0025 - Misinformation Sources

So many sources out there are spewing bullshit. Most of us can tell fact from fiction, but convincing Dysevidentia sufferers that their favorite source is supplying non-sense is hard. Just having a good vocabulary to discuss this can help, Mako and Sqeaky have a conversation and share some of the ways they think about kinds of sources and provide a simple list of things to check that many should have but might not have thought about it specifically.

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: Warning. This show contains adult themes and language including lies, damn lies, and Breitbart.

MAKO: Dysevidentia is an inability to reliably process evidence and this is a podcast all about it.

SQEAKY: This episode was released on January 17th, 2022, and we are discussing dysevidentia because it is clear millions of Sean Hannity fans are suffering from it.

MAKO: I am Mako.

SQEAKY: And I am Sqeaky.

MAKO: We discuss logic and evidence because we're cynical like that.

SQEAKY: You can support us by becoming a patron at patreon.com/dysevidentia.

MAKO: If you spent all your money creating a truth-seeking news company you can still like, subscribe, and leave a review to help us out.

SQEAKY: If you have a paper you have written or a small business to plug, let us know.

MAKO: Today we are going to discuss misinformation and how it gets used as a source.

*Guitar riff*

MAKO: Warning. This show contains adult themes and language including lies, damn lies, and statistics.

SQEAKY: Lies, damn lies, and The Gateway Pundit.

MAKO: Including lies, damn lies, and Fox News.

SQEAKY: Including lies, damn lies, and copious background noise that makes it hard to hear.

*Guitar riff*


SQEAKY: So I know we had errors last episode. I edited it and couldn't fix everything.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: But the only time we got any disagreement at all from anyone was someone trying to claim that video games did cause aggression which I guess we didn't even claim but was also kind of refuted by that big meta-study we use.

MAKO: Yeah the subtle difference between aggression and violence. Aggression is uh...

SQEAKY: Nebulous, easy to reach.

MAKO: Yeah, like...

SQEAKY: Like I can be aggressive with some hard eye contact. You can't hear it listeners but we both tried it on each other and it doesn't work, we're too basement-dwellery.

MAKO: Yeah. So like, aggression can come in many forms and it's just- it's a really big umbrella term. Violence is much more specific. It implies bodily harm.

SQEAKY: But even then he made bad points.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: I refuted him and promised I'd read his... his source, and then it turned out his source was the source we used but he just clearly only read the abstract and moved on.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Yeah. So the source eviscerated his standpoint. Just as you add rigor, if you do a longitudinal study, aggression drops away. That's where you follow people over time instead of just y'know, a brief study window that may be a couple of weeks.

MAKO: For clarity, how much time?

SQEAKY: Usually years. The longitudinal study in the thing I think followed them eighteen months and that was enough time for the effect to go away.

MAKO: That seems to be on the lower end of these kinds of studies but...

SQEAKY: Yeah there are longitudinal- There are longitudinal studies that last decades.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: But this is also just video games. The stakes aren't exactly high even from the people claiming the strongest effects. Uh, the flash drive.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: So, that was the only person to reach out to us on social media claiming we got anything wrong. We should probably clarify and add some adjustments to those rules because I don't want to be... I don't want people to like start demanding a trillion flash drives from a million episodes so how about we put a thirty day or two episode limit on this?

MAKO: Yeah. Sounds reasonable to me.

SQEAKY: Hit us up for our last two episodes or thirty days and we'll try to be reasonable about it. And again we've corrected ourselves. Look back at, well, any of our episodes where we insert things and tell you what we did wrong, that's about half of them. And if you do want to reach out there's a bunch of ways you can do that. We have a Patreon, patreon.com/dysevidentia.

SUPPORT US [3:27] Dysevidentia on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/dysevidentia

MAKO: We have our subreddit at r/dysevidentia.

CONTACT [3:30] Dysevidentia on Reddit - https://www.reddit.com/r/Dysevidentia/

SQEAKY: You can tweet at us @dysevidentia.

CONTACT [3:32] Dysevidentia on Twitter - https://twitter.com/dysevidentia

MAKO: We have a Discord server, you can find the URL in the show notes.

CONTACT [3:35] Dysevidentia on Discord - https://discord.gg/EZtcgdsCDA

SQEAKY: We also have a YouTube. We'll put the URL for that in the show notes as well.

CONTACT [3:38] Dysevidentia on YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBbU3rnK52CXUkK0cJ-o29g

MAKO: We have an email, contact@dysevidentia.com.

CONTACT [3:41] Dysevidentia by email - Contact@dysevidentia.com

SQEAKY: And you can get all the links for these at our website and read the show notes at dysevidentia.com

CONTACT [3:46] Dysevidentia.com - https://dysevidentia.com

MAKO: But we do not have a Facebook because fuck Mark Zuckerberg.

SQEAKY: Y'know in an episode about misinformation, that's extra true.

MAKO: Yes.

SQEAKY: They could just get rid of misinformation on Facebook. They just could. They have that technology, they just choose not to because it's too profitable.

MAKO: Yep. It would reduce engagement and less engagement means less advertising revenue and here we are.

*Sqeaky sighs*

MAKO: Yay engagement.

SQEAKY: COVID misinformation is good for the bottom dollar. Capitalism can monetize anything.

MAKO: Just about, yeah.

SQEAKY: Okay. Let's discuss COVID.

MAKO: Capitalism can even monetize bathwater.

SQEAKY: Good job Belle Delphine. Now I gotta cite that shit. I'm not putting a link in there, you fucking Google it. Find your own bathwater.

MAKO: Okay. I wouldn't- yeah no, I don't think she's selling bathwater anymore- Let's just move on.

SQEAKY: "Anymore".

MAKO: Anymore.

*Guitar riff*

SPONSOR [4:30]

SQEAKY: Mako, they're banning gaming computers!

MAKO: What? Like they didn't a few episodes ago?

SQEAKY: Uh... This is different. They're locking up gamers to work in the cryptomines.

MAKO: I'm pretty sure that is not how any of this works.

SQEAKY: But that's what it says on proudamericannews.wordpress.com.ru/porndialer/barely_legal/alqaeda.pdf.

MAKO: I really, really, need you to say that again and listen to yourself carefully while you do.

SQEAKY: Oh- okay. proudamericannews.wordpress.com... .ru/porndialer... Hmm. I see.

MAKO: And I know you can still get great custom gaming computers from a reliable source, ABK Kustomz.

SQEAKY: What's ABK Kustomz?

MAKO: They are knowledgeable experts that can help you get the computer you need. Be sure to use code evidence to get a ten percent discount.

SQEAKY: That sounds great. How can I reach them?

MAKO: Just go to www.5z8.info/nsfw_j3a5gp_like-a-rose-for-emily-but-real-and-on-camera.

SQEAKY: Uh... Google says abkkustomz.com, abkkustomz.com.

SPONSOR [5:49] ABK Kustomz, Use code “evidence” for 10% off your new PC - http://www.5z8.info/nsfw_j3a5gp_like-a-rose-for-emily-but-real-and-on-camera

MAKO: Yeah that probably works too.

FUN TIMES [5:51] Shady URL, Don’t just shorten your URL make it suspicious and frightening. - http://shadyurl.com/

SOURCE [5:51] Dysevidentia.com, no really - http://www.5z8.info/bomb_y2h4mo_alqaeda-message-boards

*Guitar riff*


SQEAKY: COVID seems really relevant to the topic of misinformation.

MAKO: Yeah there's quite a bit of COVID misinformation out there, yes.

SQEAKY: Do we want to just stick to some real information to get started, just keep people up to date on this thing that's killing...

MAKO: Do the regular COVID updates, yes.

SQEAKY: Okay. I added a source that indicates that the CDC guidance may be too short. Turns out in Taiwan they're sticking to a longer term quarantine period and a lot of places are.

SOURCE [6:10] CDC guidance may be too short - https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4393548

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: There's a mix of reasons for it following the official line. The CDC is saying that if you're- if you have a positive test, quarantine for five days until you have no symptoms- or you have to have no symptoms for five days and then you're safe to go out with a mask. And I think part of that is there's a lot of people that won't listen to any guidance at all.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Or who won't listen to the ten or y'know fourteen day guidance and they might be able to get them to listen to the five day guidance.

MAKO: I don't sit in and listen on meetings but that was my first thought when I heard this guidance as well. It feels like they're just trying to make these things approachable to more people to get whatever effect they can get and not alienate the people even further than they already have which I kind of get it but that's really really shitty.

SQEAKY: Yeah I don't like it at all either. Because the numbers do say that the vast majority of people are fine after no symptoms for five days, but ten percent of people with something as virulent as Omicron is one person slips through and infects twenty or something.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Ridiculous.

MAKO: Potentially still disastrous.

SQEAKY: If you're trying to reach out to those middleground people, I I don't know. I haven't seen those people. I see people on the extremes, the extreme right and the extreme left.

MAKO: Yeah. Well uh okay, so, maybe I should sort this- or no cite this, blah. But the I did during the course of research- I didn't think it was particularly relevant to this and maybe it is but The Atlantic had an article about how there are two different camps forming that are pro-vax. There are vax-and-done or vax-and-cautious. And the idea behind vax-and-done is that these people they've done enough to be conscientious and safeguard people and like doing more than that is just... it's too much, it's not make a strong enough impact and so... I mean they're keeping up to date on their boosters but they're not gonna do anything more than that.

SQEAKY: Ah yes, I'm wearing my seatbelt, I can ignore all the red lights.

MAKO: Something like that. Yeah every one of these things statistically reduces the likelihood of infection for yourself or for others or both. So adding more layers of protection is good. It just- full stop.

