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Worse than Wrong: A Voice for Men resorts to phony screenshot and outright lying to avoid admitting embarrassing error [CORRECTED]

liar

CORRECTION: New evidence suggests that the screenshot discussed in this post and elsewhere was not a forgery but the result of a glitch. I offer a correction, and an apology, and a discussion of the implications, here. I have left the text of this piece as is.

When reputable publications, online or off, make a mistake, the editors grit their teeth, swallow their embarrassment, and run a correction. [EDIT: I’ve even got a little one at the end of this post!]

Men’s Rights hate hub A Voice for Men has somewhat more lax standards than reputable publications, or even not-so-reputable publications, and generally prefers to deal with its errors by pretending they never happened. But sometimes the errors are so obvious, even to their own somewhat credulous readers, that they have to acknowledge them in some form.

In the case of one egregious recent error AVFM has tried something a bit more audacious: resorting to a phony screenshot and outright lies in an attempt to prove that they were right all along.

Sorry, dudes, but you’re not going to get away with it. You guys are so grossly incompetent you can’t even lie convincingly.

You may recall the post I ran the other day about A Voice for Men’s bizarre claim that search engines were somehow hiding articles and resources related to violence against men from intrepid web searchers? Indeed, the post in question on AVFM asked readers to

try typing into a search engine the phrase “violence against men.” You will get scores of pages linking to articles and information regarding violence against women.

As I pointed out, and as everyone else who tried this experiment noticed as well, this is not actually true: typing in the phrase “violence against men” into Google or Bing gets you lots of links related to …. violence against men. A few intrepid Googlers even pointed this out in the comments on AVFM.

So what has AVFM done? Well, here’s how Dean Esmay, AVFM’s so-called “managing editor” Dean Esmay responded in the comments to one reader suggesting that a correction might be in order.

deanesmay

Did you follow any of that? I had to read it several times, but Esmay seems to be suggesting that someone at Google read the post on AVFM and adjusted Google’s search algorothim so that searches for information on “violence against men” would in fact return information on “violence against men.”

In other words, AVFM didn’t make a mistake. It made the world a better place!

You should also note that Esmay’s confession that he had no screenshots to back up his claims.

By the time he got around to writing a little “Editorial Update,” however, he was a bit less tentative about tooting AVFM’s horn — and he also managed to somehow conjure up a screenshot that conveniently seemed to prove his point.

deanesmay2

There’s just one problem. The screenshot is an obvious fake. Here’s the link to it on AVFM’s server.

But I’m pasting it here as well.

Violence-Against-Men-Medium

Now, at first glance, this seems to prove his point. The searcher here seems to have searched for “violence against men” and gotten results dealing with “violence against women.”

But look again at the additional results listed at the bottom of the screenshot: “News for violence against,” and “Searches related to violence against.”

That was the actual search term used. “Violence against,” not “Violence against men.”

Had he really searched for “violence against men” the additional results at the bottom would be listed under the headings “News for violence against men,” and “Searches related to violence against men.” Test this for yourself if you want.

In other words, someone involved with AVFM — Esmay himself? — did a Google search for “violence against,” got the results, and then typed in the word “men” in the search box before taking a screenshot to make it look like the original search was for “violence against men.”

I just did my own search for “violence against” (without the word men, and without quotes) and these are the top results. Look familiar?

violence against - Google SearchCropped

Yeah, so familiar THAT EVEN THE TOP TWO NEWS STORIES THAT COME UP ARE THE SAME.

Here’s the top news story linked to in AVFM’s faked screenshot — and in the one I just made.

You’ll notice that it was posted on June 13th. That is, the day AFTER the AVFM story went up, not “before press,” as Esmay claims.

In other words, Dean Esmay (or whoever concocted this forgery and gave it to Esmay) didn’t make this screenshot before the AVFM story went up.

The AVFM forger did a search yesterday, using the search term “violence against,” then typed in the word “men” after getting the search results but before taking the screenshot, to make it look like he was searching for the term “violence against men.”

All so AVFM wouldn’t have to admit it had made a mistake, and acknowledge that Esmay, as “managing editor,” had fucked up royally by letting a story be published without doing even the most rudimentary bit of fact-checking of the story’s central premise.

