The Curious Case Of The T.V. Attorney And Twitter

I'll confess that I don't watch much television news, but I have run across Greta Van Susteren through the years, principally when she served as an analyst during the O.J. Simpson trial. Since then, it would appear Ms. Van Susteren has parlayed her expertise into a nightly primetime show on the Fox News Channel.

Where she pontificates on matters outside her expertise.

For instance, Ms. Van Susteren, who may be highly qualified to discuss the criminal law, also feels qualified to discuss computer surveillance, security, and international intelligence. But on these matters she has no more business giving opinions than do I. Less, in fact. I know this, because I am one of her sources of news.

Screenshots follow, to punish the guilty.

Greta

Greta2

Now, it may well be that Ms. Van Susteren has been to North Korea three times, and she may well read a bit about the country, but if she is obtaining her news from "the North Korea state-owned news twitter feed," she is obtaining it from a dubious source indeed. The feed's actual author, me1, has never been to the Korean peninsula at all, and cannot read a word of the language. "The North Korean state run media" is a parody, derived in tone more from Soviet Russian newspapers (which I could read) than from Korean propaganda.

How could this have happened? Probably confirmation bias: the Tweet was too good to check. If Ms. Van Susteren had scrolled further down the feed, she'd have found such gems of news as:

or the latest celebrity gossip from Pyongyang:

We're told, by the media, that we should trust their authority, that they have "layers of editors and fact-checkers" at their service. But sometimes they're no better than bloggers, particularly when they venture outside their areas of expertise, or they fail to consult actual experts.

This is not a slam against Ms. Van Susteren or Fox News in particular. The "North Korea state-owned news twitter feed" has taken in many journalists through the years, at publications and websites more and less prestigious, on the right and left sides of the ideological center. It is to say, rather, that we as consumers of what the news media purvey, should be careful about what we're buying.

Trust but verify. Caveat emptor.

UPDATE:

Despite multiple comments at her own site warning Ms. Van Susteren, THIS IS A PARODY, meaning, "Go back and look," Ms. Van Susteren (who has updated her post) merely concedes that "some say" the "North Korea state-owned news twitter feed" is a parody. I myself, and others, have tweeted her multiple times to tell her: "Yes it is."

Greta3

 

It's disappointing that, rather than conceding the obvious, Ms. Van Susteren went with the "some say" dodge. I've fallen victim to benevolent pranks and hoaxes myself: the best course is to offer congratulations: "You got me," laugh, and admit it. So I've offered Ms. Van Susteren time-stamped proof:

I'm sure Ms. Van Susteren gets many replies on Twitter, so perhaps she hasn't read of this. But she has been active on the service, since the world learned the truth about Joe Biden.

It is a sweet puppy. Again, this isn't ideological criticism of Ms. Van Susteren, or of Fox, but an example of confirmation bias. When I want to get ideological, I do it with Juche. SECOND UPDATE: drudge-siren Greta4   If Ms. Van Susteren replies or addresses this, we will update.

THIRD UPDATE:

drudge-siren

Remember when I said this gentle bit of media criticism was non-ideological?

Slate, hardly a bastion of right-wing thought, has just fallen for the same bait (here's a cache). According to Slate, North Korea is enjoying a massive breakthrough in internet technology.

Again, a screenshot to punish the guilty:

Slate3To its credit, Slate has left the story (mostly) intact, and published a correction. A most grudging correction, which hardly acknowledges that author Lily Hay Newman was hacked by … her own gullibility, and again, confirmation bias.

Slate

It isn't a "misstatement," Ms. Newman. It's a failure to read. Again, if you'd only scrolled down the feed a bit, you'd have discovered this recap of the 2014 World Cup:

Or this important news about Ebola in the United States:

Caveat lector.

FOURTH UPDATE: MUST CREDIT POPEHAT AND DPRK_NEWS!

drudge-siren

drudge-siren

Sweet Jesus! The Washington Post!

WAPO1

 

WAPO

 

Layers of editors and fact-checkers.

FIFTH UPDATE!

Newsweek, which isn't saying much, these days, but I'll take it.

Newsweek1

 

SIXTH UPDATE:

Another hour, another scalp claimed from people who should know better.

And finally… Welcome Instapundit readers! Many thanks to Professor Reynolds for the link to this post, which as acknowledged above, demonstrates something he's been saying about news consumption for years: Caveat emptor. SEVENTH UPDATE, AND AN EIGHTH THERE SHALL NOT BE! drudge-siren Newsweek can take a joke. They asked for an interview, and we gave it. And: Mediaite, a site devoted to analysis of the U.S. running dog lackey media, also asked for comment. We complied. EIGHTH UPDATE, FIFTEEN DAYS LATER. The most trusted name in news. "Braggartly." CNN8 CNN has memory-holed that part of the story, but we keep screenshots. Archive here. 

