“He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress.” Hosea 12:7
I am a collector of discarded books from the Hattiesburg, Mississippi library, and so for ten cents, I acquired the 2008 Federal Rules of Evidence with Advisory Committee Notes and Legislative History (Christopher B. Mueller and Laird C. Kirkpatrick). On page 251, the 1961 lawsuit Dallas County v. Commercial Union Assoc. Co., Ltd. was cited as part of a discussion on hearsay exceptions. In this particular case, the Court had found that an unsigned newspaper article published 50 years earlier did not fit within any of the recognized hearsay exceptions. However, the Court concluded, “the article was trustworthy because it was inconceivable that a newspaper reporter in a small town would report a fire in the courthouse if none had occurred“.
There are two primary components that ensure the trustworthiness of journalistic reports. The integrity of the reporter sits on one scale of the counterbalances, while the fact-checking capability of the readers is set on the other scale. In the example of the small town newspaper noted above, the article was unsigned, but the accountability resided with the publisher whose personal reputation would be well known in the community. And then secondly, it is significant that the newspaper readers were within the same proximity to the material facts of the article as was the reporter.
The Balances are two scales which hold opposing weights, held up by the hand of Justice. This concept is seen in the court system where material facts and legal arguments are evaluated, and in the financial sphere with its double-entry accounting system where every entry has a corresponding and opposite notation to a different account. And then of course in the physical world of Newtonian physics, the third law observes that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
Much of what is described as Alternative Media News reporting is untrustworthy in detail and scope, because the internet’s set of “balances” are inherently deceitful. The primary blame for this state of affairs lies with the partiality of the propagator of the news reports itself, who presently are able to broadcast to a vast audence with little or no personal cost to themselves, and are allowed to operate behind a curtain of a false public image.
Although there are commentaries and forums that serve as restraining forces against the promotion of lies on the internet, the relationship of these websites to a writer of the original report is often just the anomalous tie provided by using the same tag words, which allows search engines to group similar topics together. The “face-to-face” relationship that exists between local newspapers and their readership base has been severed in the internet world.
Example One: The Balances of Deceit Are In His Hand
One recent example of an untrustworthy internet news publication is True Pundit, who was recently called out in an August 27, 2018, Buzzfeed expose by Craig Silverman, titled, Revealed: Notorious Pro-Trump Misinformation Site True Pundit Is Run By An Ex-Journalist With A Grudge Against the FBI.
But months earlier, someone with the pseudonym exGOPer started a thread on January 23, 2018 under Politics on elitetrader.com, titling it A Brief History of right-wing’s favorite fake news site True Pundit (loved by Russians). “exGOPer” provided an extensive numbered list of his observations. Below, I pull out a few of the interesting ones from the beginning of this thread, which are useful to our discussion on the vanishing of trustworthy historical documentation.
Under (1) exGOPer notes that True Pundit began publishing on June 9, 2016. Line (3) says, “All articles on True Pundit are published anonymously. The only person publicly associated with the website operates under a pseudonym- ‘Thomas Paine.’ (Thomas Paine, a Founding Father of the United States, was instrumental in convincing the colonies to rebel against Britain.)”. Line (4) adds that “From June 9, 2016 to June 12, 2016, it seemed clear True Pundit had been started up in a hurry-it published dozens of stories but no original reporting. More than 95% of stories were simply links to other sources, while True Pundit ‘originals’ were two-sentence news summaries.”
Line (8) states, “then, on June 12, 2016, the Orlando nightclub shooting occurred- and it seemed a switch had been turned on. True Pundit had its story…”. Line (10) observes, “It must have seemed odd to any readers of True Pundit in those first 72 hours of operation to read that the Philly publication already had ‘multiple’ sources in the Philadelphia Police Dept. and *multiple* Philly-based ‘recognized security expert’ sources-but so they said.”
(11) comments, “But Mateen” [Orlando nightclub shooting story] “changed everything. Suddenly True Pundit was publishing what it said were original (‘exclusive’) stories, all of which relied-or-claimed to-on FBI sources. Not just one source, but multiple-and not just random sources, but sources close to the Pulse investigation.” (12) “The mystery of this was dispelled almost immediately, when True Pundit wrote the following in an ‘exclusive’ on Mateen after the shooting: ‘True Pundit has folks who worked for the FBI and other agencies on staff.’ It then claimed to have ‘unique insight’ into FBI operations.”
Our last line which we shall consider, (13) states, “Whether or not True Pundit really had ex-FBI staff, no reader could possible know. But what was clear was that True Pundit was obsessed with the FBI, had-at a minimum- some basic knowledge of criminal investigation, and was very, very, angry at the current state of the Bureau.”
This thread by exGOPer, continues on, point by point, making observations about True Pundit, in an attempt to weigh in the balances the trustworthiness of the reporting of Thomas Paine, now known to be Michael D. Moore. While this forum writer posts under an anonymous name, his presentation of factual observations is detailed and astute. In contrast the writer under the pseudonym Thomas Paine has presented himself in a false light by borrowing from the historical reputation of a real person in American history. There is something defamatory and insulting about a person writing under false pretenses, by masking himself with another person’s good reputation, without the consent of that once, long ago, real flesh and blood individual.
Example Two: He loveth to Oppress
The Anonymous broadcaster of profaneness, defamation, and false accusations to provoke and harass his selected victims.
