Below is an an objective analysis which does an exceptional job of exposing the pseudo-intellectual integrity of the mainstream media. This is in relation to a propaganda piece, aimed at discouraging people from investigating the issue further. A link for the original article is below if you would like to read that one first.
I care not if I receive no upvotes for this as I did not write this analysis myself, I merely brought it here and reformatted it so that it may find a permanent place on the blockchain in case the site that it's posted on gets censored like so many others have been.
I wanted to do this because I'm seeing a lot of negativity towards people who are researching pizzagate, and accusations of a lack of objectivity. This will hopefully serve to show that it is the other way around if anything.
Please comment below if you're able to find any more examples of fake news coming from those who are accusing the alternative media of being 'fake news.'
The purpose of this thread is to pick apart the litany of factual errors, mischaracterizations, and fallacies that appeared in Cecilia Kang's article, "Fact Check: This Pizzeria Is Not A Child Trafficking Site" (New York Times, Nov. 21, 2016). Here's a link
The goal here is to build an objective case that the editorial staff of the NY Times is guilty of some of the very same "fake news" tactics it's currently decrying. I'm going to list every factually problematic excerpt I found.
"All of them alleged something that made Mr. Alefantis’s jaw drop: that Comet Ping Pong was the home base of a child abuse ring led by Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief, John D. Podesta."
STRAW-MAN ARGUMENT: Kang claims (no sources sited) that online investigators allege that the child abuse ring is "led by Hillary Clinton and John D. Podesta". I've seen hundreds of threads on reddit and 4/8chan, and I've seen very few people push the argument, that HRC and John Podesta are the "leaders" of anything. The vast majority of speculation so far has asserted that HRC and the Podestas are INVOLVED in a child abuse ring. This may seem like quibbling over semantics but to the normal NYT reader, "led by" is a far more extreme - and unbelievable - allegation than "involved in". Right off the bat, Kang insinuates without any evidence or quotes that the entire open-source investigation sound like a mob of hyperbolic, delusional conspiracy theorists.
"He [Alefantis] found dozens of made-up articles about Mrs. Clinton kidnapping, molesting and trafficking children in the restaurant's back rooms. The articles appeared on Facebook and on websites such as The New Nationalist and The Vigilant Citizen, with one headline blaring: "Pizzagate: How 4Chan Uncovered the sick World of Washington's Occult Elite. None of it was true."
STRAW-MAN: Kang's use of sources in this passage is evasive, and also scrambles the chronology of events in the #Pizzagate scandal. When she mentions "dozens of made-up articles", she provides no specific examples or hyperlinks. Furthermore, she goes on to imply that ALL of these articles specifically identify Hillary Clinton as the individual who is going around personally kidnapping children. Any sane person would doubt such a story - but of course, that's not what the vast aggregate of investigators is claiming at all. Once again, Kang appears to be deliberately exaggerating and over-simplifying the allegations of Pizzagate in order to make its propagators look unserious.
MISLEADING BY OMISSION: Throughout the entire piece, Kang brings up ZERO historical examples of proven underage sex-trafficking rings that served (and were protected by) a network of rich and powerful elites. While neglecting to mention the Franklin Scandal, the Praesidio Scandal, or the Finders is not surprising (all three stories have been largely ignored by the NYT for decades), it is surprising that no mention is made of confirmed pedophile scandals tied to the Catholic Church (Spotlight won Best Picture last year ffs!), BBC host Jimmy Savile, or Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky. There is also no mention of the Hollywood pedophilia ring allegations that have grabbed major headlines in the US over the past several years. By omitting all of these historical events and the completely justifiable public interest they have generated online, Kang provides no context for what motivates Pizzagate investigators beyond paranoia and a deep but vague gullibility to "fake news".
MISLEADING CHRONOLOGY: Kang commits a sleight-of-hand when she reports that Alefantis "looked online to unravel the accusations" right after he and his staff started receiving hate messages. Comet Ping Pong was first stumbled upon in the wee hours of November 4th. Alefantis' instagram and Facebook accounts started getting threatening messages within hours from overzealous idiots on 4chan.
The Vigilant Citizen article that Kang cites was posted on November 15th, ELEVEN DAYS after Alefantis was first "exposed" on 4chan and reddit. Thus, there's no way that Alefantis did a quick google search on November 4th and found the VC article.
If Kang had done a simple google search, she would've seen that on November 6th (within 48 hours of exposure), Washington City Paper published "Alt Right Conspiracy Theorists Obsess Over Comet Ping Pong", featuring interviews with "Pizza Party Ben" and James Alefantis: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/food/blog/20840980/alt-right-conspiracy-theorists-obsess-over-comet-ping-pong
^ Though the tone of this article is skeptical, it at least mentions Jeffrey Epstein, Correct the Record, and the potential use of "pizza" as a codeword for child sex in the Podesta Emails. The NYT article mentions none of these things, and their absence further warps the narrative to make pizzagate investigators look insane.
Her scrambling of the chronology helps morph the narrative so that it reinforces the "Fake News" meme currently being spread by the establishment media. This argument is what's fake. #PizzaGate did not spring out of "fake news", but social media forums.
"Mr. Alefantis’s experience shows it is not just politicians and internet companies that are grappling with the fake news fallout. He, his staff and friends have become a new kind of private citizen bull’s-eye for the purveyors of false articles and their believers. For more than two weeks, they have struggled to deal with the abusive social media comments and to protect photos of their own children, which were used in the false articles as evidence that the pizza restaurant was running a pedophilia ring."
