Tucker Spreading Fake Doctored Russian Propaganda About Ukraine Losing? Would Fox News Even ALLOW That?

Yes, we know, Tucker Carlson has been playing his interview with Elon Musk the past two nights, and it has been overstuffed with loser divorced dad incel moments to make fun of, like when Elon got that look on his face that says “Is my hand in my pants right now?” while he talked about how abortion and birth control interfere with his weird breeding desires. Or when Elon said, “I’m very familiar with space and stuff.” We will make fun of those things very soon.

First we want to talk about another story related to Tucker and the Discord leaker and Russia’s war in Ukraine, where Tucker openly takes the side of the vile, genocidal, amoral aggressors. (Russia.)

Tucker has been lying and misleading his viewers about the latest accused leaker of classified information pretty much since the get-go, trying to turn the loser into some hero for the (Russian) cause of revealing the TRUTH about what’s going on in in Ukraine. (Not the truth.) He’s also been using facts and figures from the documents to convince his very idiot viewers that the presence of 14 US special forces attached to the embassy in Kyiv means Joe Biden has been lying and America is in a HOT WAR with Ukraine.

Tucker So Mad Nobody Talking About How Leaker Exposed Secret HOT WAR Between Russia And 14 US Troops

But, you see, certain things in those documents had themselves been altered while they were making the rounds on the dork nerd Discord/4Chan/Reddit internet. Certain things had been altered in a specifically Russian propaganda direction, to make it look like, for example, seven Ukrainians were dying for every Russian killed.

The Wall Street Journalreported this weekend on an American spreader of Russian propaganda named Sarah Bils, who ran and/or participated in a network of spreaders of Russian propaganda who posed as a Russian blogger named “Donbass Devushka.” (Translation: “Donbas Girl.” You’ll note that “Donbas” is the name of one of the regions in eastern Ukraine the Russians want to claim as their own and where at the beginning of the war they wanted the world to believe the people would greet them with flowers and blowjobs. It’s where Putin declared “independence” for the two republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, so that he might liberate them from their Ukrainian Nazi occupiers. “Donbass” is the Russian spelling.)

Bils is a former NCO from the US Navy, and the WSJ reports she was stationed at Whidbey Island in Washington state up until last year. Meanwhile, she’s doing this pro-Russian shit online. She says 15 people people all over the world control the “Donbass Devushka” account.

Indeed, it sounds like this account’s dissemination of some of the materials allegedly leaked by Jack Teixeira — shit that had been on the nerd internet for a while and hardly noticed — was what got the attention of Russian social media, which in turn got the attention of the Defense Department. Nobody cared about these documents until April 5, when this network of Russian propagandists that was actively supporting “our men on the front” — Russians — started putting them up on Telegram. Bils says she was not the member who posted this stuff, but rather that she took it down some days later.

But somewhere between Teixeira trying to impress his nerd friends on Discord by posting these documents and these Kremlin mouthpieces posting them on Telegram, some of the information on the documents got tweaked:

Some of the slides reposted on the Telegram account overseen by Ms. Bils had been altered from the otherwise identical photographs allegedly posted by Airman Teixeira on Discord—changed to inflate Ukrainian losses and play down Russian casualties. A subsequent post on the Donbass Devushka Telegram channel, on April 12, denied that the image had been doctored by the administrators.

“We would never edit content for our viewers,” the post said.

Take that as you will.

So that’s where the claim came from that SEVEN UKRAINIANS were dying for every Russian casualty. Have a heart, people! How could you want the Ukrainians to keep fighting if Russia is just massacring them? It’s not a fair fight! We should probably all get behind some kind of “peace plan” for Ukraine that involves giving Vladimir Putin as much of sovereign Ukraine as he wants while we all tongue all over Putin’s taint.

It’s the only humane solution, right?

Tucker Carlson sure thought so, when he started spreading the doctored Russian propaganda on Thursday night. Mediaite summarizes:

Malcontent News first reported on Sunday that Tucker Carlson used the “edited version” of the documents posted by Donbass Devushka’s Telegram channel to “claim Ukraine was suffering a 7-1 troop loss ratio and was ‘losing the war.’”