SQEAKY: And even MSNBC in an episode this past week had some hard questions for Dr. Fauci, who they had on. They asked if this was too short and Fauci said well hang on this is really ten days 'cause we're recommending five days with an N95 mask. Uh, a bunch of businesses and MSNBC- the host pointed out that the businesses who wanted to shorten the time period still wanted to have a negative test to end the time period and Dr. Fauci kind of waffled on this one but it was implied that the tests are kinda hard to get and the false negative rate and it just wouldn't actually do a lot and put more burden on the testing system 'cause with how many cases we've had. Right just-

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: And this is a US-centric problem. Different places have different rates, different issues. Right if you're in Australia or Taiwan, one of these places that's really good at clamping down, of course staying in longer is going to be easier because you have infrastructure to help.

MAKO: Did they say which tests specifically are in short supply?

SQEAKY: I'm pretty sure all of them are. I'm not going by them but other podcasts I've listened to like the Cognitive Dissonance guys tried to go to the store to buy some, and it was an all day trip from podca- or from a pharmacy-

MAKO: At-home tests.

SQEAKY: They're in short supply but the National Guard is setting up testing sites and they're booked constantly. And if you go to a pharmacy to schedule a test you have to schedule it a few days out. It's just all of them are booked, all of them are in short supply. I dunno, I'm not not saying that we're running out it's just a thing that you want that day you might have to three days on and that's uh... not ideal.

MAKO: Yeah, no. You'd probably have to go to the ER and even then a lot of ERs are full. So... good luck.

SQEAKY: Yeah, yeah. If you care about your own safety, just quarantine extra. Mask up. Don't travel if you don't have to. Bah. Alright you added something about uh... Omicron vaccine?

MAKO: Yeah. Pfizer is working on an Omicron-specific vaccine that the goal of it is to improve protection from specifically Omicron because our current vaccines and boosters are not quite as effective as Omicron but they're still pretty effective. You don't need to panic, they're just not as great. They also want to increase protection from asymptomatic infection which is an area the vaccines haven't really focused on as aggressively thus far, mostly it's just been protecting from a serious injury or death as a result of COVID is where a lot of these vaccines have been focusing.

SQEAKY: So they wanna move it from- Right now --and we'll get into the numbers for this-- but right now about seventy-five percent of the US has at least one dose and if you have at least one dose your chances of surviving are just way better.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: For Omicron at least.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: And for the others you just don't get sick at all. But you're saying that they're trying to work it so that way the new vaccines prevent symptoms even if you get infected.

MAKO: That's what they're aiming for, yes.

SQEAKY: Okay, that makes sense.

MAKO: They've already started manufacturing doses and they said that the first of these doses will probably be available in March.

SOURCE [11:02] Pfizer CEO says omicron vaccine will be ready in March - https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/10/covid-vaccine-pfizer-ceo-says-omicron-vaccine-will-be-ready-in-march.html

SQEAKY: Okay. So just a few months out.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: Now I know and I've seen a bunch of sources that hospitalizations are at a record high and you just mentioned the ERs are full.

MAKO: Yeah. So I have uh two different sources for that one. They have slightly different numbers but in both cases we're above the previous record. So one source, ABC News, is reporting that we have a 141,000 Americans hospitalized with COVID-19. And then Reuters says pretty much the same thing but the number that they're reporting is 132,000. So both of these sources agree that we've broken our previous record.

SOURCE [11:27] US hospitalizations reach record high - https://abcnews.go.com/Health/live-updates/coronavirus/?id=82174180#82181209

SOURCE [11:31] US breaks COVID-19 hospitalization record - https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-breaks-covid-19-hospitalization-record-omicron-surges-2022-01-10/

SQEAKY: Is that in a single day?

MAKO: Uh, simultaneously- at the same time.


MAKO: Not in a single day.

SQEAKY: Okay so all of the people with cases right now, okay.

MAKO: Yeah and that is people hospitalized with COVID-19, that is not people hospitalized because of COVID-19.

SQEAKY: So if little Timmy broke his arm but had-

MAKO: And he went into the hospital and they tested him turns out he had COVID-19 he would be included in this statistic but this is still relevant because this is the same statistic that was used before so either way even if you wanted to try and spin this and to say it's not as relevant, well it's equally not as relevant the last time we're still breaking new record numbers, this is still a problem.

SQEAKY: Let's just go over the sources for that real quick. I used taiwannews.com.tw to have an example of a foreign country that had different guidelines than us for that first bit. You cited CNBC for the Pfizer Omicron vaccine and abcnews.go.com for the hospitalizations at a record high and a Reuters link for that as well.

MAKO: Yes.

SQEAKY: Okay. And just for some perspective on how vaccinated we are, uh I got usafacts.org and vaccinetracker.ecdc.europa.eu. These are just a vaccine tracker for the US and for Europe. Seventy-five percent of Americans have at least one shot, sixty-three percent of us are fully vaccinated. In Europe it's pretty close but it seems like more people who one shot follow through.

SOURCE [12:38] US Corona Virus tracker - https://usafacts.org/visualizations/covid-vaccine-tracker-states/

SOURCE [12:42] EU vaccine tracker - https://vaccinetracker.ecdc.europa.eu/public/extensions/COVID-19/vaccine-tracker.html#uptake-tab

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: Seventy-three percent have one dose or more, but just about sixty-nine percent are fully vaccinated.

MAKO: Heh. Sixty-nine. Sorry I had to, it was right there.

SQEAKY: Okay. Uh, I dropped my source for this but I had some numbers for the rest of the world and it's much more bleak when you include the rest of the world because there are lots of countries that can't make vaccines. Yeah let's end that on a high note.

MAKO: Okay.


*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: Now let's hold on to our butts, this is gonna get real.

MAKO: Is it?


MAKO: Is it?!

*Guitar riff*


SQEAKY: We wanted to discuss bullshit websites and other bullshit sources I guess.

MAKO: Yep. There's quite a few of them out there.

SQEAKY: So, when we say misinformation what are we talking about, what do we mean?

MAKO: People presenting information as if they are facts when they are not.

SQEAKY: So a fancy word for lies.

MAKO: Yes.

*Sqeaky chuckles*

MAKO: But like... Misinformation is a little bit more broad. When you use the word lies a lot of people think that okay well this is a complete fabrication and a lot of misinformation out there isn't a complete fabrication. One example is when we touched on COVID-19 and how it transmits. People were trying to say well like cloth masks are completely useless because COVID-19 is too small, it's going to get through them. And they were even trying to say it can get through all but the best N95 masks.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: And we actually-

MAKO: That's technically true, but it's still false because COVID-19 travels in water droplets.

SQEAKY: We actually touched on this specifically in another episode where The Gateway Pundit, another site we'll be talking about a little more here, chopped a video from the Mayo Clinic and misrepresented it.

SOURCE [14:29] The gateway pundit misrepresented a Mayo Clinic Video on Masks in episode 14 - https://dysevidentia.transistor.fm/episodes/episode-14-more-covid-misinformation

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: They used smoke particles and y'know smoke is made of molecules and molecules are smaller than viruses and they were saying exactly that saying 'Look this smoke passes through this N95 mask, masks are useless, don't wear masks!' Fucking liars.

MAKO: Yeah. So you can sometimes have things that are factual being presented in a way that just doesn't- it's not the claim that the facts are trying to make and so you can get people who don't really understand all the information getting swept up in this because a part of it is based on fact therefore it seems more trustworthy as a whole and that's not something that happens with outright lies.

SQEAKY: And often there's a motive with spreading this kind of stuff. Uh people will try to be selling something, one nation state might be attacking another like uh... The United States might be might be spreading misinformation about Vladamir Putin being more evil than he actually is to try and move the overton window and shift the idea of what Russian people are thinking about and Russia might do the same thing to us. They might to destabilize our country by creating divisiveness by pushing anti-vaccine nonsense. We actually have seen things like that happening or they helped push the Big Lie, they tried to push the idea that there was some sort of election fraud.

MAKO: Yup.

SQEAKY: That's good for them because if our political leaders here have to deal with local instability, they are less likely to make an effective response to whatever Russia wants to do. So there's reasons if you want to sell a book full of misinformation, if you're a big nation state actor, we have uh other reasons why people may do this?

MAKO: Uh... Well it's almost always some kind of profiting or some kind of material or monetary gain. Not for everybody though, there are some people who definitely get swept up in this and generally believe it and they feel like they have to share it.

SQEAKY: Okay so the three kind of reasons that I've seen it because you're absolutely right, those people exist, is profit, nation state actors attacking each other, and true believers.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: And like Q was full of true believers, but it started off as political nonsense.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Okay. So uh, before the podcast started I suggested that you and I play a game and we kind of agreed.

MAKO: Yup.

SQEAKY: I had to twist his arm.

MAKO: Still twisting.

SQEAKY: Yeah I'm really good at twisting his arm while speaking levelly into a microphone.

MAKO: I mean obviously. The evidence is right there.

SQEAKY: Just look right here listener. You can see me twisting his arm.

MAKO: Oh yeah.

SQEAKY: Anyway, a simple race. So that way we couldn't prepare in advance. Me and Mako have both secretly selected topics and the other one will find a piece of misinformation on our topic and we did agree it has to be something that there's a reasonable expectation for there to be misinformation about. Do you want to reveal your topic first?

MAKO: I chose what my topic was but I can't remember it right now.

SQEAKY: Take a moment, we can fix it. Fuck. Or pick a new topic, it's...

MAKO: I'm thinking... Uh...

SQEAKY: Swiss made penis enlargement pumps.

MAKO: No... It's like I'm thinking of a bunch of super super obvious ones and I'm not like remembering. Most of the stuff I'm thinking of you'll find a hit like instantly.

SQEAKY: I think that's how it's gonna be for misinformation.

MAKO: Well you were saying earlier that --you in your test drive-- it wasn't until your seventh link.

SQEAKY: Yeah but still on the first page of results.

