The Daily Beast Alt-Right Pepe Article Debunked, No Corrections Made
(Last Updated On: October 12, 2016)

After Hillary Clinton called out the Alt-Right and established that the fringe political sect was inexplicably linked to a decade old meme called “Pepe”, the Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi did an article with two individuals who claimed to have helped establish Pepe the Frog as a white supremacist representing Donald Trump and the Alt-Right. The only thing is… everything the duo told Nuzzi turned out to be a lie.

Nuzzi printed the article back on May 26th, 2016 on The Daily Beast. Jared T. Swift and Paul Town, two anonymous individuals who claimed to be white nationalists, fed Nuzzi a story about how they “seeded” Pepe into mainstream through mimetic distribution on chan boards. The idea was to get the wider public, the normies, to see a decade old meme as a white supremacist and a representation of Donald J. Trump.

Nuzzi writes from the perspective of someone conveying claims from anonymous individuals, but seems to keep the article straight-laced, as if what they’re saying is true even though the only thing she had to go on was their word. They mentioned meeting up with a group of other white nationalists in New York to discuss the importance of Pepe over drinks and that there was around 30 of them from an /r9k/ chan board. Jared T. Swift fed Nuzzi the line that he was a 19-year-old in school living somewhere along the West Coast.

According to a report by The Daily Caller… none of what the duo told Nuzzi was true.

How do we know it’s not true? Because the duo came forward to explain how they set it all up as an ultimate troll. Feeding Nuzzi lies, some getting more and more ridiculous, to see just how much of it would go to print on the national – no, scratch that – global stage.

According to Paul Town and Jared T. Swift (their online pseudonyms), there is no actual organized effort to “reclaim” Pepe for white nationalism. Town told the Daily Caller…

“There was no ‘plot’ to take a cartoon frog and make it a symbol of white supremacy,” […] “That’s absurd on the face of it.”

Swift followed up on Town’s comments, explaining that they were feeding Nuzzi a bucket of lies to see how far they could push the troll. It was all an attempt to see how much of a fool they could make out of a recognized journalist. Swift explained to the Daily Caller…

“Basically, I interspersed various nuggets of truth and exaggerated a lot of things, and sometimes outright lied — in the interest of making a journalist believe that online Trump supporters are largely a group of meme-jihadis who use a cartoon frog to push Nazi propaganda. Because this was funny to me,”

Swift’s most ridiculous quote – he explains to The Daily Caller – is the one that takes on an existential vibe of philosophical nonsense. According to Swift, he didn’t actually think the quote would make it to publication, but lo and behold, Nuzzi quoted Swift’s over-the-top reason as to why the white nationalists are trying to take control of Pepe. Nuzzi’s Daily Beast piece quotes Swift as saying…

“Most memes are ephemeral by nature, but Pepe is not,” @JaredTSwift told me. “He’s a reflection of our souls, to most of us. It’s disgusting to see people (‘normies,’ if you will) use him so trivially. He belongs to us. And we’ll make him toxic if we have to.”

According to The Daily Caller, Paul Town didn’t intend to push the limits like his fellow cohort in trolling, but instead fed Nuzzi just enough of a lie that sounded like an easy-to-quote truth.

At present, there has been no modifications to the original piece by Nuzzi on The Daily Beast. I even reached out to Nuzzi in an attempt to ask if there would be updates or corrections, but Nuzzi has not responded.

She did, however, respond to a piece by Jesse Singal, who did a piece over on New York Magazine, calling it a “good piece” [via KiA].

Ironically, the piece breaks down how Nuzzi was duped into writing an article based on lies. Of course, the only sliver of hope that Nuzzi has in retaining some ounce of credibility is that even The Daily Caller noted that both Paul Town and Jared T. Swift could have been trolling them and running a long con. Trolling ’till they die.

The only real truth of the matter is that journalists are so quick to push out a story that fact checking and verification are thrown out the window. Nuzzi never asked Paul Town about meeting any of the 30 people who had the meet-up over Pepe’s appropriation?  Nuzzi never asked to see the actual boards or archives to document if any of what they were saying was true? Nuzzi never questioned Swift about his parents, what they thought about the whole thing? Was he even voting? What are the issues that Trump holds in which the nationalists stand so fervently behind Pepe in representing? Did they even say?

The piece on The Daily Beast has little to do with the actual election, nothing to do with actual issues facing the country, and doesn’t even discuss what exactly makes Pepe a good nationalist icon. Instead, the article appears to have everything to do with misdirection and propaganda.

While people can rag on #GamerGate all they want about many of the lies being pushed by outlets like The Daily Beast — which previously claimed that #GamerGate was a harassment campaign (for which no evidence has surfaced over the past two years indicating it as such) — the core tenets of the movement relating to poor journalistic standards have echoed louder during this current election than anytime during the height of #GamerGate’s efforts.

Journalists willing to publish such easily refutable propaganda should be wary of their futures, lest they end up like Gawker or the Daily Dot.

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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • kalil6

    “There was no ‘plot’ to take a cartoon frog and make it a symbol of white supremacy,”
    >journalist write an article saying that pepe was never a withe supremacy symbol.
    >media outlet makes him delete his article and apologize for wrtiting it.
    >and then proceed call pepe white supremacy symbol becuase in one of the image he is dressed as nazy (pepe has been used over a 1000 different scenarious throught the years) and only present that as proof

    yeah… i smell bullshit.

  • Alistair

    The history of UK telly can be scary indeed i also forgot to mention 1 channel got blasted for sneaky showing a male erect Penis in the background of course think it was channel 4 that did it, it was about the censors history of UK film censors Richard E grant was at the pictures alone, his head away from big screen chatting to us the viewers.