Indeed, last Thursday in an angry rant in which Carlson accused both President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin of committing “crimes” related to supporting Ukraine fend off the Russian invasion, Carlson cited that statistic.

“The second thing we learned from these slides is that despite direct U.S. involvement, Ukraine is in fact losing the war. Seven Ukrainians are being killed for every Russian. Ukrainian air defenses have been utterly degraded. Ukraine is losing. The Biden administration is perfectly aware of this,” Carlson declared. Carlson has long claimed Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine is going far better than the media has reported, all while remaining a fierce critic of Ukraine’s leadership.

Here is a tweet from an investigative journo about it:

And here is Rachel Maddow talking about Tucker:

Oh yes, weep for the poor Ukrainians, who are totally losing the war, for whom all hope is lost! Why would you force them to keep fighting like this if seven of them are dying for every Russian? Are you some kind of MONSTER?

Only Tucker Carlson and his ideological pals truly care about the plight of the desperate Ukrainians. And he read some stuff a fake Russian propaganda blogger posted that’s just really concerning him right now.

As far as what’s really going on in Ukraine, Cathy Young writes at The Bulwark that most of the people pushing the narrative that we really should be reeling over the information in these leaks are indeed propagandists for Russia, the Putin apologists who have a fundamental and sick need to believe Ukraine is losing.

But Young says even some more mainstream media is taking the bait, and should cut that shit out. She argues that from the perspectives of the Ukrainians and their supporters, the leaks “[contain] essentially nothing new, at least as far as the war in Ukraine is concerned.” She goes through all the things that are supposed to be sorts of shattering revelations and shows the receipts on how people have been talking about them for months.

And, she notes, the leaks contain a hell of a lot that’s embarrassing for Russia, stuff that’s clearly driving some of their propaganda-spreaders quite batshit. (She’s got the receipts on that too.)

So, you know, chill the fuck out.

Read the whole thing, as they say in internet circles.

And don’t listen to Tucker Carlson.

Y’all hear his employer is paying out $787.5 million to a voting machine company as a penalty for brazenly and knowing lying to its gullible idiot viewers about that company after the 2020 election? And that a lot of those lies came from his show?

And here we all thought they were so credible and above reproach.


Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter right here

And once that doesn’t exist, I’m also giving things a go at the Mastodon (@[email protected]) and at Post!

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The Download: risks to Reddit, and the potential return of the dodo

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.

How the Supreme Court ruling on Section 230 could end Reddit as we know it

When the Supreme Court hears a landmark case on Section 230 later in February, all eyes will be on the biggest players in tech—Meta, Google, Twitter, YouTube.

The case might have a range of outcomes. One of the potential consequences is that these companies may be forced to transform their approach to community content moderation.

Many sites rely on users for community moderation to edit, shape, remove, and promote other users’ content online—think Reddit’s upvote, or changes to a Wikipedia page. If those users were forced to take on legal risk every time they made a content decision, experts warn that it could have a catastrophic effect on online speech communities. Read the full story.

—Tate Ryan-Mosley

A de-extinction company is trying to resurrect the dodo

The news: The dodo bird was big, flightless, and pretty tasty, too—all of which help to explain why it went extinct around 1662. Now a US biotechnology company says it plans to bring the dodo back into existence.

Why a dodo? It’s the third species picked by Colossal Biosciences, of Austin, Texas, for what it calls a process of technological “de-extinction.” The company is also working on using large-scale genome engineering to morph modern elephants back into wooly mammoths and resurrect the Tasmanian tiger. 

How are they doing it? The company recovered detailed DNA information from 500-year-old dodo remains held at a museum in Denmark. It plans to try to modify the bird’s closest living relative, the Nicobar pigeon, turning it step by step into a dodo and possibly “re-wilding” the animal in its native habitat. The problem is that while it is easy to gene-edit bird cells in the lab, it’s hard to turn carefully edited cells back into a bird. Read the full story.

—Antonio Regalado

Who gets to be a tech entrepreneur in China?