MAKO: Yeah yeah what I'm saying is the thing's I'm thinking of is mostly going to be the first result.

SQEAKY: Well you can lay it out there. I don't think mine's gonna be super amazing either, we don't have to game it too hard.

MAKO: We wanna go for a big obvious one. Uh, I was gonna say "Birds aren't real".

SQEAKY: Oh geez. You want me to find "birds aren't real"? Okay. I'd like you to find a source that claims vaccines cause autism. Are you ready?

MAKO: I'm at the... the new page.

SQEAKY: I'm at a new page.

MAKO: 'Kay.

SQEAKY: Three, two, one, go.

*Both typing*

SQEAKY: Okay... Are birds real? Ornithology.com. This is ac- this is legitimate information. Birds aren't real, birds are real, are birds real, birds aren't- there we go. Birdsarentreal.com. I believe it took me... fifteen seconds to fi- no is that right, fifteen seconds? I don't know, I'll get the time in there.

SOURCE [18:15] Real information about birds - https://ornithology.com/

BULLSHIT SOURCE [18:26] Birds aren’t real - https://birdsarentreal.com/

MAKO: Feel like I'm getting a bunch of personalized results.

SQEAKY: What'd you get?

MAKO: On the first page I couldn't find anything that was misinformation.

SQEAKY: Really? For vaccines causing autism?

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Try DuckDuckGo.

MAKO: That's exactly what I'm doing.

SQEAKY: Okay. You gave me an easy one.

MAKO: I did.

SQEAKY: And I'm not sure it's a real conspiracy theory. I don't know who believes this.

MAKO: Romper.com. There's one that is what is it, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Seventh link on the first page. Romper.com and it's a... an article titled "Here's all the evidence that proves vaccines cause autism."

SQEAKY: Fuck. Okay so we each found misinformation in less than two minutes.

MAKO: Hold on. The headline is damning but I don't know if they're actually making the claims, let me confirm that.


MAKO: Okay. Yeah no it's just a clickbaity thing, they're not actually claiming vaccines cause autism. Onward.

SQEAKY: Alright. I'll jump in and help.

*Faster typing*

MAKO: Yeah moving on to page three and I still haven't found anything obvious.

SQEAKY: Yeah okay let's kill it there, I'm really surprised. Actually how about this: Go to Twitter and search for vaccine autism.

MAKO: Sweet child oh my god.

SQEAKY: You'll find it in like two seconds.

MAKO: Okay so, going to Twitter. I'm not logged in and it prompted me with a login to try to do anything so I just used Google Site Search for Twitter and the first page of Google results doing a Twitter site search still didn't yield any results. On the second page, what is this, the fourth link from what I found, I don't know if we want to use his name.

SQEAKY: He's posting on Twitter. Whatever.

MAKO: Fine. Ben Greenfield says- or tweets: Vaccines do indeed cause autism and for Pete's sake don't trust @snopes on your news for this matter or any other alternative health news.

BULLSHIT SOURCE [20:25] Vaccines cause autism - https://twitter.com/bengreenfield/status/1094986690785988613

SQEAKY: Alright. Snag that and throw it in there. So this one's a bit older. It took you about five minutes to find that, it seems that the internet has done a pretty good job cleaning up the vaccine causing autism myth. That was started by this doctor, a guy named Wakefield that published a bullshit article a few decades ago, a bullshit paper, that claimed this link existed and he was crusading, he was a true believer, he was very very wrong, and uh lots of other scientists researched this and rebutted him and after that popular media picked up the original guy and lots of people made these claims and it was all over the place even just a year ago. If we'd had gone with COVID it would've been super easy to find shit.

SOURCE [20:44] An easy to read academic write-up of the history of the vaccine and autism myth - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5789217/

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Sorry I made it too obscure.

MAKO: I mean at the surface of it it seems like the type of thing that'd be easy to find. I'm a little bit surprised it took me that long. I expected like maybe a minute but not five.

SQEAKY: I've gotten in the past two or three days misinformation on Ivermectin and vaccines, uh misinformation on politics stuff, so many people are claiming that Biden is senile, uh if you're following Alex Jones everyone is going to die pretty much everyday.

MAKO: Yeah it's all doom and gloom and him selling you something to either make it go away or make it better, somehow.

SQEAKY: But he'll claim everyone's gonna die because the globalists are gonna kill you and the globalists is this great keyword for people who are evidence-driven, we're meant to believe it's global corporations are taking over but for people who are racist it's a keyword for Jewish people, for people who are like way deep down the rabbit hole they think lizard people are literal aliens or something, and globalists means all of this. And when the globalists come to kill everyone and you're living in a bunker, use your Alex Jones branded iodine so you don't become iodine deficient and filter your water to filter out all of the nerve gasses and anthrax with your Alex Jones branded water filter.

MAKO: Yep. He is a proper fucking doomer.

*Guitar riff*

MAKO: This is fuckin' stupid.

*Mako sighs*

MAKO: But this is where we're at.

SQEAKY: It's okay, we're just speaking the language conservatives understand.

*Guitar riff*


*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: Yeah. So there's a whole gradient of credibility. And I just jotted some notes down. I figured we should go over this spectrum because Alex Jones is on one extreme, he's just completely full of shit and then on the other end there's just completely unimpeachable sources. Why don't I break this down and you tell me your thoughts on the spectrum?

MAKO: Sure.

SQEAKY: There's the unimpeachable sources. We'll get more into that later but sources you can just trust. Sources that add their own analysis but might add bias or add some errors because adding analysis does that. Sources with some intentional bias, and we're a little bit biased, we're intentionally biased here.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: Sources that intentionally lie or are involved in the stories they're working on without disclosing it, we're definitely better than them I think. But lots of people can't tease these guys out from the rest. And then sources that completely fabricate nonsense.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: They completely fabricate things or make nonsense. And that's sort of the five broad categories I lump things into and of course some things straddle boundaries but you can use that to compare one to the other. 'Cause if someone is uh... doing their own analysis and then they're contradicted by Reuters, right Reuters is unimpeachably true most of the time.

SOURCE [23:25] A nearly unimpeachable source - https://www.reuters.com/

MAKO: Yeah. Usually there's like there's some error in the initial information gathering if Reuters says something that turns out to not be true and it's often an understandable mistake and they'll issue retractions as necessary. Reuters and AP News tries to be as close to just stating raw fact as we can reasonably get.

SQEAKY: Yeah. I also think in this category of unimpeachable sources is uh, well duplicated scientific studies.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: So one study isn't necessarily great, I mean they're like movies, sometimes they just suck.

MAKO: Yeah of course.

SQEAKY: But most scientific studies are pretty good. But if a study has been done four or five times and they keep getting the same results that's really good. If different scientists in different places keep getting the same thing, that's probably just true. Like what we have with vaccines. We have tons of different medical organizations and countries all over the world that all have opposing motives and they all agree: Vaccinate to save lives. So if you're going to disagree with that base fact you've got a real steep hill to climb.

MAKO: Yeah. And it just reminded me of the belief that there is an ongoing mass killing through the vaccines meh.

SQEAKY: Oh my god that is shit that Alex Jones actually said that taking the vaccine will actually kill you and he had to backpedal but he didn't issue a correction or anything, he just started saying oh it will sterilize you and now he's switched to well the first shot won't kill you but the second shot will.

*Sqeaky sighs*

MAKO: Of course. I wonder what the next goal post will be.

SQEAKY: I don't know. Evershifting. So to summarize, the unimpeachable sources: Their mistakes are rare, they issue corrections, they're almost never sensational. But I would argue the con for this high level of reliability is because they don't provide a lot of analysis, they often don't provide a lot of context, so it might be hard for people to use their information.

MAKO: Yeah it's not as digestible, it's not as approachable, because you're inviting other people to try and draw their own conclusions and most of the time most people are just not gonna have enough information to do that.

SQEAKY: Yeah so Russia moved into Chechnya, what does that mean for me?

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Yeah okay. That's just an example. That's something- I don't know if Russia actually did right it just that could be- that could be a fact one of these places might report on it's like how does that relate to me but a sou-

MAKO: It does give an idea of like the raw fact as I described like what the type of thing you're gonna get from them.

SQEAKY: But a source that adds a little bit of their own analysis like CNN or The New York Times or most serious news outlets-

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: -might say uh... "Russia's invading Chechnya, here's what Democrats are gonna do, here's what Republicans are gonna do" that then begins to impact your life because maybe spending, maybe taxes, maybe uh... somebody you know in the military might get shipped off.

MAKO: They do some speculation in order to try to make the information more digestible.

SQEAKY: Yeah. And that process can't help but produce bias but these real professionals work to minimalize it.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: So that extra analysis does introduce more errors but these credible sources does issue retracts and do it loudly and proudly. Like we found one, The Rolling Stone, they were talking about people dying on their way to the ER in Oklahoma and they issued a retraction the same day.

SOURCE [26:21] Covid ivermectin ER error and retraction by the rolling stone, everyone makes mistakes, retractions make us credible - https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/gunshot-victims-horse-dewormer-ivermectin-oklahoma-hospitals-covid-1220608/

MAKO: In the article's probably the best place to put it but yeah.

SQEAKY: And this doesn't include the editorial section. So a lot of people aren't familiar with the concept of editorials. I guess that's an old timey physical newspaper idea.

MAKO: Yeah a lot of publications that I've seen online, they do say when these things are editorials but they don't make it super obvious that they are, like it's in smaller print near the top usually and then that's it, that's your only clue.

SQEAKY: Yeah it's like there's the title, an ad, the word "editorial", another ad, the article.

MAKO: Yeah it can be difficult unless you're consciously asking yourself okay is this an editorial is this fact-based and even then like for me, most of the time I don't think to ask that question until I'm half way through the article and I'm like wait a minute, these are some crazy claims.