Put a fork in it, A Voice for Men. Your credibility is done. Burned to a crisp.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, you can use the AVFM Google forgery technique here to make it look like searching for, say, “violence against marmosets who enjoy soup” returns a bunch of results about violence against women — just so long as you don’t pay attention to the highlighted words in the search results.

violencemaremosets

I mean, once you start blatantly forging evidence, you can pretty much “prove” anything your audience is gullible enough to believe.

Too bad for A Voice for Men that the rest of us aren’t quite so gullible.

EDITED TO ADD: This story just gets stranger and stranger. I’ve just checked the blog where the AVFM post originally ran. The author of that post — who calls himself funkymunkyluvn, and who has been identified on AVFM as both Jason Gregory and Jason Thompson —  has now completely rewritten his original post and changed his central claim to this one:

try typing into a search engine the phrase “violence against.” You will get scores of pages linking to articles and information regarding violence against women.

This claim, unlike his original one, is true. And this time he provides screenshots to prove it. Here’s one of them — click for a larger version. Look at the top ten results on the left. Do they look familiar to you?

violence-against-1-medium

Yep, right on down to that Guardian article.

Unfortunately, while correcting his original article — and happily not resorting to AVFM style screenshot fraud — Mr. MunkyLuvn/Gregory/Thompson/? has not acknowledged his original error. He’s essentially pretending that he never made his original mistake. Which isn’t going to work any better than AVFM’s forgery, as his original article is still available on AVFM, and (at least for now) in Google cache.

You’ve gotta fess up, dude. That’s how it’s done.

But at least I now have a reasonably convincing — to me — theory as to how the original mistake got made, and here it is: Mr. MunkyLuvn/Gregory/Thompson/? did a search for “violence against” and got results similar to what he got in the screenshot above. But perhaps he didn’t get around to writing his blog post right away, and by the time he wrote it, he unthinkingly and incorrectly added the word “men” when describing what he’d searched for. He never bothered to recheck, and no one at AVFM did either.

Now he’s trying to pretend he never made this mistake. That’s deceptive — but not as deceptive as actually forging evidence in an attempt to pretend you were never wrong.

EDIT AGAIN: Ok, this is just getting weirder. I assumed that AVFM was no longer referring to the author of the original post as Jason Gregory and was now referring to him as Jason Thompson. But that’s not true. They actually seem to be different people.  Jason Gregory’s profile links to his blog, and to AVFM’s Jason Gregory’s page, but it DOESN’T link to his “violence against men” post. Jason Thompson’s profile doesn’t link to that blog, but to this non-existent page instead, but the Jason Thompson author page DOES link to Jason Gregory’s “violence against men” post, now bylined “Jason Thompson.”

I actually think this is some sort of glitch and not anything devious, but jeez, guys, get your act together.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article, and its headline, referred to AVFM’s phony “screenshots,” plural. There was just the one.

See, corrections aren’t so hard!

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rutile
rutile
7 years ago

Wow, good catch! And thoroughly explained.

I have a fleeting knowledge of search engine optimization, and I do know that algorithms do change. These guys are ridiculous for assuming that Google would go in manually and fix this one setting. I don’t find that believable. But the icing on the cake is how you proved that they faked the screenshot. How pathetic must they be to fake that, rather than admit that they were wrong?

I could even give them a partial pass on the algorithms changing. They interpret that to mean that Google “fixed” it (intentionally, because it was soooooo important), which I disagree with, but that can be chalked up to a matter of opinion. But they want to change FACTS too, which is beyond the pale.

No honor, they have no honor!

inurashii
inurashii
7 years ago

What really blows my mind about this is how willing they are to let go of their initial premise.

The reason this search engine result would have been a big deal would be to highlight the lack of available resources for abused men. Even if this forged search were correct, it’d still be incorrect — the resources are out there and easy to find. This isn’t to say that there shouldn’t be more! There should!

But it really illustrates that these chucklefucks care more about being right than they do about helping men. Not that we needed further proof of that.

