020

Why was Carpe Donktum beefing with Luke O'Brien?

Here's something I was planing to write a while ago.  It will be interesting to approximately five people on the planet. 

Last year, I collaborated with BuzzFeed on an article about Carpe Donktum, the pro-Trump memesmith.  At the time, few people knew Carpe Donktum's real name, and the BuzzFeed article talked about how Carpe used a fake alias (Dennis F. Charles) while appearing on an OANN program.  The article  didn't reveal Carpe's real name, and, admittedly, the whole thing came off kind of clunky.  It was posted on July 15, 2019.

A few days later, Carpe Donktum got into a Twitter spat with Luke O'Brien of the Huffington Post.  Carpe claimed he'd received an e-mail from an INSIDER at HuffPost who said the site was planning to dox him in an upcoming piece, and that the author of this upcoming piece was Luke O'Brien.

I trust Carpe was telling the truth when he said he received an e-mail.  But I have my doubts as to whether the e-mail really came from an INSIDER at the Huffington Post.  My guess is the e-mail came from some random dude.  Carpe took the e-mail seriously, and he sent a text message to a Huffington Post editor about the non-existent article. 

The next sequence is a bit hazy, because Carpe Donktum's Twitter account has since been suspended.  I think he made some tweets about how Luke O'Brien was planning to dox him, which caused people to contact Luke O'Brien, which then caused Luke to send out this tweet on Saturday, July 20th:

Carpe then displayed some poor reading comprehension.  He thought he was being accused personally of having sent Luke O'Brien a DM (which is something he'd never done).  Carpe then got indignant and accused Luke O'Brien of lying.

At this point, Luke O'Brien figured "Screw it" and he decided to tweet out Carpe Donktum's real name (Logan Cook).  The name was already floating around Twitter at that point, so it wasn't like Luke had to do much digging.  I don't think he planned any of this in advance.  He was simply reacting to all the weird tweets he was getting.  The drama had become a self-fulfilling prophecy:  Carpe Donktum accused Luke O'Brien of planning to dox him, and so Luke O'Brien went ahead and doxed him.  Carpe Donktum then released a prepared video message which revealed that his name was, in fact, Logan Cook.

Over the next week, Carpe Donktum kept saying Luke O'Brien was a liar, and Luke O'Brien, in turn, called Carpe Donktum a liar.  I don't think Luke O'Brien ever challenged the specific claim that there was an INSIDER at the Huffington Post.  He said repeatedly that HuffPost was never planning to run the article, but I don't think he ever addressed how the misinformation sprouted in the first place.

It seems Carpe Donktum is still sore at Luke O'Brien.  After getting suspended by Twitter, Carpe posted an image on Facebook complaining about how Luke O'Brien's Twitter account was still active.

I feel like this whole spat could've been short-circuited with a single pointed question delivered at the right time.  All someone would've had to do was ask Carpe Donktum about the e-mail.  I realize there's a chance it came from a legitimate insider, but I would bet it didn't

In any case, I transcribed some of Carpe's interviews and Periscopes from around this time.  Three of the four videos are gone (only the one from Ali's Perscope is still up), so you'll have to trust that these transcripts are accurate.