SQEAKY: Yeah. The editorials move it down one or two more categories on the scale we've made. There are sources with intentional bias, that's the next one down. And like our opinion is reality has a liberal bias.

MAKO: Uh yes. Of course the joke being that realities can't have a bias.

SQEAKY: It's just that in order to preserve the current power structures. Conservatives throughout history have had to lie and if you're wanting to make progress and you're doing things like looking at evidence, you will have to conflict with people who are lying which means you will have to conflict with conservatives and that's just the logical progression of that situation.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: But again that requires analysis and nuance and if deployed incorrectly can lead to people making errors. 'Cause clearly that doesn't work for every topic. Like I wouldn't try to use that logic for a detailed tax law. Probably wouldn't work there but I think it works great on vaccines, COVID misinformation, the Big Lie, works there. Anyway, getting way off in the weeds. So there's us, and we're disclosing that, and we feel that makes us more credible. But I'd also put MSNBC in this category.

SOURCE [28:06] MSNBC has a bias, but does all the right things to maintain integrity - https://www.msnbc.com/

MAKO: They're... weird. I haven't bothered looking at much of what they have to throw out there in a while but.

SQEAKY: They're clearly left-leaning but they also don't try to hide it.


SQEAKY: I'd say these people can be creedible if they're clear about their bias and I would look at other red flags like do they issue corrections when they make mistakes 'cause everybody can make mistakes, right?

MAKO: Yeah everybody at some point or another does make mistakes, yeah.

SQEAKY: And these sources are often more sensational. I would argue Fox News from twenty or twenty-five years ago was in this category. They would just have slightly more sensational headlines and they made an attempt at at least looking credible but they were biased and conservative-leaning and it showed but they also either didn't overtly lie or were better about it back then.

BULLSHIT SOURCE [28:36] Fox news was once merely biased, now fabricates and lies often - https://www.foxnews.com/

MAKO: I think- I mean if I had to guess, I don't know, I haven't researched this in detail, but if I had to guess I think they've been getting more and more sensational as time goes on.


MAKO: They've been trying to see exactly how much engagement and they're constantly trying to push that limit to maximize the engagement of what they think they can get away with.

SQEAKY: I think I would agree with you. But a point we bring up about Fox News and when we're pointing out intentional lies, they're all newer. The oldest intentional lie I'm aware of is like eight or nine years old. They faked some photos in a warzone and they added extra plumes of smoke. They didn't do that twenty years ago as near as I can tell but they've done it several times recently.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Alright so to wrap that one up. Places with intentional bias, mistakes are gonna be not rare, they're gonna happen slightly more often 'cause there's more analysis and bias might introduce errors. If they're reliable they'll issue corrections but not all of them do and there's more sensationalism at this level so I think we're doing good there. We're not very sensational, are we?

MAKO: I hope not.

SQEAKY: That was the most level just even-keeled sentence. You're just 'whatever okay'.

MAKO: Okay. Yeah I don't know.

SQEAKY: You have all of the emotion of a rock.

MAKO: I am definitely more expressive than a rock.

SQEAKY: Dude I have seen pet rocks. They're adorable.

MAKO: Okay, fine. Pet rocks have shit over me. I was just talking about a run-of-the-mill rock.

SQEAKY: Yeah okay I'll grant you that. You're more expressive than a run-of-the-mill rock.

MAKO: Fuck yeah!

SQEAKY: Sources that intentionally lie or involved in stories without disclosing it. So Fox News is the big one now. Just a few days ago it came out that Sean Hannity was somehow involved in the January 6 insurrection. He didn't disclose that to his listeners.

SOURCE [30:21] Sean Hannity was involved in Jan 6 - https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sean-hannity-january-6-committee-information/

MAKO: Nope.

SQEAKY: And he allegedly sent texts to the White House in advance of the insurrection so that's problematic. We can even read some of that. See some of the texts. On the eve of the insurrection he allegedly sent a text message that said quote "I'm very worried about the next 48 hours. With the counting of the electoral votes scheduled for January 6 at 1 PM. Why are you concerned about the next 48 hours?" So he knew something was happening on January 5th before the insurrection on January 6th so he was involved and had a whole fucking year to disclose it and didn't. So that's not something a legitimate news source does.


SQEAKY: When we went out to go to the Kellogg's place we plainly said we're pro-labor.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Yeah we're biased, but you know that you can take that into account. We also didn't lie or fabricate anything and looking at Fox News, we have sources showing they photoshopped things. They've got one picture --and I'll see if we can get that put in the video for YouTube-- but they've got a reporter that's a normal-looking person but they photoshopped him to make him less visually appealing, they've made his head more narrow shape, they've darkened the bags under his eyes, they've made his chin neanderthal-like...

SOURCE [31:07] Fox news photoshops pictures to misrepresent reporter - https://www.huffpost.com/entry/fox-news-photoshops-pictu_n_110486

MAKO: Oh my god that is like proper uncanny valley.

SQEAKY: Yeah! Yeah they they they uglified him proper. This guy Jack Steinberg, I mean he looks like a normal dude in the picture that's labeled actual photo, and then in the other one he looks like... like a conehead neanderthal thing, right?

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: And that's just one thing, that's like okay maybe maybe somebody was fucking around or they added a bad filter to it but they did it to a few different people and I'll see if we can't get these photos and the next ones in the YouTube video so you can see 'em easier.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: But then they also just lie about things that are in their political camp. Uh, the Seattle Times actually points out where they lied about the Capitol Hill autonomous zone. I'm not gonna defend everything that went on there because I don't know, I haven't researched it, but they added a gunman to several of the pictures. So they've got pictures of this uh sign that says "You're now entering the three cap hill" and we have pictures of it the way Getty Images shows it and then they've photoshopped on uh this guy with a green mask and a thing that looks a lot like a assault rifle. They've just photoshopped this guy onto things.

SOURCE [32:01] Fox news lies about liberal issues - https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/fox-news-runs-digitally-altered-images-in-coverage-of-seattles-protests-capitol-hill-autonomous-zone/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=article_inset_1.1&fbclid=IwAR13ETbr9vqNBrLK6TnpkruV8-5mUrYQg9G4rO5TLoWXIyiB4V5Oi5vYoqQ

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: So yeah. We've got before and after there. They've also reused pictures. "In this AP photo from May 30th a protestor runs past burning cars and buildings in Chicago Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota." So this is from a protest in Minnesota, real photo, but they took it and reused it and said Seattle's doing this, this happened in Seattle. They made it look like the whole town's burning down.

MAKO: Yeah I can't remember very much in the way of specific examples but I seem to recall that flavor of bullshit happening a lot from places like Fox News and it actually being worse in places like OAN and Breitbart.


MAKO: They're more aggressive.

SQEAKY: OAN and Breitbart are firmly in this category of actively lying to you. Every time I go to one of their things --somebody cites it as a source when I'm arguing online-- it's either this category or the next one.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: So yeah. So Fox News is openly lying. It's not even like you have to dig for it. Twenty years ago you had to be like picking on Bill O'Reilly where he says "Tides go in, tides go out, can't explain that".

SOURCE [33:25] Tides prove gods, unless science explained that - https://www.cc.com/video/n6wqjn/the-colbert-report-bill-o-reilly-proves-god-s-existence-neil-degrasse-tyson

*Mako chuckles*

SQEAKY: And it's like sure he was wrong, but he was legitimately wrong. He was just kind of dumb.

MAKO: Yeah. Some people are just normal dumb.

SQEAKY: For our listeners, we're not trying to call you dumb if you don't know how the tides work. That's fine. We'll leave a link in the show notes explaining how the moon's gravity effects tides.

MAKO: But if you're a professional that's talking about this on air with time to prep and you have a staff that's also helping you to prep then it's different.

SQEAKY: Yeah you shouldn't make those mistakes. If you're just one of our listeners and you don't know how something works, that's fine. You're not claiming to know how it works. Just like me on the Capitol Hill autonomous zone. I don't know that thing, that's fine. And I'm also not claiming to know a ton about it except about these very specific photos.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: "I don't know" is a valid answer but Mr. O'Reilly claiming that nobody knows when we've known since Issac fucking Neuton... Just fuck off.

MAKO: Yeah that's uh...

*Sqeaky sighs*

MAKO: That's a pretty special moment for him.

SQEAKY: He said it every fucking episode man. It was like his signoff.

MAKO: Pretty special moments?

SQEAKY: Okay. The final category, the least good one, is sources that completely fabricate stories or nonsense. There's a bunch of reasons to do this. Pseudoscience pettlers, they love to sell you shit. Conspiracy theorists, y'know they're generally a... they're generally some flavor of true believer.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: And then people like Alex Jones. If you're not familiar, Alex Jones is just a damn dirty liar. When he goes into other people's media he really tones it down. So he's been on Joe Rogan, he's been on other people's radio shows or TV shows, or even in court. It's night and day. When he's on Joe Rogan, he seems almost reasonable until he gets really drunk, then he starts saying some dumb shit. When he's in court, he's not lying- usually.

MAKO: Usually.

SQEAKY: But at least there his lies are reasonable like "I don't believe I said that" or "There's no record of me saying that" and then we can go find a record of him saying that but on his show he's no- no kidding, no exaggeration, he's saying stuff like "Everyone is going to die if we don't wake up and fight the globalists" or "Everyone is going to die if you take the vaccine" or "If we don't repent and pray to Jesus, you will all die". Like is that extreme that often. And there's more people like him, he's just-

MAKO: One of the big ones.

SQEAKY: He's a visible. 'Cause he's actually gotten smaller recently-

MAKO: Oh yeah.

SQEAKY: -but people know his name.

MAKO: He's been deplatformed and had other things. He's smaller, he's definitely not at his peak, but he's already hit that critical mass. He's gonna be around.