NINTH UPDATE: BRITISH TABLOID EDITION, EIGHTEEN DAYS LATER

The spit-licking hyenas of Britain's Daily Mail may embrace the DPRK, but that will not save them.

DailyMail1

DailyMail2

DailyMail

  1. My co-blogger Derrick also participates in the prank.  

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White

Comments

  1. Jeremy says

    Thanks for the screenshot, she's updated it. She does at least make mention that it could be a hoax, but that with north korea, anything is possible.

  2. That Anonymous Coward says

    What I found much more terrifying was the comments on her spin on this "story".
    So many people jumping on the OMG I thought this too bandwagon, and one lone person pointing out its a freaking parody account being shouted down by someone who trusts a talking head who clearly has a loose grip on journalistic integrity more than someone pointing out the emperor is naked.
    And just because the 'net is that sort of place, when the man who allegedly "decorates" floors is the voice of reason on this, the shark… it has been jumped.

  3. Greta Van Theta says

    Congratulations. You have successfully trolled a celebrity Scientologist. Proof that you are indeed minions of the Evil Psych Drug Lordz.

  4. Jim Tyre says

    We're told, by the media, that we should trust their authority, that they have "layers of editors and fact-checkers" at their service. But sometimes they're no better than bloggers

    Why must you insult bloggers?

  5. En Passant says

    The "North Korea state-owned news twitter feed" has taken in many journalists through the years, at publications and websites more and less prestigious, on the right and left sides of the ideological center.

    Thus proving just how brilliant Dear Fearless Wise Leader Kim Jong-Un really is. By doing nothing at all, simply by not disavowing the fake Twitter feed, He has sown confusion and fear in the Lying Imperialist Running Dog Lackey Propaganda Machine(tm).

  6. wanfuforever says

    "suspisons" ….arrrrgh, it's like looking at a huge pimple in the middle of someone's forehead.

  7. Fasolt says

    Suspisons? I thought those were a kind of quantum particle or something like that. But seriously, if she is going to go with the phonetic spelling, she should have spelled it suspishons. Perhaps her ego is getting the best of her and she thinks her spelling is better. I'm sure her version will pop up in the OED in the next edition.

  8. J.R. says

    To be fair, 90%+ of the "talking heads" on the tube, regardless of network or political orientation are pretentious buffoons. Same goes for most "guest experts."

    That said, to quote Bugs Bunny, "What a moroon." ROFL….

  9. Fasolt says

    Adding on to J.R.'s post, and with apologies to Via Angus, more from Bugs:

    What a gulli-bull. What a nin-cow-poop. What an im-bull-cile.

  10. Udarnik says

    Ms. Van Theta is correct, Ms. Van Susteren is indeed a public Scientologist, although not an extremely high profile one. On top of that she works for Fox. Thus she is double-primed to swallow large loads of BS without examining beforehand what, exactly, she is consuming.

  11. Nick Bryson says

    The obvious thing to do – a series along the lines of

    "US media including Greta Van Susteren admit corruption of West, and supremacy of Juche."
    "US media figure Greta Van Susteren asks for refuge in DPRK in order to reveal truth about imperialists."

  12. rmd says

    Showing my ignorance here, but exactly how does one swoggle a horn? Or maybe it's woggle horns, I'm unclear on that too.

  13. amber says

    For authentic North Korean Propaganda, literally translate Russian propaganda from 1920 to 1950, substituting the appropriate North Korean personality, or place-name.

  14. barry says

    there are regional flavor differences.

    Does NPRK have the same defense as NSA, that SONY had no reasonable expectation of privacy?
    And does "we don't hack our own citizens" mitigate?

  15. says

    I look forward to the first spontaneous mass demonstration of ideologically correct exercises in support of whatever Kim-Jong is currently waddling pointing unsmilingly at things.

  16. ULTRAGOTHA says

    Slate, Washington Post, Fox, Newsweek, a Reuters reporter…. Does *anyone* fact check anymore??

  17. Turk says

    With the Washington Post and Newsweek both getting punked today, I suspect you may have a long line of additional updates to come.

    Well played, Patrick, well played.

  18. bobby b says

    Am I reading this correctly?

    Did you put out those fairly specific, quite detailed, frankly believable made-up posts of falsehoods all over so that you could see who you could fool?

    Or am I missing something?

    If you did, you're a putz.

    If not, I apologize. But I did do some quick googles and got confirmation of nothing, in my weak defense.

  19. grouch says

    Meanwhile, back at the lair of the pointy hat, Patrick Non-White confesses to secretly watching Faux News.

    Will his brain be consumed and composted by his heretofore unexposed depraved addiction? Why does he not deny that he raped and murdered Kim Jong-Un's predecessor? Can it be that he fears being sentenced to host a nightly debate show on Faux News?