    Since he was facing away from the screen he Couldn’t see it but we did a film was showing behind him a male with a erect Penis, it was channel 4 because it was on channel 4 write to reply, viewers wrote to channel 4 to complain.

    I remember it well. lol.

    But things are not the same now it only channel 4 and 5 to cause grief now.

  • anopolis

    I would say theres no such thing as journalists,..but because of right wingers (aka anyone who isn’t a left-wing regressive nut job) we have people who want the truth. Hell, i’m more journalist than those people…I’m so damned journalist it’s sick. I would say you’re a journalist Mr. Billy, but that wouldn’t be uniquely stupid, which is my thing. SOoooo you do you, I’ll be over here in the corner appreciating it whilst eating paste.

  • There is a reason that only 6% of the American public trust the mainstream media.

    In these last 2-3 years, mainstream media has completely spiralled down the toilet. As if they couldn’t sink any further.

    It’s the same in the UK as well. The BBC (British Brainwashing Corporation), ITV and Channel 4 are ultra left-wing extremists. Not to mention the shitty tabloid papers as well, except for perhaps the Daily Mail.

    I can’t remember when it was but I once saw the beginning of Panorama (a TV documentary which focuses on political issues on the BBC), and the woman who hosted it said the topic was tackling the issue of hate speech. I switched the TV off immediately.

    There has also been a few instances where on BBC3 (the SJW-feminist hipster channel) where they tried to portray mean Internet comments, trolling and porn as “harrassment towards women”.

    It’s a fucking disgrace because I am required to pay £145 a year for a TV License that feeds these BBC scumbags.

    • Alistair

      You can put channel 4 in the same basket as with BBC, and channel 5 with channel 4 are different then the mainstream BBC. channel 4 got some balls and always get it in the neck by these SJWs nut jobs.

      With its red triangle soft porn season, the red light zone, the sex guides, and latest naked attraction With full blown nudity.

      The no longer SJW mary Whitehouse was very critical about them way before the name SJWs was known.

      Before BBC went the full left she even went after the BBC for its plays 1 even had full nudity in the 70s but time pass on and today the BBC lost its soul a good example was the new Poldark in the original BBC series Poldark took advantage of her and “force” Himself on her unconsent. The new Poldark the two consented to have sex.

      The BBC Tv license needs to be scrapped, i dont watch much telly as im on my consoles or tablet etc. Because why that price for auntie beeb being a mouth piece for regression left.

  • C G Saturation

    In today’s echo chamber hugbox, all you need to do is make up some shit the media wants to hear, and they will run with it. Zero fact checking, zero research. Listen and believe.

    I’m sure they are waiting for someone to come forward with more juicy stories about Trump doing something evil. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, it’ll make global headlines and be trumpted by every news channel by the morrow.

    Speaking of Trump, I briefly skimmed some articles that said he trolled a bunch of reporters into covering top military endorsing him, when they expected footage regarding his comments on Obama’s birthplace (which they obviously wanted to use to ridicule Trump). One article seemed to suggest that when the media realized they’d been had, they threw a tantrum and destroyed footage. I didn’t read all the articles though, so I don’t know how true this is.

  • SR2K-21

    Keep trolling these sites reveal them as the fools they are then have a good laugh.

  • Mr.Towel

    Cosmic Irony: Nuzzy sounds like trollspeak for Nazi.

    If you think that’s gonna put any shame on them you better not hold your breath.

    The reason these fools are not doing proper fact-checking is because they just want anything that fits their narrative, the more of a wet dream the history looks to their own utopia, the more they’ll itch to publish it. With that level of delusion, what do you think they’ll do now? Admit their mistake and ask for forgiveness? Hah!

    They’ll either try to prove that many of the points made on the original article are somewhat true, so even the if it was all a lie, they’re plausible lies, so the article still stands through their ideological glasses. Or they’ll just keep quiet and let the Spiral of Silence kill the article altogether, so that no one remembers it anymore. these people have no empathy, let alone some form of ethical consciousness.

  • Alistair

    Hohohoho lol that 10 year old cartoon frog has bitten a Few regression lefts arses the way it be reported afterwards is a classic troll that fooled the media so basically what Nuzzi told its readers was lies.

    The frog is no mascot for whites males and she a fool for falling for it. It made her look like a tool. I can taste her salt tears from here.

  • scemar

    it’s all just so amusing and interesting to see the mainstream experts showing how smart and capable and professional they are, as they squirm and struggle while getting trolled so hard, in their best attempts to stay on top of the situation and understand it

    and sure they are getting clicks, but they’re also having their reputation utterly decimated even more than it already was possible

    the bottom line, from an outsider perspective, of many of those articles is one that gives them two options, and both of them would basically destroy their main goal, which is just to maintain a narrative

    either they actually manage to understand the people they are dealing with, and do an honest job of portraying them to the public, in which case they would basically acknowledge the concerns of the people their narrative so desperately attempts to push aside as a part of the bad crowd, they stop getting triggered so easily by the ironic hate speech and learn to live with it, which would mean giving up their outrage culture and tone policing, key elements of how they keep the narrative status quo

    or they remain oblivious to them, and carry on the current path, which has them forced into taking every bait and ignoring their contexts for the sake of tone policing and keeping the outrage culture alive, which is what has them looking like neurotic and petty fools

    it’ll be interesting to see if they can actually find an answer to the current situation

    if they ignore trolls, PC culture dies
    if they keep taking the baits, they’ll continue looking totally lame