SQEAKY: I would recommend if you want to learn more about Alex Jones, go through the filter of Knowledge Fight. These two comedians... Comedian philosophers? I don't know. They're two very intelligent people who watch whole Alex Jones episodes, pull out clips, and then discuss why he's wrong, they go into sources where he doesn't, they show how he claims to be news and he does take news from other outlets and we do too, that's okay, that's fine, that makes sense to do, but at least we read the articles. We educate ourselves the slightest bit. He takes the headlines then begins fabricating nonsense.

SOURCE [35:41] Alex jones is a damn Dirty Liar to the point people document it in the extreme - https://knowledgefight.com/

*Sqeaky sighs*

MAKO: Tries to pull it all together into his own little narrative.

SQEAKY: Yup. And his narrative is way the fuck out there. Other people in this completely fabricating nonsense area are people like Zecharia Sitchin who wrote the book Chariot of the Gods.

SOURCE [36:19] Covered this liar in an episode dedicated to the topic https://dysevidentia.transistor.fm/episodes/0021-annunaki-and-ancient-aliens

MAKO: Yup. Tried to make claims about what ancient Sumerian texts say when no other expert agrees with them. Yeah.

SQEAKY: Yeah. He claimed to be able to translate uh ancient Sumerian tablets when we already know how to translate them but his translations are way more sensational and way easier to sell books around.

MAKO: Yeah. And the book selling was in my opinion was the obvious goal there.

SQEAKY: Oh yeah. I totally agree. Now we discuss that more in episode twenty-one, Annunaki and Ancient Aliens, so I'll leave a link for that one in the show notes.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: I'll leave a link to knowledgefight.com but it's probably better to get that podcast wherever you're listening to this podcast. I mean if you're listening to the podcast after search for Knowledge Fight should have a red logo. For the Fox News photoshops we've got the Huffington Post, Seattle Times, and cbsnews.com. Three different examples. I guess the CBS News has Sean Hannity involvement. It's actually really good, go ahead and read that. It's fucked up how involved he is. I didn't have any real plan about these, I just found some bullshit sources that inspired me to make this episode.

MAKO: Okay. I see a Reddit post and The Gateway Pundit.

BULLSHIT SOURCE [37:22] shitty blog lies about vaccines - https://old.reddit.com/r/DebunkThis/comments/rw6ksk/debunk_thiscomplex_microtechnology_is_in_pfizer/

BULLSHIT SOURCE [37:24] The gateway pundit is malicious lies - https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/12/ha-ha-ha-biden-laughs-confronted-kamala-harris-claims-didnt-see-delta-omicron-coming-video/

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: Ah, yeah. The day after the last episode somebody tried to link The Gateway Pundit claiming Biden was laughing at people dying and they gave me this bullshit link to The Gateway Pundit and first looking at it first I was like 'The Gateway Pundit why do I remember that name, what is this?' and then it's got this video where Biden's photoshopped to look like very plastic-surgeried and it just starts talking about Biden was laughing at people and they took like little excerpts of a Christmas speech and restitched it together to make shit up and The Gateway Pundit's thoroughly in this either fabricating nonsense or overtly lying category.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: I don't know. We'll leave a link to this but it's just what inspired this episode. I don't even know how to dig into it at this point.

MAKO: Okay.

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: Your monitor went out. Your monitor went out! Is Fox News that bad? Did Fox News say that your monitor was working correctly and then it's not?

MAKO: I- No, not quite. Uh... Maybe Fox News was saying that the monitor cable was secure.

SQEAKY: Oh goodness. You gotta stop the illegal immigrants from crossing the HDMI cable.

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: maybe- Maybe we apply this... Well why don't we look at it and see how we might tease out that this is... that this is fake news. "Gateway Pundit: We report the truth and leave Russia collusion fairytale to the conspiracy media."

MAKO: Wow that's uh... Pretty on the nose.

SQEAKY: "“Ha Ha Ha” Biden Laughs When Confronted on Kamala Harris’ Claims He Didn’t See Delta or Omicron Coming". So they've got a video, I watched it like a week ago, literally everyone saw more variants coming.

MAKO: Sure.

SQEAKY: They just jumped to the most humiliating point in this uh ABC News thing, they skipped the first six minutes of the video.

MAKO: Yeah it is a little bit awkward like his response, how he does initially say nobody saw it coming, like I guess depending on how you want to interpret that he could say that nobody like another variant like Omicron being as infectious as it is causing new record highs 'cause a lot of people when Alpha was still going through the nation, a lot of people felt that that was kinda the peak because even if we were to get more variants down the line, we would have more techniques and mechanisms in order to fight the virus and we do, we do but-

SQEAKY: It's the virus is also getting more virulent.

MAKO: Yeah. And a lot of people when Alpha was dominant didn't expect the virus to have the opportunity to get this virulent.

SQEAKY: Yeah it's clear to me that that's a... just a mistake in the moment or picking a thing out of context, this is exactly what The Gateway Pundit do with that Mayo Clinic video last time we looked at them. They took a video out of context and just ran with it.

MAKO: Not only that but like loaded language near the top. They say quote "Biden short-circuited for a few seconds before awkwardly laughing" so they're trying to call him a robot and accuse him of being awkward.

SQEAKY: To give Gateway Pundit the benefit of the doubt here, I don't think they're literally calling him a robot but yeah I see what you're saying, some people will infer that.

MAKO: Well with everything else they're trying to say here come on. So I mean but yeah they say literally everyone saw more variants coming and yeah, we did. Everyone expected it to mutate at some point but yeah it's not- that is what it sounds like on the face of it in his first comment but in his clarification that is in the video they provide there's more context there.

SQEAKY: A big thing that Gateway Pundit does is operate on attention deficit. They expect you to watch just enough to get what you're looking for and move on.

MAKO: All of these kinds of websites depend on attention deficit.

SQEAKY: And The Gateway Pundit is actually one of the better assembled versions of these fake news websites. They've been around a little while, they've been around three or four years at least like it doesn't have obvious errors in like the coding of the website. A lot of these webpages are either stock WordPress templates or they have like pictures overlapping each other, text running off into pictures, they don't look good on mobile, so at least this is like- I'm not gonna say well laid out but at least it doesn't have obvious errors or visual artifacts or something. Um it does do the thing where there's a bunch of comments at the bottom and they're all extremely right-wing so that's kind of a...

MAKO: Yeah I closed the tab before I even bothered looking at comments at the bottom.

SQEAKY: "Biden the demented corpse is cackling like Kamala". Four upvotes, wow. They have something about American gulag. Yeah. Again you're right, the very loaded language, and this this doesn't feel like a misinformation site if you weren't expecting it to be one and if you already are lined up with hating on the Democrats, this almost seems plausible.

MAKO: Yeah you just give a pass to all of the big red flags.

SQEAKY: Yeah so I assembled a list of possible red flags, we could check off what some of these do and don't hit.

MAKO: Sure.

SQEAKY: Alright. I started by going out and Googling how other people do it but I found two sources, theconversation.com and turnitin.com. Turnitin looks like a resource for teachers.

SOURCE [42:02] 10 ways to spot misinformation online - https://theconversation.com/10-ways-to-spot-online-misinformation-132246

SOURCE [42:04] Warning signs a website is misinformation- https://www.turnitin.com/blog/warning-signs-a-website-is-peddling-misinformation

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: And The Conversation, general purpose information, I only read this one article and skimmed around and make sure it wasn't complete bullshit because they weren't making hard factual claims, they're like "Here's mechanisms and methods you can use, you can duplicate this on your own" and both suggested uh, checking to see if a thing invokes anger or disgust. Is it looking for an emotional reaction?

MAKO: Uh yes.

SQEAKY: So yeah if you really hate Joe Biden, him laughing about the virus would invoke disgust.

MAKO: Well even if you don't hate Joe Biden, most people are gonna be insulted by their elected leader laughing at those under him.

SQEAKY: That's a good point, yeah.

MAKO: That is a violation of the social contract of being a late- leader.

SQEAKY: On sites- or on sources that invoke anger and disgust, Hank Green, a science communicator from like SciShow on YouTube and uh, he has the crash course series where you can learn about history and science and stuff, he had a really insightful tweet on Joe Rogan. This isn't like a source where Joe Rogan's definitely full of shit because of that, it's just a lens to view uh... to view Joe Rogan through and it makes a ton of sense. So in it he says "Joe Rogan is paid millions of dollars to have controversial opinions and guests because a lot of people really like the feeling of being independent from or looking down on mainstream people and perspective. Look at a schtick through this lens and it all makes way more sense."

SOURCE [43:11] Hank Green, science communicator has opinions people like Joe Rogan - https://news.yahoo.com/youtube-takes-down-antivaxx-joe-174640545.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw&tsrc=twtr

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: He doesn't care what he's saying he doesn't actually believe or it doesn't matter what he believes.

MAKO: He routinely says that like 'Hey, you shouldn't listen to what I say' and people do.

SQEAKY: 'Cause he just repeats the same bullshit so much and it- he's pushing the boundary in being sensational and he's just a shock jock.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: He's going for the shock to get people to listen and that's how he gets, y'know, millions of dollars in a contract from Spotify to do this. Some websites will take the opposite attack and try to make you feel good about it. I'm sure we've all seen those ads where it's like "Only 1% of people are smart enough to beat this puzzle" or "Are you smart enough to do" and the puzzle is like sliding a thing into place.

MAKO: It's something stupid. It's always something stupid.

SQEAKY: They ask you three questions, claim your IQ is 200. Yeah.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Something stupid like that. This one doesn't do that but that's something I've seen on other websites. Does it confirm something you've already believed and this bit me actually. Uh, researching the episode for the video game thing, right, I had to like step back and make sure I wasn't doing it wrong and even put some sources out in front of uh... in front of our Discord and one of our Discord listeners corrected me on a bunch of stuff so it's really easy to fall into the trap of I think this is true.