But seriously tho what about the marmosets

auggziliary
auggziliary
7 years ago

Not surprised at all. AVfM is so fucking stupid.

auggziliary
auggziliary
7 years ago

I really can’t wait to see their reaction to this though.

perry
perry
7 years ago

Wow. How insecure do you have to be to outright lie. And who is arrogant or delusional enough to think that Google would change their search results to appease AVFM?

auggziliary
auggziliary
7 years ago

If he did not forge it, then he needs to immediately apologize for it. Also for not getting decent evidence before he made this huge fucking claim, and making sure his evidence was correct.

auggziliary
auggziliary
7 years ago

I sometimes think what they say about feminists would be cool were it true. Like being in the matrix almost, and being able to control the entire media and only needing a day after his article to change all the google results.

Maude LL
Maude LL
7 years ago

One of the good ways to distinguish a ‘human rights movement’ from a ‘bullshit, uh, mo…vement’ is the amount of fake evidence of persecution. Someone may want to explain them the internet though. Not a series of tubes, people.

I bet no one will notice over there, as always, and they’ll go on believing they are fierce truth tellers.

Marmoset it.

Maude LL
Maude LL
7 years ago

The thing is, if he didn’t forge it personally, there should be a bare minimum of fact checking. But that would probably put AVfM out of business.

quantumscale
quantumscale
7 years ago

Seriously? Holy shit people, have some integrity.

auggziliary
auggziliary
7 years ago

Holy shit, what do the commenters say? Any MRA willing to admit that the writer made a mistake?

SandinaFem
SandinaFem
7 years ago

Dean is stubborn and doesn’t admit, if ever, his mistakes.

quantumscale
quantumscale
7 years ago

David, do you have the link? I’m still seeing the original.

auggziliary
auggziliary
7 years ago

That’s it. AVfM is 100% bullshit now. I had a little faith in maybe a one “moderate” that might be there, but holy shit, if this kind of stuff passes on that site then there is no hope.

cloudiah
7 years ago

Quantumscale, can you take a screenshot?

Good catch, David. Unfortunately, I doubt it will matter to any of them since as we know they don’t have any integrity to begin with.

anonymous
anonymous
7 years ago

lmao – david futrelle calling somebody out for lying. the comedy continues to write itself.

James
James
7 years ago

If it wasn’t for the news story (great catch, btw), Esmay could plausibly claim that the original blogger had supplied him with the screenshot, and he had simply failed to notice the obvious discrepancies.

The fact that this search was done after the original article was posted, however, pretty much confirms that it’s an intentional forgery. Probably by Esmay, but does it really matter? AVfM’s credibility is shot; from this point forward, all anyone needs to do is refer back to this post.

augochlorella
augochlorella
7 years ago

If you’re still seeing the original, you should screenshot it.

augochlorella
augochlorella
7 years ago

And ninja’d. That’s what I get for not refreshing.

Maude LL
Maude LL
7 years ago

When I searched “violence against,” the related searches, in order, went as follows:

Searches related to violence against

violence against children
violence against men
abuse state domestic violence resources
dating violence
violence against a woman
violence toward a woman

What? Violence against men is before violence against women! It must be because of AVfM’s amazing activism.

[TW – violence against LGBTQ]

Seriously, I guess the fact that their screenshot also suggested “violence against gays” as one of the top suggestions is because of the powerful gay lobby too. They try to stifle the intrepid activists interested in fighting violence against heteros! Because numbers don’t lie, there’s more violence against heteros. Gays have sent hetero men to war for decades while conveniently getting “discharged” for having the privilege of being gay. The hetero lobby’s weakness is proof of oppression. Mishetery!

I just pitched a new article for AVfM. For free.

Maude LL
Maude LL
7 years ago

@quantumscale

I think David is talking about the writer’s (Jason Thompson) personal blog.

The Enchanting Wizard of Rhythm
The Enchanting Wizard of Rhythm
7 years ago

What was the guy who did this forgery thinking as he came up with his oh-so-elaborate plan? If you have to try to fool people into your way of thinking, then maybe that way of thinking is kinda bogus? Although that tiny amount of insight would require a modicum of self-awareness, I suppose.

