The Feds Versus 8chan

A search warrant was issued for the notoriously vile anonymous imageboard

The Feds Versus 8chan

Thanks for the recommendations on stuff to eat in Boston. I’m gonna roll over and explode after I finish writing this one. Dumpling House rules.

In this week’s episode of the podcast, we’re talking to Caleb Cain, who was featured in The New York Times last week. His story is one I first noticed months ago, when he uploaded a video to YouTube detailing his journey in and out of the alt-right on YouTube. We have a quick bonus segment of our time talking with him available for paid subscribers on, here on Substack.

We’re also joined by AdWeek reporter Shoshana Wodinsky (with a cameo from her cat!), who found a search warrant the FBI issued against 8chan. We’ll talk about what that means for the site and how the users in the cesspool have reacted.

Give the episode a listen, and if you have questions or comments, phone our call-in voicemail inbox. We’d love to hear from you: 202-630-0580.

If You Say It’s a Fact, You Better Be Damn Sure.

I published a piece in Columbia Journalism Review last week that detailed the negligence of right-wing outlets in failing to verify a “study” that had very serious implications for the journalists named. There was little evidence anyone had tried to meaningfully fact-check the piece, and the allegations made citing the data—if that data were even worth treating as legitimate—were not supported by the presented information. The author was a well-established troll that ran alongside white supremacist Twitter posters who engineered a death threat campaign against journalists last year, and the list of people he implicated inspired the creation of a YouTube video depicting a Nazi kill list.

This would be deeply embarrassing for any normal outlet or reporter, but instead it is the hill these outlets have decided to die on. A credible outlet would issue a correction or update, and perhaps give offline apologies to the journalists they attacked with this not-so-credible information. But these are not outlets that are interested in reality. Instead, they’re seeking to reject our shared reality and substitute it with their own (and try to make a few bucks from rich donors and gullible internet users while doing it).

For my reporting, my credibility and ethical adherence was attacked. I wasn’t worried because I knew I had the story down completely. I am not coy about sharing my opinions, but reporting is reporting and I know the difference. The primary charge was that I didn’t print the lies the author told me, which as a journalist was exactly my job not to do. As the days went on, I was further proven to be correct; tonight I’m sleeping easy.

CJR: Right-wing publications launder an anti-journalist smear campaign

Unfortunately, the internet is a place where we have to question the authenticity of everything we see. In this instance, what we saw was a Twitter thread by someone who has almost certainly by now thrown into question any chance at a legitimate academic career he had left. It’s important, especially if we have loud voices and big platforms, to scrutinize what we see online before we share it. For members of the press, our shared responsibility is a requirement.

“Don’t believe everything you see online,” our parents—who now consume laughably false information online at a speed only rivaled by Hunter S. Thompson’s drug use—told us.

And they were right.

I'm gonna make damn sure

The Feds Versus 8Chan

AdWeek reporter Shoshana Wodinsky noticed a set of court filings last week that involve the notorious bastion of internet drivel and violent rhetoric, 8chan. I have spent enough time on that website to have my skull totally melted, leaving only a rough caricature of a man behind. But even still, this was an unexpected twist, and the boards are in meltdown mode because of it.

In short, 8chan got a search warrant from the FBI in response to the white supremacist killings carried out by a young man in a California synagogue. The feds had evidence that the killer had been a browser of 8chan, and they’re scrubbing his social media hard as part of their investigation. The state argues that there could be legal reasoning to obtain the IP addresses of all related users in their investigation, which could help them identify the people they’re interested in and provide more information about the inspiration for his violent actions.

As Robert Evans notes, there’s already a backup plan to bail on the board should 8chan be compromised .

The 8chan community doesn’t seem to understand what they’re looking at (what a shocker) but as the reporter who found the docs points out, they definitely deserve to feel uncomfortable.

And I know it's no fun when your first son,
Gets up to no good,
Starts freaking out the neighborhood

Give Me That Good Stuff

The Horny Reply Watch Goose has found our old friend Cool Cat.

Connor went to go visit the Wilco album.

An oldie, but I found it again this week and it’s a goodie.