MAKO: Yeah. It's- It's kind of a... I don't know what the best word for it is but it's like an optimization for information processing like to turn over every single stone is something that is outside the reach of most people so we rely on certain things in order to take shortcuts.

SQEAKY: If you think you've already learned a thing you don't question it.

MAKO: You don't question it as much.

SQEAKY: Absolutely, absolutely.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: So I would argue that for people who are hyper-conservative or hyper-right-leaning, this article hits that.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: It confirms things they think they are- or it confirms things I already believe. So uh, does it- does the article or does the source involve things that are too good to be true.

MAKO: This doesn't seem to claim anything that's good.

SQEAKY: No. But this does happen for other misinformation, particularly around COVID. We've had a lot of people claiming you could cure COVID with olive oil and rosemary or whatever nonsense.

MAKO: Yeah or Ivermectin or what was the one before Ivermectin?

SQEAKY: Um... Fuck. Hydrochloroquine!

MAKO: Ah, right. Okay.

SQEAKY: Uh so this one didn't suffer from it but a lot of these fake news websites have bad writing.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: And that's because of the nature of what they are. If they're a small outfit they often make more more errors. And we certainly make more errors than if we had a staff of twenty people-

MAKO: Oh yeah.

SQEAKY: -to proofread us.

MAKO: When you have like someone dedicated to catching the errors you're gonna catch way more errors.

SQEAKY: Absolutely.

MAKO: That's how that works.

SQEAKY: But then also there's reasons for like... We mentioned nation state actors. If a bunch of Russians are trying to infiltrate American culture and give us bullshit that will destabilize the country, they're- they might not be in experts in how American culture works because they don't live in it.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: So they're more likely to make subtle language faux pas y'know, just using pronouns and conjunctions incorrectly. They're less likely to get the context of something.

MAKO: Like how many memes have you seen out there that rely on broken grammar in order to convey the humor?

SQEAKY: Sometimes that happens. Yeah.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Following that path of bad writing, just the logic of if someone isn't able to check their spelling are they checking their sources? I mean they do have finite effort. I would like to think when we do it we are doing a good job checking our sources 'cause that's what we're focused on but.

MAKO: I do kind of understand why somebody would start with that thought process but I do kinda- depends on their overall workflow. If they gather a bunch of sources first and then write and then don't proofread, you can have good sources and bad writing.

SQEAKY: I would argue there's a very strong correlation. I think very few people have that specific workflow but I see what you're saying, it's possible.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: So this is a correlation not a guarantee. And like all of these these are all red flags.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: A place doesn't have to have bad writing to be bullshit as this Gateway Pundit article showed us. Does it cite sources? You mentioned memes. Memes almost never cite sources.

MAKO: Oh no.

SQEAKY: So if a meme is claiming something, right? Uh, The Gateway Pundit cites one ABC News article.

MAKO: Oh good for them!

SQEAKY: I'm sorry- One ABC News video but it does jump into the video and to the most sensational part of it.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: And it's only sensational because of them omitting the context.

MAKO: Yeah, editing out of context.

SQEAKY: With the context it's just one reporter trying to dig and trying to ask the hard questions then Biden answers them. Okay, whatever. But there are plenty of things out there that don't cite any sources, then there's things that cite bad sources.

MAKO: Yeah. A long time ago I remember seeing something on Fox News and it wasn't me, somebody else tried to follow the chain of sources and like the Fox News referenced something from Breitbart and then Breitbart referenced something from somewhere else then they referenced Fox News again and it's like what are you doing?

SQEAKY: Yeah. That happens a lot in these fake news things. Sometimes it is unintentional, like it sounds like that one probably was.

MAKO: It could have been, yeah.

SQEAKY: But sometimes it's intentional. If you're trying to spread a message it's in your best interest to make a lot of webpages and it's possible to automate signing up for WordPress blogs for example, or at least it used to be before CAPTCHAs. So if I want to get a message out there, what I can do it write a thing that will stitch together a bunch of a fake articles by writing a bunch of sentences and then having it throw the sentences together in a random order, have my little script sign up for a hundred WordPress accounts, make a hundred blogs, post a hundred different articles with the same basic message but some grammatical errors because y'know when you're stitching sentences together you won't always get it right but now I've got a hundred blog posts saying this thing and I can automate adding new blog posts and schedule it to do it at slightly different times and it looks like there's a network of things all referring to each other and if I have just big cycles of things referring to each other it looks like each one is citing different things and you can click down and click through and the only thing that gives it away is that nobody knows who any of these fake people are and there's no external citation. And this has happened, we found these and blogging sites try to kick these people off but it isn't always easy.

MAKO: Yeah.


MAKO: A lot of people just don't bother to look and a lot of detecting that stuff operates off of people looking in order to detect it.

SQEAKY: Yeah if you just go off headlines and you just trust that when you see an article that fills your whole page and you trust that it's good you're not gonna get to anything accurate.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Some will link to a paper where the paper might have- like it might be a real scientific paper and it might be nebulous like it might be analysis of the link of COVID symptom recovery and COVID-19. That paper might say we gave Ivermectin to a bunch of people, nothing happened or they suffered Ivermectin side effects. There is no benefit to giving Ivermectin to people with COVID-19 but then some of these people will link to that and say 'Look, scientists said it makes COVID go away'. So you could read the whole article and the article might be well-written and then link to this bullshit as a source and if you just read the headline there and stop, they've tricked you.

MAKO: So yeah we stumbled onto that exact thing earlier when we were doing our little minigame and I found a article that had a sensational headline clearly there to get clicks and it did get a click from me that was stating that vaccines cause autism but that wasn't actually what the article said. I stopped and I took a moment to actually skim through the article to understand what it is it was trying to say and it actually- the article says the opposite of what the headline wold have you believe.

SQEAKY: If somebody wanted to push their vaccine autism in their own personal blog or on Twitter or something they might say "Vaccines definitely cause autism" and then link to this-

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: -and then anyone that doesn't read the article is tricked.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Okay. So, is there a motive? We've talked about the political motives.

MAKO: Depends on who we're talking about but there are motives out there, yes.

SQEAKY: The Gateway Pundit is clearly political. I'm not sure what their thing-

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: -is but their- or how they make their money or what their business model is but they're constantly pushing-

MAKO: How many ads do you see? It's usually ad revenue.

SQEAKY: Yeah there's a lot of ads.

MAKO: Yeah. There ya go.

SQEAKY: I suspect they're also getting money from something else but I have no way to prove it. Also people selling something. We mentioned uh...

MAKO: Alex Jones.


MAKO: He has his own store sells things.

SQEAKY: Yeah. Then uh when I added that neither of the two sources brought up but is just obvious to me: Is the place refuting trustworthy sources? If someone starts by saying the CDC is always wrong or Snopes is definitely wrong, your s- the the tweet you found pushing-

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: -vaccine autism nonsense, they started off with "Snopes is full of shit" or whatever they said.

MAKO: Something to that effect, yes.

SQEAKY: Sometimes this is true, sometimes people do get things wrong but the amount this happens... Well they're trusted sources because it doesn't happen often.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: And we mentioned our unimpeachable sources but we have fact checkers and these people do pretty good analysis most of the time even though they do occasionally introduce some bias. Groups like Politifact or Ad fontes media or Snopes- I guess actually Politifact and Snopes are used differently aren't they?

SOURCE [51:48] Politifact - https://www.politifact.com/

SOURCE [51:49] Ad fontes media, bias chart - https://adfontesmedia.com/

SOURCE [51:50] Snopes - https://www.snopes.com/

MAKO: A little bit.

SQEAKY: Yeah they'll make claims about what is true and what isn't but Ad fontes media has a bias chart where you can look up and see how biased a source is so you can take that into account.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: So if your possible source starts by refuting the mainstream it'd better come with good evidence and it'd better be citing evidence like scientific papers that say what it says or citing journalists actually revealing scoops or citing papers that definitely prove what they're claiming not just yelling about it.

MAKO: I- Like I've said before "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

SQEAKY: Yeah and a lot of people don't know how to evaluate evidence or want a narrative to be true and then they elevate evidence that agrees with their preconceived notions and ignore or devalue evidence that disagrees.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: And that's not even necessarily a bad place to be. If you've already vetted all the information coming in to you then you should refut- then you should be hard to convince out of that position. Like right now if somebody tried to explain to me that two plus two was five, even if I was wrong and it's not four I've learned it's four so many times and tested it for myself so many times that it would take a lot of evidence to convince me.

MAKO: Yeah you would have to start getting to the point where you're questioning "What do numbers mean?" in order to start breaking that down.

SQEAKY: Okay that wasn't a great example.

MAKO: That's really tough, like...

SQEAKY: Well if someone wanted to prove to me that Ivermectin did help with COVID, it's possible, somebody could convince me, but it would take pretty much a reversal of all the scientific papers we've seen so far. A whole bunch of scientists would have to come out and say 'Oh I fucked up my paper here's new papers'...

MAKO: Or the revealing of some caveat that was missed in some way. Maybe there's-

SQEAKY: Turns out it doesn't work on white people.

MAKO: Holy crap. That's a lot of racist studies.

SQEAKY: Yeah I just- I've- Well I just- White people are very common in the places where these studies all happened.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: It's a bunch of white- Ah god, not trying to get super racist here.

MAKO: But yeah, things like that. Some caveat like 'cause I don't think we really looked into a breakdown by race in these studies have we?

SQEAKY: Let me try to pull back a little bit on the race.

MAKO: Sure sure sure.

