All too often the most virulent disinformation comes from sources claiming to expose the disinformation in mainstream media. As I see it, among the
most significant issues with the majority of political blogs and other alternative outlets are:
1. Consumers tend to give these outlets the benefit of the doubt because they claim to reveal 'the truth' hidden by the MSM boogeymen. This is
particularly true in the case of conservatives who believe the mainstream is dominated by a 'liberal agenda.'
2. Regardless of the accuracy of the content, there's very little accountability since consumers tend to have remarkably short attention spans and
advertisers are either permissive or complicit in the spread of disinformation for propaganda purposes.
3. Outlets aggregate from one another which reinforces the apparent validity of disinformation, makes it harder to source and debunk, far more
difficult to remove and insulates the reputations of those outlets that republish disinformation.
Just like with the big boys, the most successful outlets are those that churn out the highest volume of sensational headlines. Unlike the big boys,
there's no real downside to being wrong or flat out lying.
Simply put, it doesn't pay to have standards.
Over the last 48 hours, an image purporting to show the 'whitening' of the Oregon shooter by CNN has gone viral. A brief sample of the repititions of
this bit of disinformation can be seen at the following (even Fox's Megyn Kelly gets into the action since her blog republishes from The Gateway
All of the above (and dozens more) outlets cite a single source for the image and the allegation,
this post at The Conservative Tree House
, which contains the following image and claims:
On the left is the selfie Christopher Mercer uploaded to his social media. On the right is how CNN presented the same selfie in broadcast stories
about him. Why did CNN need to change the complexion (color) of their broadcast? Why is no-one showing pictures of mom, Laurel Margaret
What is lacking is any provenance for the image. No source video is linked and in fact, no information at all is provided. Fortunately a little Google
sleuthing turned up the likely source. Rolling over the publish date of the blog post, you'll see that it was published at 10:29 PM on October 2nd.
Searching Google Images by image and looking for occurrences of the image on the 2nd and before, I found what appears to be its origin, Twitter user
's tweet at 12:03 PM (EST, my timezone), Oct 2nd which can be viewed
. The tweet reads:
"The #UCCShooting killer was a black male. Look what the media did to his photo."
As of now, the tweet has 1519 retweets and has been favorited 703 times and andieiamwhoiam has 2,896 followers. If you scroll down a bit, you'll see
an exchange where another Twitter user asks about where the image came from
"andieiam @andieiamwhoiam Oct 2
@LadyPatriot777 I copied it from a liberal Tweeter. I wish I knew how popular it would become."
"LadyPatriot777 @LadyPatriot777 Oct 2
.@andieiamwhoiam A liberal tweeter??? I would have thought no liberal would send out something like that! Which tweeter??"
"andieiam @andieiamwhoiam Oct 3
@LadyPatriot777 The whiter photo only. I was so mad I copied it and found an actual photo online. Then I put them together."
So here we have the earliest appearance of the image indexed by Google, a heavily retweeted tweet, and an admission by the person who tweeted it that
she created the image used by the Conservative Treehouse. Andieiamwhoiam of course blames a "liberal Tweeter" whose name "she" (who knows?) can't
remember even though "she" claims that "she" was so incensed by it that she immediately searched and found the source image, Photoshopped it next to
the lighter image and Tweeted her composite image. Notice that the scale/cropping/etc are identical, so either "she" found an exact copy of the
source, cropped out exactly the same pixels as those used by the phantom tweeter from a larger image or simply pasted her own doctored image next to
the source she created it from.
As a bit of a bonus dear friends, I also came across a deleted post from The Gateway Pundit from October 1st entitled
BREAKING: Internet Trolls Altered Chris Harper Mercer’s Online Profile Today – Now Says He’s “Conservative”
that is cached
. That deleted post has an embedded tweet from The
Gateway Pundit (Jim Hoft) that has also since been deleted.
edit on 2015-10-4 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)