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April 04, 2007

Wonkette Taken In By Yet Another Photoshop


Remember that rather obvious photoshop? Not only did Wonkette run it, claiming it to be real, but even after it was proven it wasn't Michelle Malkin at all -- the girl whose flickr account it was taken from identified herself -- but then childishly simply refused to admit they had erred.

Here's what the, um, guys at Wonkette wrote when they first ran the pic:

And yet … there appears to be a picture of Malkin doing the “Girls Gone Wild” semi-boob flash, while cavorting about in a string bikini like a common hussy, from 1992!

A Wonkette tipster sent this possibly legitimate snapshot as proof that Malkin’s the last gal who should care about asking “Where have all the good girls gone?”

After they were embarrassed by their error, they did not have the decency to issue an apology to Malkin, and certainly not a confession of error. Instead, they hissed:

Michelle, You Ignorant Slut ...

[11/06/2006 UPDATE: Six weeks after we posted this hilarity about the world’s smartest political columnist ever, she still doesn’t comprehend that a) we did not “forge” or “Photoshop” the image posted below (it was found on a Flickr gallery by a Wonkette reader and then e-mailed to us on the Internets) and b) we made no claims as to its authenticity — in fact, we comically over-qualified every reference to said image so it would be extra obvious. But now, at the behest of an alleged lawyer, we will bold all the relevant original wording that makes it abundantly clear to those familiar with the English language that we neither created nor vouched for said comical image. Malkin and her lawyer say the image is “forged,” and we have no proof to the contrary, as we made abundantly clear in this original post, which now features helpful bold type but is otherwise unchanged beyond this update. God bless America.]

See the bolds up in what I quoted above? Those bolds were added upon advice of their lawyer; the bolds did not appear in the original post. Also note the scare quotes around "forged" -- see, they doubt it's actually forged (or, um, "forged"), despite the actual girl who took the photo coming forward, but they had far fewer doubts this was actually Malkin when they ran it.

Basically Wonkette's claim was that "We didn't say with 100% certainty it was real, we just proceeded as if it was and mocked Malkin based upon this assumption, because we're really too busy being all hip and gay to check whether ridiculously bad photoshops are real. But, as you can see from our now bolded up edit, we never were completely sure, ergo, we did not make any errors at all."

Ah. I see. Run any stupid bullshit that comes your way, and then when called on, just say you're far too fabulous to bother confirming stuff and therefore owe no apologies or retractions for your mistakes.

And then they begin running their own photoshops, only slightly more absurd than the ones they were taken in by, to prove they were really in on the joke on the whole time. (In which case, they're actually guilty of malice and therefore of libel, but they ain't too sharp over there.)

Okay, so that's Wonkette's practice. This, by the way, is "Wonkette," or at least one of the various boychiks pretending to be 15 year old high school girls:


Should this creature of indeterminate gender identity really be tossing off cracks about Malkin's secret life as a "white man," and suggesting Ann Coulter "loves young boys" or about Coulter really being a transexual? Or constantly running that shot of Giuliani in drag, with subtle gay allusions like this?

Newsweek’s latest poll shows the thrice-married opera-loving cross-dressing gay-roommate-having Manhattan dandy at the top with a whopping 59% of support from registered Republicans.

I dunno. For a guy who's had more cock in and out of him than a Purdue regional distribution center, you'd think he could manage to lay off the constant gay/transexual "jokes" for five minutes.

Okay, back to my point, and I do have one.

So, Wonkette's habit is to do very little checking at all, run highly dubious photos, make all sorts of political claims based on obvious shams, and then, after being caught out, claim neener-neener, it doesn't really count because they never really believed it in the first place.

Here we go again.


There you can see Karl Rove holding a folder marked "Coptix," which figures, somehow, in the scandal of the day on the unhinged left, something about some private company scrubbing White House emails of criminal correspondence. Or something. Who knows. Doesn't matter. Just accept the fact that "Coptix" is the current Big Corporate Malefactor of the week, and this picture proves Rove is in cahoots with them.

Thus Wonkette's title -- This photo is a CRIME SCENE! -- and prompts him to write:


The folder is from an Internet hosting company called Coptix. This proves without doubt that Karl Rove is illegally running all the White House e-mail through a private company instead of the White House government servers which belong to the American People. Anyway, everybody knew all that weeks or months ago, but now there’s a picture of Karl Rove holding a folder.

I swear to God, there'd be so much less homophobia if gay dudes just learned to write like adults and lay off the CAPITALS and EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! to show how SCREAMINGLY FUNNY AND ARCH they are.

You want dudes to shank you up your manpooters, fine. But you don't have to be a 12 year old girl about it, do you? Quite frankly, I'd imagine that frequently getting dorked up the drop-pipe would, due to the pain and general unpleasantness of the experience, tend to instill one with a certain amount of quiet, manfully steely resolve, like a toughened soldier waving off anaesthesia even though he's got a bit chunk of shrapnel in his gut, only it's even worse than that, because it turns out that shrapnel is really a great big cock shredding his duodenum with the quavering manic intensity of a palsied ConEd worker with a tricked-out V8 jackhammer and and an ancestral vow of vengeance against ashphalt.

But for the Wonkette boys, it seems to have had quite the opposite effect.

Anyway. I do have a point. Let's get to it.

The executive vice president of Coptix says the CRIME SCENE! photograph was a fake, a photoshop. Some kind of viral marketing gimmick.