MISCHARACTERIZATION/NO EVIDENCE: James Alefantis has no children. Most of the other Comet employees on instagram who post disturbing content (workinonmahnightcheese, Amanda Kleinman, and others) do not have children either. Furthermore, the evidence from instagram was not initially obtained or spread via "false news articles" but posted directly on 4/8chan and Reddit forums by a variety of anonymous users. It's interesting that Kang doesn't provide a links or screenshot of the many sexually suggestive and/or ultraviolent instagram pictures that were found on the accounts of Alefantis and his employees. I can fully understand not linking to any of the pictures featuring children (legal/ethical issues galore), but what about the other disturbing photos that feature overtly bizarre sexual/violent content? Did Kang not see the child coffin, the stacks of Euros and date rape drugs, the #killroom? Once again, the NYT Reader is expected to simply take Kang's word for it, and is given no opportunity to examine any of the "evidence" for themselves.
"The eatery, which seats 120, is a mash-up of red and white checkered tablecloths and modernist murals and paintings from friends of Mr. Alefantis."
MISCHARACTERIZATION BY OMISSION: Kang gives no description of what those "modernist" murals and paintings are. Most NYT readers have no objection to modernist murals - who would? But if she did describe them, she would have to acknowledge that one of the murals features happy, loving adults cradling severed heads. Further research verified that the painter of the mural has multiple works featuring people cradling severed heads: source:
But to Kang, the adjective "modernist" suffices. This is deliberately misleading. Nobody is saying that these paintings "prove" anything, but why go out of your way to describe them as benign and "modernist"?
"Days before the election, users on the online message board 4chan noticed that one of Mr. Podesta's emails contained communications with Mr. Alefantis discussing a fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton. The 4Chan users immediately speculated about the links between Comet Ping Pong and the Democratic Party. Some posited the restaurant was part of a larger Democratic child trafficking ring, which was a theory long held by some conservative blogs."
OVERSIMPLIFICATION, NO SOURCES CITED: 4chan was the first to discover weird references to "pizza" in Podesta's emails. That led to someone suggesting that "pizza" was a codeword for either child porn or children. However, that was preceded by a reddit post that was retweeted by Wikileaks about Hillary Clinton's connection to Laura Silsby, an American woman arrested for attempted child trafficking in Haiti. (Haiti is mentioned zero times in this article, despite it being one of the strongest leads to come out of #PizzaGate.)
Keep in mind (because Kang doesn't) that all this was also happening against the backdrop of the #SpiritCooking revelations, as well as several CIA-linked public figures (Steve Pieczenik, Erik Prince) telling alternative rightwing media outlets (Breitbart, Infowars) that the evidence found on Anthony Weiner's computer related, in part, to child trafficking networks and horrible sex crimes against children. It's unclear if these are the news sites Kang is referring to when she constantly mentions "Fake News", but the fact that she never clarifies the matter is problematic.
Whether one believes these sources or not, several shadowy insiders were publicly leaking (supposedly accurate) intel about Clinton ties to human trafficking that just so happened to line up with 4chan and Reddit stumbling upon "Spirit Cooking" and "Pizza" in the Wikileaks emails. (Come to think of it, there's not one mention of "Spirit Cooking" in this entire piece, even though it was another one of the catalyzing incidents that led directly to Pizzagate - #SpiritCooking even trended on Twitter in the final week of the election.)
"Glen Caplin, a former campaign official for Mrs. Clinton, did not comment directly about Comet Ping Pong but said, “WikiLeaks has spawned several conspiracy theories that have been independently debunked.” Mr. Podesta did not respond to requests for comment."
NO EVIDENCE/APPEAL TO AUTHORITY: Kang doesn't elaborate on Caplin's vague claim that "several conspiracy theories" from Wikileaks have been "independently debunked". No evidence is provided, and no follow-up questions are asked, but for the record, no one has successfully challenged the authenticity of the emails that Wikileaks has released thus far. Once again, the reader is simply expected to take a Clinton campaign spokesperson at their (brief, evasive) word.
"Most troubling for Mr. Alefantis and staff has been the use of children’s images, pilfered from the restaurant’s social media pages and the personal accounts of friends who had “liked” Comet Ping Pong online. Those photos have been used across dozens of websites. Parents, who declined to talk publicly for fear of retribution, have hired lawyers to get the photos removed."
MISLEADING LANGUAGE: Kang makes it sound like pizzagaters took pictures of children off of Comet Pizza's official pages, and off random people who merely "liked" official Comet Ping Pong posts. This is false. The vast majority of the disturbing images were "pilfered" from James Alefantis's personal, public Instagram account. The others were from several accounts of his employees and associates, all of whom do not have children of their own. The "Parents, who declined to talk publicly for fear of retribution..." don't bother to give even an anonymous quote. Who are they? Surprisingly, nobody has figured it out. I recall at least 5 different infants and children on James' instagram alone. None of the supposed "parents" of the pictured children have - as of now, Nov. 22 - been identified via social media research.
Kang is correct that 4chan users searched through the accounts of everyone who "liked" those creepy baby photographs - but they didn't find a single parent. Instead, they found Assistant US Attorney Arun G. Rao, whose jurisdiction in southern Maryland covers child pornography and racketeering cases. Funny how that didn't make it in.