Looking forward to this reaction.

quantumscale
quantumscale
7 years ago

Oh ok. Interesting. I wonder how long AVfM’s version will stay up.

j
j
7 years ago

Ain’t no drama like privileged white man drama

j
j
7 years ago

@Auggz

Having faith in the (supposedly existing) moderate on AVFM is like having faith in the least racist person on Stormfront – doesn’t make anyone congregating there any less deranged and lonely.

j
j
7 years ago

Oh and I know its poor form to post so quickly anywhere but isn’t it cool how they have to forge their own oppression? They’re the SJWs of the extreme-right, except instead of telling you to check your cisspecies/non-otherkin/carnivore/non-pervert privilege, they call you a mangina and secretly blubber into their own neckbeards.

eseldbosustow
7 years ago

Excellent article! The lack of integrity with these people astounds me more and more as the days pass. I suppose it’s good that I can still be surprised.

cloudiah
7 years ago

The funny (to me) thing is that the original mistake wasn’t a big deal. Just acknowledge it, correct it, and move on. Don’t compound it by faking up a screenshot. Even worse, if you ARE going to lie, coordinate the lie with the other parties involved. It’s like they forgot to tell the original author of their plan to double down on the lie, and now he’s retracted his original claim leaving them out there looking like the dishonest asshats they are.

Bonelady
Bonelady
7 years ago

Nice forensic reconstruction of their forgery. The truth is not in them.

katz
7 years ago

J, I wouldn’t worry; several of us (myself included) have unlocked the “fill the sidebar” achievement.

Marie
Marie
7 years ago

As I pointed out, and as everyone else who tried this experiment noticed as well, this is not actually true: typing in the phrase “violence against men” into Google or Bing gets you lots of links related to …. violence against men.

Great Galaxies, you mean the feminists don’t control google? I am shocked, shocked I tell you 😛

cloudiah
7 years ago

I think I got really close once to filling the Recent Comments sidebar and then at the last minute pecunium snuck his way in there and ruined everything. [shakes fist at sky]

😀

Marie
Marie
7 years ago

So, does one have to hit all of the recent comments to get ‘fill the sidebar’ achievement? (what the name implies)

oh god I feel like I”m butting in today for no reason. /worry.

katz
7 years ago

Yuppers. I did it after Mr. Al asked what he could possibly do to make himself more attractive to women.

AK
AK
7 years ago

@cloudiah, that’s exactly what I thought too. If they’d just owned up, no one would care. It’s not like that would somehow disprove their entire argument or anything (I mean, there’s plenty of other evidence to do that). And every site out there makes mistakes or doesn’t do a thorough enough fact-checking from time to time. It happens, you correct it, you move on. NBD.

But instead they need to go into all these weird contortions to try to prove that they were actually right all along. Seems like there are better hills to die on, but I’m just a silly feminist, what do I know?

cloudiah
7 years ago

They’re also just really stupid when they lie, which is good because it makes it easier to catch. If you’re intentionally trying to deceive by altering the words in the search, why wouldn’t you also just take a screen shot that omits the “News for” and “Searches related to” section at the bottom? I probably shouldn’t give them tips at how to be better lying shitlords, because we know they read your blog obsessively. [waves @ lurking shitlords]

cloudiah
7 years ago

And Marie, you’re not butting in. We like having you here!

Aaliyah
7 years ago

Standing ovation for David. Holy shit that’s bad.

AK
AK
7 years ago

Off topic, but I had to share this…proof that cats really are pulling the strings at the highest levels of government. o_O
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/pentagon-top-west-point-oficial-misused-his-position-to-obtain-cat-care.php?ref=fpb

daintydougal
daintydougal
7 years ago

I think you’re all being too nice. It didn’t occur to me that it might be a genuine mistake. They were upset at how ‘violence against’ comes up with more examples of violence against women but that just isn’t juicy enough so someone decided to take it that one step further.
The desperation of a fake screenshot makes this even clearer – they’re trying to cover a lie with a lie, not a mistake with a lie.

Faint Praise
Faint Praise
7 years ago

Even if Esmay did not forge the screenshot, it might still be a job-disqualifying error. Letting the original mistake pass him by is embarrassing enough, but then when trying to reconcile that error (a moment when he should have been exceedingly careful and skeptical) he published an obviously forged screen shot. And want to gamble on how he handles the correction for that forgery…?

He’s either guilty or (arguably) incompetent for his job.

Faint Praise
Faint Praise
7 years ago

No mention of AVfM’s firebombing manifesto (which of course is still on its Activism page). Is that reference too tired now?

God's Fool
God's Fool
7 years ago

Anonymous, when has the owner of this site lied? Everyone seems a lot more honest here than at AVFM.

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