Despite these credentials, both sites [Daily Kos posted about it too] somehow missed a very important fact -- one that every journalism student learns early. This tidbit is taught not in any journalism syllabus, but in the hack newspapers that appear on college and grad school campuses during the first week of April. Somehow, nobody noticed that the story happened to break on the weekend of April Fool's Day.

Yes, it's true: it's not true. We used Photoshop to superimpose the name of our company and a folder under Rove's arm, and asked a local "right winger" to plant it on his blog.


[W]e decided to run an experiment. As a Web development and marketing company, we believe that the Internet is fertile ground for those who know how to use it. Because, at the end of the day, the Internet is simply a tool... as predictable (and unpredictable) as the people who make up its network.

Since it was April Fool's weekend, in the tradition of George Plimpton and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), we decided to have some fun. We asked one of our Web designers, Ron Ott, to put our name on a photograph that had originally been posted on a local blogger's diary (with his permission, of course). Thank you Adobe, 15 minutes later Coptix's name was emblazoned on a folder. To paraphrase B.B. King & U2: "When Rove comes to town, gotta jump that train."

...Note that we even put in a giveaway that the photo was a fake. The television in the top right corner is showing fantastical creatures from the 1974 television series "Land of the Lost."

Yup, it's true. Look closely at the TV screen. It shows this image from Land of the Lost, apparently one easily findable floating around on the Internet:


Wonkette even noticed that before the prank was revealed, and, while it was cause for suspicion, still didn't think it was necessary to announce the picture was almost certainly a hoax, top to bottom, and hence the previous breathless CRIME SCENE! post needed to be retracted.

Coptix continues explaining the prank:

Then we left comments on various blogs and social networking sites linking back to the original post. Bloggers immediately picked up the images, and we watched the misinformation filter upward and outward. We also modified our personal and professional blog posts to show pleasure at the photograph, so any unscrupulous researcher could jump to conclusions.

This has driven tens of thousands of visitors to our Web site. From all indications the story has not reached its peak (Wonkette even made the doctored photo into an advertisement for their site), but we consider our web marketing experiment a success. Viral marketing and social networking are modern communication tools that can be leveraged to drive exposure to a particular brand. Which, in this case, was us.

Now, the thing is, this was a decent prank, and I, personally, wouldn't be terribly embarrassed about being taken in by it. I'm notoriously slapdash in my own, um, "reporting," so this sort of thing would probably get by me. And I would be embarrassed about it, a bit, but I'd fess up and say "I was punk'd, they got me. Sorry."

The shrieking ninnies at Wonkette can't do that, though. They can never simply admit they made an error. And thus -- similar to in the case of the Malkin photoshop -- they now appear to claim they never really believed any of it and and they kinda knew it was all a lark the whole time!

Gee, for guys who are claiming to have been in on the joke from the get-go, they sure do seem awfully angry at the people who nicely included them in the joke, don't they?

GOP Stooges Now Claim Sleestak-Rove-Coptix Picture Is Fake

What is true: The White House illegally routes the administration’s criminal e-mail through a private Internet web server in a clumsy yet still illegal attempt to keep the Crime Organization’s communications out of the public eye.

What is even more true: Some people in Chattanooga inserted a picture of Sleestaks into an image of Karl Rove holding a folder that proved he did 9/11.

What is stupid: The people who did the Photoshop job claim to have pulled some elaborate media hoax, based on Wonkette mocking the photo in stereotypical hippie protester lingo: THE WHITE HOUSE IS A CRIME SCENE.

What is sad: In 10 years, these guys will still be high-fiving each other because we called them idiots obsessed with Sleestaks.

No, What is really sad is that you pander to your exclusively left-wing, largely gay, certifiably lunatic audience by passing off shoddy photoshops you know, or should know, are fake, but you really don't care, because your idiot readers dig them, fake or not, and you can always couch libel and simple lies in "funny" capital letters and exclamation points so you can later claim you didn't intend to pass it on as accurate, when in fact that's precisely what you intended all along.

I really can't get over the idea Wonkette was "mocking" the photo. Really?

So, you scary-smart hipsters are just incapable of foolin', huh? You were in on it the whole time?

Then why are you calling the guys who aided you in the prank you were always in on "idiots" and "stooges" and losers?

Seems to me you got punk'd again, but are simply too dishonest and childish to admit the obvious. No, it's always this "we were just kidding, everything we say is a joke, didn't you notice the exclamation points? See, exclamation points are like having your fingers crossed and stuff!" sort of third-grade twaddle.

The coverup is worse than the crime. It's no sin to make a mistake. It is a sin to be so taken with oneself as to be incapable of ever confessing even a trivial error.

Grow up and man up, "boys." This too-gay-even-for-Showtime act is growing thin.

My Own Confession: Arthur's run a Google search and he can't find any references for that Belgium-taxes-BBQ article, except for the dubious Russian source I cited. Based on that, he suspects some sort of local-paper April Fools Day prank that wound up getting picked up for the news-of-the-wierd section of the Russian paper, and that it's not true.

I'm not sure of that yet, but it does seem somewhat likely. Until someone reputable reports that Belgium is now using helicopters to monitor the LETHAL levels of CO2 produced by a barbeque pit, I'm going to assume, provisionally, I was punk'd.

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posted by Ace at 04:14 AM

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