From one of Carpe Donktum's Periscopes on July 20, 2019, titled "Sir, I am going to use love for political purposes, and love will win":
The guy that works for Huffington Post, the guy that was gonna write an article on me finally posted something.  A scathing review of me, where he mentioned that I was somebody that was in his DMs.  That's a lie.  I've never sent Luke any DMs, which is kinda hilarious because it's so easy to verify.  All he has to do is post the DMs...I did, however, send a text message to his editor.  His editor has their cell phone number on their profile, so it was pretty easy to get in contact with him.  I sent him a text message which I also posted, which was basically just saying:  'Hey, your guy, your employee, didn't reach out to me even though they were gonna write a story about me where they printed my real name without my consent.'  And I never received a reply back from the editor, but Luke is obviously upset, obviously upset about that.  And I believe what he said is that I "cried" to his editor, which is not what I did...It's obvious fake news.  And I talked to Ali for a little bit, live, about it.  It's pathetic, really.
This is what the mainstream media does.  They try to write pieces about people and they never reach out for comments.  They write slanderous things.  They don't even bother to reach out for comment.  I provided them--Huffington Post--with the opportunity to get a comment but they never responded.  They also never posted a piece.  Here's the funny part about all this is that they never reached out for comment, I never would have known that they were gonna publish it if I hadn't had an insider that had told me in advance that they were running a piece.  They would have published without talking to me. They wouldn't have even reached out to me at all.  I'm sure in the piece they would have said 'We reached out to Carpe Donktum for comment but he did not respond.'  I'm sure that's what it would've been had I not found out about it beforehand and gotten ahead of it.  But that's how the media operates.
From another of Carpe Donktum's Periscopes, titled "Have a few minutes":
BuzzFeed was gonna dox me on Tuesday.  And then they decided after getting pummeled on Twitter, they decided not to do it.  And then the next day I got an e-mail from an insider somewhere around Huffington Post saying "Hey, Huffington Post is preparing to release your name too."  Then we did the whole release statement and Rick-Roll and all that stuff.  Then I heard back that they weren't planning on running that story anymore.  So Huffington Post retracted.
I was lucky though that somebody sent me an e-mail, because I would have had no idea that Huffington Post was even going to do a story because they never contacted me.  I ended up calling the editor of the guy that was gonna do the article--I'm not even name his name--but I called his editor and left him a--well, it went straight to voicemail so I texted him and I just said, 'Hey, I was gonna give you an opportunity to comment before you ran my name against my will, and give you an opportunity, because nobody has contacted me from your publication about this story.  So just thought you guys would want to at least get my comment before you get yourselves in a world of hurt.'
From an interview with Owen Shroyer of InfoWars TV, dated June 22, 2019):
It actually started on Tuesday of last week with BuzzFeed wanting to publish my name.  They decided not to after some public outcry, and then the next day I got a message from somebody from the Huffington Post saying they were gonna print it.  My source told me that it was Luke O'Brien from the Huffington Post.  Later that night they didn't actually print it, but then the next day and over the midnight hour Luke threw a giant fit on Twitter, and then the next morning he ended up doing the thing that he said he wasn't planning to do, and he actually exposed me on--I think it was Thursday.
From one of Ali's Periscopes, titled "Late night with Ali and Carpe calls in":
This Huffington Post guy, though, man, he's got some cajones on him...The DMs don't exist.  I've never DM'ed the dude, and he's never DM'ed me as far as I know.   

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Scott Adams denies saying thing which he clearly said on video

Scott Adams has made lots of tweets and Periscopes lately attacking Joe Biden over what Adams calls “The Charlottesville Hoax.”  The notion of the hoax is that Joe Biden is lying by omission when he quotes the famous Donald Trump remark from the August 15, 2017, press conference about how there were “very fine people” on both sides in Charlottesville.  There was another part of the press conference where Trump said neo-Nazis and white nationalists "should be condemned totally," and Adams gets mad when people don’t highlight that part.     

Personally, I don’t agree that this thing is a “hoax,” but that’s the word Adams is pushing.

Last Saturday, a Twitter user named @reasonablemitch responded to Adams with this image:

That quote is from Scott Adams’s Periscope video on August 12, 2017, which was the same day the attack in Charlottesville occurred.  This was shortly after Donald Trump had made some public remarks on the matter.  The quote from Adams happens at the 1:15 mark. 

Adams responded to @reasonablemitch and said it was a "Fake quote."  When another person asked where the quote was from, Adams replied: "Nowhere. Fake quote. They are coming at me hard today."  That was an odd reply, because clearly the quote is real.  There's video of him saying it, and the video comes from his own Periscope.   

So what's going on?

One possibilityand this is a long shotis that Scott Adams is quibbling because the person who designed the image had put “other hate groups” at the end when Adams simply said “hate groups.”  I doubt Adams would really split hairs over that, but you never know.

Another possibility is that, in his mind, the quote is "fake" because it lacks context.  Any quote can be labeled"fake" (or a "hoax") because you can always add more and more and more context to try and adjust its meaning.  If people on the internet are wrongly interpreting what's in his mind, then Adams can say those interpretations are "fake," because the folks on the internet don't have access to the same thought process Adams had when he said the quote.          

Another possibility is he simply forgot he ever said it.

And yet another possibility is that Scott Adams has re-wired his brain in such a way so that things which are real to most other people aren't real to him.  Now you might read that last sentence and go "Huh?"  But, of the four possibilities I've mentioned, I think that's the closest to hitting the mark.