I recently ran across a YouTuber using a fake name, where I was drawn to look at his videos which he had linked, via tag words, to a particular YouTube channel which I like. I am going to call the fake name channel “X” as this channel’s content is continually both factually false and/or defamatory. Apparently this person has lost at least one channel for violating nudity standards, and seems to have received numerous strikes to his videos because of their defamatory content.
On his new channel which has few viewers, X laments, “Because they are watching me, they’ve been watching me because I used to go into chats and say shit and I see that, that is a waste of a complete waste of time to say anything in a chat opposing these people and they’re controlled chats. All you’re doing is exposing yourself to, now they know who you are, or at least your fake account. Because you can try and dox me dude, try and figure out who I am. You’re gonna have a hard time.”
Channel X did a video about a published report someone else had written on journalism and the internet. He offered his commentary and judgments without apparently even reading the report. With respect to the real name of the author of this copyrighted material, the cowardly X comments, saying, “this is by either —- or his brother, it doesn’t matter which one.”
It does not matter who wrote it??? The legal owner of the book is identified, and X has no right, without proof, to state otherwise. X continues in his nonsensical manner, “This person is saying the journalists’ enemies, so in order for you to be a journalist, right, you have to take some classes or something, you have to get a degree or something in journalism. It’s a club like the Freemasons, it’s just another club, right? And they don’t want us in their club, they don’t want us in their 1% club, you know what I mean? So for, for people on YouTube, we’re supposed to fall, you know, we need degrees in journalism before we can report on anything. That is total horseshit man, there’s plenty of people putting out good information on the internet, OK? So what does it take to get a journalist, journalism degree, I mean, what do what, what do you need exactly? What are people not- you know what I mean?”
“Because you don’t like what’s being reported because you want to keep the gatekeeping going? You know what I mean? Um, it’s bullshit man because when it comes down to it, you’re trying to control social media. That’s what this is, a set-up for future living, you know, laws, future uh regulations on free speech that’s basically what it is so you’re posing as people for free speech, but you’re really um trying to set up some regulations um, I just can’t believe people are falling for this guy, for —, for —, all these characters. I cannot believe people are falling for this shit. It’s right in your face what’s going on here….”.
Sorry Channel X, I don’t know what you mean, except that you seem to be unaware that the United States already has time tested Constitutional laws against your abuse of free speech. And what right does anyone have to alter the factual, personal history of other people?
Example Three: He Is A Merchant
Previously on August 20, 2018, I had discussed an April 21st interview by Jason Goodman of Crowdsource The Truth called Pete Santilli-FBI Informant or Framed by Hackers? In that interview Santilli commented on the use of online anonymous identities for covert operations. At the 35.32 mark, he remarked, “…it was overwhelming to me that they, that they admitted this in open court. The FBI during the Bundy Ranch quote-unquote investigation said that they had, they had over a thousand trolls in the threads, a thousand…” [Jason Goodman: “The FBI had trolls.”]..”the FBI and this is documented, the FBI had 1,000-over a thousand trolls- in the threads on anonymous accounts and they call themselves online covert investigators…” .
Merchandising of Americana patriotism
The astonishment expressed by Pete Santilli, regarding the use of anonymous identities by the FBI, needs to be viewed against the backdrop of his own use of false accounts to serve his personal commercial interests.
For in an audio dated November 8, 2013 which can be found at Vinnie Eastwood’s Face Book page Pete Santilli Exposed, we hear Santilli saying, “This, this list of Twitter accounts has just been stewing, okay, because I used to have at one point of time, I had like 600 Twitter accounts being manufactured and in the rotation and we had automated messaging and basically having them set up so that they didn’t look like fake accounts because they had messages going out and links and so on and so on. So that when somebody lands on it, they see that it doesn’t have like one follower and two messages. That’s a boring person, so I set up these dormant accounts and I made it look like they’re active now.”
Is there an ethical difference between setting up fake identities to covertly troll others versus using such accounts to trick persons into being directed to a profit motivated online broadcast? Anonymous identities which have the purpose of causing the disruption of the normal flow of conversation, fraud, harassment, commercial trickery, altering history and the time honored interpretation of laws are undermining the stability of our society.
At nytimes.com a January 27, 2018 article, The Follower Factory written by Nicholas Confessore, Gabriel J. X. Dance, Richard Harris and Mark Hanson, addressed the use of social media bots, by highlighting an “American company named Devumi that has collected millions of dollars in a shadowy global marketplace for social media fraud.” The authors claim, “Devumi sells Twitter followers and retreets to celebrities, businesses and anyone who wants to appear more popular or exert influence online. Drawing on an estimated stock of at least 3.5 million automated accounts, each sold many times over, the company has provided customers with more than 200 million Twitter followers, a New York Times investigation found.”
The most shocking statement in this article is that “the accounts that most resemble real people…reveal a kind of large-scale social identity theft. At least 55,000 of the accounts use the names, profile pictures, hometowns and other personal details of real Twitter users, including minors, according to a Times data analysis.” Additionally, it was asserted that “these accounts are counterfeit coins in the booming economy of online influence, reaching into virtually any industry where a mass audience- or the illusion of it-can be monetized. Fake accounts, deployed by governments, criminals and entrepreneurs, now infest social media networks.”
It would appear that in this day and age, a vast number of so called internet journalist reporters readily alter material facts, resulting in the falsification of this generation’s documentation of its national and personal histories. Years from now, this information cannot be utilized for legal or historical purposes, other than to document how modern day liars undermined American values for malicious and selfish purposes.