    Tune in to Nightly Twits & Tits for the exciting answers, a week from some Tuesday (if Time ever figures out how to datestamp a story). [Not responsible if you become comatose while waiting for the 3 second news report hidden amongst 15 minutes of 30 second E.D. and miracle drug advertisements. Consult your doctor for nosebleeds lasting more than 4 hours. Do not take Faux News, Washington Compost, Advertisement Barrage Central News, No Bloody Clue News or Complete Bull Shit News if you have symptoms of independent thought or surviving brain cells. Women who are pregnant or could become pregnant should be running away — will no one think of the children?].

  20. Rob says

    This whole episode is a great illustration of how the flood of information/disinformation made possible by the Internet, the pressure for journalists to be the first to break a story, and lack of expertise (regarding the Sony hack) have all combined to humorous effect.
    Nice trolling—although some part of me wishes they hadn't been alerted to the error, so as to make it last longer.

  21. says

    I don't see how your "parody" is much different from being a common troll. North Korea parodies itself so successfully that your attempts are actually merely weak shadows of actuality. That's why it is easy to take your comments as fact.

  22. says

    The account's pretty much served its purpose at this point, Rob, but it will take in others if Derrick and I choose to continue it. We may go underneath the waves for a while.

  23. mikee says

    I, for one, want very much to be banned from /r/Pyongyang!

    May Juche lead to the fall of the North Korean kleptocracy and may Kim Jong Un find holes in his stinky socks every morning forever!

  24. Char says

    As one of an ancient and dying breed – a newspaper editor – I am both horrified and unsurprised. We have been instructed in no uncertain terms not to communicate with reporters for our website, as they will "self-edit." Being correct is not important, being first is.

  25. grouch says

    Meanwhile, back at the lair of the pointy hat, Patrick Non-White confesses to secretly watching Faux News.

    Will his brain be consumed and composted by his heretofore unexposed depraved addiction? Why does he not deny that he raped and murdered Kim Jong-Un's predecessor? Can it be that he fears being sentenced to host a nightly debate show on Faux News?

    Tune in to Nightly Twits & Tits for the exciting answers, a week from some Tuesday (if Time ever figures out how to datestamp a story).
    [Not responsible if you become comatose while waiting for the 3 second news report hidden amongst 15 minutes of 30 second E.D. and miracle drug advertisements. Consult your doctor for nosebleeds lasting more than 4 hours. Do not take Faux News, Washington Compost, Advertisement Barrage Central News, No Bloody Clue News or Complete Bull Shit News if you have symptoms of independent thought or surviving brain cells. Women who are pregnant or could become pregnant should be running away. Will no one think of the children?].

    Patrick Non-White has made of himself a target. People can skip the commercials and come straight to the source of broadcast/cable news, now. Snowden didn't reveal secrets nearly that valuable and look what happened to him.

  26. En Passant says

    ULTRAGOTHA December 22, 2014 at 8:43 pm:

    Does *anyone* fact check anymore??

    In elite capitalist stooge press, one horn swoggles the other.

  27. albert says

    @Patrick Non-White

    Thanks for the laff!
    My suspisons were aroused imedeitly, when I saw the screenshot. Again someone proves the dictum: Americans _just don't get_ satire and parody, can't spell. and the MSM are US Corporate/Government tools (in both senses of the word). IIRC, the FBI is responsible for bringing NK into this. Anyone with two or more brain cells connected together can see that FOX"news" is going take the bait, and the others will as well. The whole Sony thing is laughable, the MSM is a joke, and what would we do without teapot tempests to occupy our time?
    .
    There are some serious discussions on the Sony "hack"; see http://www.Schneier.com, for example.
    .
    I gotta go…

  28. Scaryduck says

    I actually work as a North Korea analyst and your account is *pretty much* like the real thing would look. You need more "human scum" when you refer to the US, though. That's 'Human scum'

  29. Donna Lands says

    Basically you decided to insult someone's intelligence and set them up. Wow! What a guy! Sounds typical of a Liberal Jerk to me. Then you have your jerk comrades cheering your immature behavior. Grow up Popehat!!!!! 🚼

  30. AlphaCentauri says

    Having totally owned this form of parody, I'd like to see if you can create a twitter feed for a completely non-existent but plausible-sounding country and get a news agency to pick up your tweets.

  31. says

    The account's notifications feed is just swamped with a lot of references to the recent "outing", but there are still a few people who think it's real.

    I went through the entire feed from January and there was just so many moments where I was going, "I can't believe that didn't give it away".

  32. Czernobog says

    "They seem harmless enough but these days who knows."

    Oh god, I'm going to be chuckling over this comment for next three weeks at the most inopportune times.