We live in an age where the concept of being an entrepreneur is increasingly broad. It’s often hard to slot occupations—hosting a podcast, driving for Uber, even having an OnlyFans account—into the traditional definitions of employment vs. entrepreneurship.

Of course, this is not a strictly Western phenomenon; it’s happening all over the world. And in China, it’s also transforming how people work—but with the country’s own twists. 

Our China reporter Zeyi Yang has spoken with author Lin Zhang about her new book that explores the rise and social impact of Chinese people who have succeeded (at least temporarily) as entrepreneurs. Read the full story.

This story is from China Report, Zeyi’s weekly newsletter covering all the latest news from China. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Tuesday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 OpenAI has released a tool that detects AI-generated text
Unfortunately, it’s not very good. (WSJ $)
+ The tool returns a lot of both false positives and false negatives. (Axios)
+ It identified only 26% of AI-written text correctly. (Bloomberg $)
+ What the human brain can teach us about AI. (The Atlantic $)
+ Google is apparently testing its own ChatGPT rivals. (CNBC)
+ A watermark for chatbots can expose text written by an AI. (MIT Technology Review)

2 The US defense industry is struggling to arm Ukraine
Its supply chains are straining under the sheer demand for weapons. (FT $)
+ How Russia is sneakily bypassing oil sanctions. (Economist $)

3 Elon Musk’s Twitter feed is an echo chamber
Despite his insistence that the broader platform should be more open and diverse. (NYT $)
+ Twitter isn’t happy at the cost of private jets. (Bloomberg $)
+ We’re witnessing the brain death of Twitter. (MIT Technology Review)

4 A streamer was caught watching deepfake porn of his colleagues  
The non-consensual videos demonstrate the dangers of the technology. (Motherboard)
+ A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click. (MIT Technology Review)

5 Covid appears to be scrambling our immune systems
Even mild infections seem to disrupt our ability to fight off diseases. (Slate $)
+ How to work out how healthy your immune system is. (New Scientist $)

6 Tracking truckers hasn’t made long-haul driving safer
It has, however, ushered in a new era of surveillance. (New Yorker $)

7 What’s next for laid-off tech workers?
Their skills are highly prized—especially by businesses outside tech. (Vox)
+ Anonymous app Blind is the hottest place to search for work. (CNN)
+ The US is weaning itself off being a nation of workaholics. (The Atlantic $)

8 Assembling iPhones in Foxconn’s factory is a thankless task
It pays well, but the grueling working conditions challenge employees daily. (Rest of World)

9 Airport protocols are getting faster
E-gates and biometric passports are making it easier to speed through. (WP $)

10 It’s easier than ever to report a UFO sighting 🛸
Simply fire up Enigma Labs’ app. (Wired $)

Quote of the day

“As I kept looking, it was hard not to laugh out loud at the absurdity of those hands and teeth.”

—Programmer Miles Zimmerman recalls a nightmarish experiment with generative AI model Mindjourney, which created images of people with too many fingers and teeth, he tells BuzzFeed.

The big story

This $1.5 billion startup promised to deliver clean fuels as cheap as gas. Experts are deeply skeptical.

April 2022

Last summer, Rob McGinnis, the founder and chief executive of startup Prometheus Fuels, gathered investors and staged a theatrical demonstration of his technology. Prometheus promises to transform the global fuel sector by drawing greenhouse gas out of the air and converting it into carbon-neutral fuels that are as cheap as dirty, conventional ones.

But while investors have thrown money at the company, pushing it up to a valuation of more than $1.5 billion, there is little evidence it can actually live up to its lofty claims. Read the full story.

—James Temple

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. (Got any ideas? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ It’s fair to say that I didn’t see the twist in any of these agony aunt letters coming (thanks Jess!)
+ Some choices are too tough to contemplate, and this is one of them.
+ What can board games teach us? More than you might think, actually. 
+ Keep an eye out for the green comet passing close to Earth tonight—if you miss it, you’ll have to wait another 50,000 years.
+ A coffee date with these three angels is my idea of the perfect day.

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