SQEAKY: Okay so a lot of times people investigating things do it on like a college campus when they're doing this type of scientific analysis and they get WIERD people. It's an acronym: White, Industrialized, Educated, Rich, and from a Developed nation.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: And that's just on the world scale, right. It doesn't mean that they're individually rich it just means they're from something like that middle class 'cause if you're- Let's say you're at UNO, the University of Nebraska at Omaha and you're studying something. You're gonna walk outside and be like 'I'm gonna give five dollars to every student who participates in this study now' and you're gonna get people from Omaha, Nebraska which is ninety percent white and then you're just gonna get the ones at UNO campus just that were there that day and it's like ninety-seven percent white people there and you're gonna get a bunch of white people and you might see that the one black guy got better when you gave him Ivermectin but that's not enough to be a statistical sample-

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: -and boom, you've been fooled and you didn't intentionally deploy racism.

MAKO: So if there's a caveat like that, that would be one way that you could not necessarily invalidate the other information but you're establishing more context for the other information.

SQEAKY: Yeah. And that could, shortcutting all of that-

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: You could change my mind about Ivermectin helping with COVID if you brought sufficient evidence or sufficient context or sufficient explanations and that's one hypothetical one. But that just isn't how most people arguing against big mainstream sources do it.

MAKO: No. They're just like oh that person lied or oh this is fake news. They're leaning on confirmation bias in other people pretty hard.

SQEAKY: Like what we're doing with Fox News, we're not just saying Fox News is liars, we're saying Fox News is liars and here's photos proving it.

MAKO: This is where they lied.

SQEAKY: Yeah. We're showing specific lies and we'll have that in our sources. Zecharia Sitchin, we have an episode about his lies.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: Anyway. The last thing on the checklist is whether or not you can corroborate the information. Right can you go and take that claim to Google or DuckDuckGo and can you find other things that say that?

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Like in this example, with the COVID Ivermectin thing. Can you Google it and go see what's going on or back to Gateway Pundit, can you take the headline "“Ha Ha Ha” Biden Laughs When Confronted on Kamala Harris’ Claims He Didn’t See Delta or Omicron Coming", if you take that and go to Google and you find a whole video and you realize it's been taken out of context or you can't find anything about it, maybe The Gateway Pundit's full of shit. Let's do it.

*Sqeaky types*

SQEAKY: Oh great. We got almost the exact same article from us.com.

*ABC News video plays from us.com in the background*

SQEAKY: Oh they didn't jump to the middle of the episode they jumped to- they started at the beginning so they're less good at it than the other people are but literally the exact same headline. Wow.

MAKO: That makes me wonder if they're somehow monitarely associated with one another.

SQEAKY: Informedusatoday. Exact same headline. Wow. freedomrockradio.co, exact same headline. This is... this is uncanny. Why do all of these places have the exact same headline for these different things?

BULLSHIT SOURCE [56:44] Clearly the same source made this as the gateway pundit, not corroboration - https://informedusatoday.com/2021/12/23/ha-ha-ha-biden-laughs-when-confronted-on-kamala-harris-claims-he-didnt-see-delta-or-omicron-coming-video/

BULLSHIT SOURCE [56:44] Clearly the same source made this as the gateway pundit, not corroboration - https://freedomrockradio.co/news/ha-ha-ha-biden-laughs-when-confronted-on-kamala-harris-claims-he-didnt-see-delta-or-omicron-coming-video/

BULLSHIT SOURCE [56:44] Clearly the same source made this as the gateway pundit, not corroboration - https://daddyofincome.com/index.php/2021/12/23/ha-ha-ha-biden-laughs-when-confronted-on-kamala-harris-claims-he-didnt-see-delta-or-omicron-coming-video/

BULLSHIT SOURCE [56:44] Clearly the same source made this as the gateway pundit, not corroboration - https://revivalnewstoday.com/ha-ha-ha-biden-laughs-when-confronted-on-kamala-harris-claims-he-didnt-see-delta-or-omicron-coming-video/

MAKO: It is a... If I had to guess it's because it's a web ring that was specifically constructed to give the appearance of legitimacy.

SQEAKY: That's entirely possible like I described earlier with the WordPress thing except instead of using a blogging service it wouldn't be hard to automate this.

MAKO: No it wouldn't.

SQEAKY: Literally the exact same title.

MAKO: These are pretty low effort articles.

SQEAKY: Yeah. Daddyofincome.com. Okay I'll include all these sources but they all use exactly the same Biden pic where they've like run him through filters make him look like he's got tons of plastic surgery, they all link to the exact same video from this tweet, the articles themselves are all very similar in structure, they're not all exactly the same but they're very similar. Yeah this is ridiculous. There's no way these weren't- Even if they weren't written by the same person there's no way they're not copying and pasting from each other. This is ridiculous. So... Okay. How do we determine the difference between corroboration and copy pasting?

MAKO: Well...

SQEAKY: 'Cause that that is really important here.

MAKO: That is a- From our perspective anyway, it is a subtle distinction. You kinda have to establish some kind of connection between the different sources.

SQEAKY: Well when I Google thing like uh how effective the vaccine is, I see that as corroboration because often the different places I go will cite different information, right?

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Some will cite the CDC, some will cite the European version of the CDC or the NIH, the group from the UK, some will cite independent- or either independent companies that ran experiments or independent schools that ran experiments, and there's lots of different sources saying the vaccine worked the same way. All of these guys go to the exact same video and make the exact same claim.

MAKO: With the exact same headline.

SQEAKY: Yeah if-

MAKO: So that much copypasta- That's why I was saying that they're almost certainly-

SQEAKY: Yeah I wouldn't expect exact copy pastes if it were confirmation, I would expect people wanting to try and stand out and make their own editorial difference. Let's go ahead and do a search for that.

*Sqeaky types*

SQEAKY: I'm just gonna search for vaccine effectiveness, I'm gonna click on the News tab, and we're gonna get tons of different headlines. "Unrelated vaccines could also help reduce burden of COVID-19 study shows", "Declining effectiveness of..." some very specific vaccine, "Pfizer Omicron COVID-19 Vaccine Human Trials", yeah and if I take any of these, let me take this- This one article says "COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for children three CDC study says." I'm gonna take that, I'ma drop it in the search engine, and I'm not gonna get articles that are the exact same title. Yeah, I've got three studies saying COVID vaccines are safe and effective in kids. Different title, doing different things, it's clearly got a different author, but they're still citing the CDC. But the CDC's also citing three different studies, it's like yeah it's a subtle distinction but how do we discuss this distinction more clearly?

SOURCE [59:16] Example Article for Corroboration - https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Wellness/covid-19-vaccines-safe-effective-children-cdc-studies/story?id=82002713

SOURCE [59:16] Another Article for Corroboration - https://kstp.com/coronavirus/3-cdc-studies-say-covid-vaccines-are-safe-effective-in-kids/6345896/

MAKO: I don't- The- I don't know if we wanna go like super deep-diving into all of this but I mean the quick easy way in this particular case is the amount of copypasta as you already established.

SQEAKY: Yeah that was kind of ridiculous. Okay.

MAKO: That is one big tell for that type of stuff or like it's not always necessarily copypasta it could be use of very specific language that might seem a little out of place.

SQEAKY: Like if we're discussing illegal immigrants and they keep saying y'know some specific racial slur or they keep calling them all- or they keep referring to MS13 or something.

MAKO: Yeah. Trying to say specific things about them and yeah. So if that kind of language keeps on happening over and over and in the same way there is something to be said for things that kind of just catch on and become somewhat cultural within a particular subgroup but not always.

SQEAKY: Like I'll absolutely believe that "Let's go Brandon" is popular for a lot of different people even though it's the exact same words but it's because I've seen it in different contexts, I've seen different videos, I've seen clearly different people saying it, clearly there is some "Let's go Brandon" sentiment in the populous. Like just being right-leaning does not automatically make it copypasta. There's real people who really hate Joe Biden out there and the "Let's go Brandon" meme shows that and that's- Am I effectively using your point? I don't know if I'm effectively leaning into that.

MAKO: I'm actually not familiar with the "Let's go Brandon" thing.

SQEAKY: Really?

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Wow! Okay. You're one in 10,000 today, congratulations. A news reporter or a sports correspondent was at a... I think a NASCAR race or something like that and there was a driver Brandon something or other, and he was doing okay and this news reporter was interviewing someone and the crowd started chanting "Fuck Joe Biden" and to cover it she said 'Oh listen to the crowd chanting "Let's Go Brandon"' she was really clever and smart in the moment to cover that and- 'cause you can't bleep out y'know the crowd chanting right you're just gonna cut out every four seconds in the interview or something, right?

MAKO: Yeah. That was interesting.

SQEAKY: It was halfway plausible. But then the conservative crowd kind of ran with it and every time they say "Let's Go Brandon" they mean "Fuck Joe Biden" and they've taken this childish thing and they've started saying- It even happened in our Discord somebody "Let's Go Brandon" and we're like c'mon dude don't that and they backed off but when a conservative person says "Let's Go Brandon" they mean "Fuck Joe Biden" and somebody even called into a... some event that Joe Biden was hosting and speaking on and he said "Let's Go Brandon" right to Joe Biden's face and it made national news.

MAKO: Okay.

SQEAKY: Yeah so it's kind of a big deal. There's like t-shirts and shit for it and it's childish and stupid but it's real, it's what we have to deal with.

MAKO: I don't know. Just sounds like more conservative childish behavior. There's no shortage of that.

SQEAKY: No, no there isn't.

*Sqeaky sighs*

MAKO: But yeah, I mean I guess yeah that is one example of a common recurring language but-


MAKO: -that's a cultural one, that's like a proper cultural one. So that's the type of thing that you might expect in a number of conservative places but I'm trying to think of something that's a bit more specific that-

SQEAKY: What about a ton of news articles recently using the word bizarre.

MAKO: Bizarre.