  33. Fasolt says

    @Donna Lands:

    Basically you decided to insult someone's intelligence and set them up. Wow! What a guy! Sounds typical of a Liberal Jerk to me. Then you have your jerk comrades cheering your immature behavior. Grow up Popehat!!!!! 🚼

    Are you familiar with the concept of parody? I wasn't aware that the act of parody insults people's intelligence. I also wasn't aware that parody is automatically immature behavior. If a person or news organization can't be bothered to do source verification or do even a smidgen of research to validate their stories, you can't blame Patrick for that.

    Are you saying that Liberals typically insult people's intelligence? That kind of behavior certainly isn't limited to any one political party. I'd wander around the Popehat site a bit before you launch into ad hominem attacks. I don't think Popehat is quite the bastion of "Liberal Jerks" you make it out to be.

  34. Matt says

    @patrick why are people so liberal with their comments? That darn speech thing, which people use, how dare they! Obviously.

    This was an awesome read, and kudos to all of you for making me wonder how specific individuals manage to be gainfully employed once confirmation bias becomes so excessive (such as Greta).

  35. Manatee says

    "[person] has parlayed her expertise into a nightly primetime show on the Fox News Channel.

    Where she pontificates on matters outside her expertise."

    Insert just about any name in there and this statement remains true. Ditto if you swap Fox News for MSNBC.

  36. Derailleur says

    @Donna, it's definitely not "insult[ing] someone's intelligence and set[ting] them up." The entire point is that the media isn't just supposed to parrot what some random idiot says. They media tries to sell their wares on the lie that they are doing the ground work to ensure they are giving an accurate representation of events. By taking the DPKR News Service tweets (TWEETS for the love of coffee! How far as a society have we sank when frikking Twitter is some sort of official news source?) as genuine and then piling on by adding "which often disseminates the regimes official propaganda" in an effort to further convince readers that this is an official DPKR twitter account, they've proven they're nothing more than common gossips, adding flavor to the lie as they spread it.

    No, this isn't trying to insult someone. This is pointing out that the emperor has no clothes.

  37. Fasolt says

    They seem harmless enough but these days who knows.

    Harmless? I don't think so. Observe the DPRK Army's preparation for the upcoming U.S. military attack using bricks and roof tiles. Who leaked that? That could jeopardize the whole operation. We might have to switch to boards or drywall sheets.

  38. Levi says

    Damn, I spent hours using a rock to hack out a stick and beat some metal scraps into a pick-axe Rust-style to use in my part of the assault, but at 2:14 it looks like they have already trained to specifically defeat my tactics.

  39. says

    The real bottom line is that, despite FBI bleatings and blatherings, there's little evidence that North Korea was behind the Sony hack, while there's continuing and growing evidence that it was actually an inside job.

    Assuming this is the case, and assuming that Dear Leader (my name for Obama, crafted independently of seeing Team America) is behind North Korea's lack of Internet, then isn't Dear Leader a cyberwarmonger? I say yes:

    http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2014/12/obama-cyberwarmonger-against-north-korea.html

  40. Paul says

    I know I'm 12 days late, but just checking in to point out that the only thing things that are inaccurate about the North Korean socialist Godzilla movie are the year and the instigator

    It actually happened in 1985. Kim Jong Il was responsible.

    He had a South Korean director and actress kidnapped to make it for him. It was called "Pulgasari"

  41. Fasolt says

    I checked out that movie on IMDB. Here's the summary:

    In feudal Korea, the evil King becomes aware that there is a peasant rebellion being planned in the country. He steals all the iron farming tools and cooking pots from the people so that he may make weapons to fend off the peasant army. After he returns the property to the people, an old blacksmith is imprisoned and starved to death. His last creation is a tiny figurine of a monster- Pulgasari, a Godzilla-like creature that eats iron. The blood of his daughter brings the creature to life, and fights with the poor, starving peasants to overthrow the corrupt monarchy.

    At first I thought it was a documentary, but was disappointed to read it wasn't.

  42. AlphaCentauri says

    The "North Korea ready to invade USA" is reminiscent of Monty Python's training to resist attacks with fruit, isn't it. I was just waiting for the guy with the M-16 to strafe all the guys grunting and rolling around to shut them up.

    The last part, on the other hand, very much needs to be re-edited to the music of "The Electric Slide," I think.

  43. says

    Any normal, well-adjusted person says "bravo, good sirs" when pranked this hard. It takes a special kind of stupid to double-down on their ignorance like that.

  44. Fasolt says

    CNN owned it in a correction:

    CNN's Tina Burnside contributed to this report. Note: An earlier version of this story included a tweet from what was actually a parody account. CNN regrets the error.

    I marvel that people are still falling for this. Either the staffing turnover at the news organizations is high, so there is no institutional memory of them getting pranked or they all have selective memory loss issues.

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