SQEAKY: Have you seen that?

MAKO: I don't know. I think maybe something a little more specific. Well it's still not great but I remember when "Womp Womp" was first used.

SQEAKY: That's a great one. Yeah.

MAKO: There was a bunch of news articles that kept on using "Womp Womp" and every single one of them had a conservative slant.

SQEAKY: That's 'cause Melania started it, right?


SQEAKY: Somebody was like "Doesn't that mean little kids are gonna die?" and she was just like "Womp womp".

MAKO: That was a uh... Like a talk show host on one of the like-

SQEAKY: Was it?

MAKO: -Fox and Friends I think? I'm not entirely sure. Yeah, they started it I think. But either way, that's more dumb childish conservative bullshit but yeah a bunch of places ran with it and even that I would argue is still- as shitty as it is it's still cultural so it's still not the best example.

SQEAKY: I will agree that that is real American culture. Saying "womp womp" when you hear other people are suffering. Womp womp. Where did that sound effect even come from? Was that like a sad trombone? What the fuck is that?

MAKO: From what I remember it's just person outright said "womp womp". There wasn't even a sound effect.

SQEAKY: Yeah but they're making fun of the sound effect?

MAKO: I guess? Maybe? I don't know.

SQEAKY: Doesn't make any sense otherwise if there's no pre-existing context.

MAKO: Doesn't make any sense period.

SQEAKY: I'll see if I can find a more original womp womp sound effect without political baggage.

SOURCE [1:03:52] Womp Womp is originally a sad trombone - https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/womp-womp

MAKO: Good luck. But, yeah, like I'm trying to think of more specific examples but I just can't really think of one. There are more specific examples, people using specific language, or- Okay, actually, something that's not necessarily cultural although it kind of is, it's kinda straddling that line but definitely is very specific language, very sensationalist in one particular direction is any time people refer to BLM as rioters. It's just a foregone conclusion, you don't even say BLM except maybe once at the beginning or maybe in the headline but then from thereon out you just "the rioters".

SQEAKY: I see what you're saying. It's charged language, yeah.

MAKO: Yeah. And it's- It doesn't have to be charged but it often is. I don't know. I still don't feel like I'm quite making it-


MAKO: Like I need a concrete example and I just don't have one right now.

SQEAKY: Like when we talk about anti vaxxers, right, we lump them right in with conspiracy theorists and so do a lot of other skeptical groups.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: 'Cause they are. They are a kind of conspiracy theorist and they would really hate being lumped in like that because they think they're real and accurate and if you see that kind of language where we're tying them together like that, right, we don't view that as politically charged or charged in any sensationalist way but they absolutely hate it because it really damages their credibility 'cause it should 'cause they shouldn't have credibility.

MAKO: That is the goal we're going for.

SQEAKY: Yeah. But that- there's another example of that language tie-in. We should probably zoom back out and do a summary of our categories and and then we have the things that can tell you if a news source, what category it might come in.

MAKO: Okay the categories.

SQEAKY: Yeah we- I think we need to go over 'em both.

MAKO: The unimpeachable sources, sources that try to stay as close to fact-based reporting as realistically possible. Sources that add analysis making the information more digestible but in the process introduce some bias, news source with more analysis that deliberately insert bias into their claims so there's gonna be more bias, more analysis, more errors as a result of all of this, sources that intentionally lie or are involved in stories without disclosing their involvement and that is largely where Fox News is-

*Sqeaky makes a noise*

MAKO: Fuck Fox News. And then sources that are just completely and utter fabrications, right. From the ground up they are lying, they are saying whatever it suits them whether it's based in reality to any extent or not just for the sake sensational clicks.


MAKO: And engagement.

SQEAKY: So do you think there's any more nuance needed for those like ways to like approach what a source- like how highly regarded a source should be? Or is that just a good way to think about it most the time?

MAKO: Well for things like this when you're talking about categories you-

SQEAKY: Gotta keep it trim.

MAKO: Somewhat. I mean you can make subcategories and subcategories like the the depth is where the nuance comes in not from the-

SQEAKY: Breadth?

MAKO: Yeah, the breadth.

SQEAKY: Okay, I follow.

MAKO: And I think this is an appropriate high-level breadth.

SQEAKY: Okay. And then our quick checklist of red flags.

MAKO: Oh yeah. So checklist of things- of ways to spot misinformation sources.

SQEAKY: And these aren't a hundred percent but if something hits a lot of these red flags...

MAKO: Yeah yeah yeah. It's like you're taking in in aggregate the full list. If it hits most of them then you might have a misinformation source but if it checks only one or two you're probably fine. Probably. This is all again, as we keep on saying for a lot of things it's all just statistical, we can't say anything firm so does it evoke anger or disgust?

SQEAKY: So is it Joe Rogan? Okay.

*Mako laughs*

MAKO: Are you saying you're disgusted by just Joe Rogan existing? Or y'know the content of his show. Or both?

SQEAKY: I mean he's a podcaster for a reason.

*Sqeaky exhales*

MAKO: Damn.

*Sqeaky laughs*

MAKO: That's uh...

SQEAKY: He's not that ugly actually but it's probably better that he podcasts.

MAKO: Wow. Alright.

SQEAKY: He got his TV days out of him for the best.

MAKO: Sure. Does it make you feel good? Like only one percent are smart enough to solves this. Does it make you feel more emboldened and smarter than you are accustomed to feeling? I'm not gonna say than you are 'cause I'm not gonna make comments about everybody's intelligence but like even smart people can sometimes feel like oh man I'm so dumb and then feel better about conquering something. I don't know.

SQEAKY: I follow, I follow. I'm struggling to come up with a good example there. Does it confirm something you already believed?

MAKO: Confirmation bias is a hell of a drug.


MAKO: Does it look too good to be true?

SQEAKY: Does it sell- Yeah. Like is it selling you something super cheap that's way too good? Like here's a... Here's a version of the exact same product but for half the price and ships overnight for free.

MAKO: Uh does it contain bad writing?

SQEAKY: Yeah. There's lots of reasons that bad grammar and misinformation are correlated and lots of reasons that accuracy and good writing are correlated.

MAKO: Yeah a lot of the times it's just people trying to shovel information out there as quickly as they can, they don't care about the processes to clean it up and that's assuming that the language that they are publishing in is even their native language.

SQEAKY: Yeah. Does it cite sources? Some... Some sites do and they do a good job of it, some don't at all, and some will cite sources and then make contrary claims relying on headlines or they're bullshit. Is the information your source giving you reliable or unreliable? Like if it's just a meme, right, doesn't cost anything to make a meme, that's a lot less reliable than a peer-reviewed scientific paper.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Did your uncle Jim who always sends you conspiracy theories send you this on Facebook?

MAKO: Memes are not valid sources, people.

SQEAKY: Conspiracy theorists are not valid sources. Both of these are super important to say.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: And I got- Ah god. That's how I got corrected on the... on our Discord when I cited a meme that I mostly agreed with without checking it first. Yeah.

*Sqeaky sighs*

MAKO: Okay. Is there motive?

SQEAKY: Yeah somebody selling something, is there some political motive...

MAKO: Some monetary gain even if it's just ad revenue. It- yeah. Is there a reason for somebody to be doing the thing that they're doing that...

SQEAKY: That might force bias on their part that an honest actor wouldn't want.

MAKO: Yeah. Do they refute trustworthy sources?

SQEAKY: Yeah. Like if they're disagreeing with the CDC, Politifact, Snopes, lots of scientific paper, right, you gotta question that. They need really good evidence to overcome that.

MAKO: Mhm. Can the information found on the misinformation source, can it be corroborated from other sources?

SQEAKY: Yeah. And we discussed the difference here between corroboration and copy pasting. You have to make sure that they're not all coming from the great source which can be hard.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: But yeah. Figure out if multiple sources can verify it or if it's just one source that's uh... everyone's referring back to, understand that and understand how many people would have to be lying or mistaken in order for this piece of information to be right or wrong.

MAKO: Yeah. Even if you find it in like fifty places if it's all traced back to one person.

SQEAKY: Yeah it's like the vaccine and autism thing was a few years ago. It all came back to the Wakefield paper which was retracted.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Yeah. Tons of people were saying it. Books were saying it. But it was just him. Well that's kind of a high point to end it on, that the vaccine autism thing is largely off the internet.

MAKO: Yeah. It was surprising to both of us.

SQEAKY: It took us more than five minutes to find something. Yeah, that was really good. I like it.

MAKO: Yeah.

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: So I see you have a source that says the CDC guidance may be too short. What are your thoughts?

MAKO: That's your source.

SQEAKY: That one's mine?

MAKO: I didn't put it there.

SQEAKY: Okay. Oh yeah okay. Let me start this again.

*Guitar riff*

OUTRO [1:11:08]

MAKO: Thanks to Qeldaar for video and graphics work and thanks to AlphaWolf294 for transcription.

SQEAKY: Thanks to all of our Patreon supporters. Our supporters at the Evidence Investigator level or higher include Jarod, DuktTape, Qeldaar, and Steven Larabee.

MAKO: Thanks for listening and don't forget to like, subscribe, leave a review, or tell a friend.

SQEAKY: If you aren't sure where to do those things we have a subreddit, r/dysevidentia, you can tweet at us @dysevidentia, you can chat with on our Discord or you can watch our videos on our YouTube. You can email us at contact@dysevidentia.com, support us financially at patreon.com/dysevidentia, and read the show notes, transcripts, and listen on dysevidentia.com.

MAKO: Copyright 2021, BlackTopp Studios, Inc.

SQEAKY: Intro music was Slow by Pit X, used with permission. We should probably thank Shady URL.

MAKO: Shady URL is something special.

SQEAKY: Yeah they really helped with the uh the sponsor spot and they didn't even know it.

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