Did 4Chan Just Pull Off the Biggest Trolling Job in History?
Have we just witnessed the biggest trolling job ever? 4chan says so. The completely unsubstantiated (and quickly collapsing) 35-page report on a supposed years-long Machiavellian scheme by the Russians to blackmail Donald Trump published by Buzzfeed on Tuesday, and pushed hard by CNN, includes an incredible account of Trump having paid a bunch of Russian prostitutes to urinate all over a bed President Barack Obama slept in. A 4chan /pol/forum is now claiming that that particularly preposterous story was in fact a work of "fanfiction" by one of the forum members.
The lengthy Trump dossier published by Buzzfeed was reportedly created by a single British intelligence source as oppo-research for Trump's establishment enemies. "The smears boil down to the seemingly ludicrous claim that, going back five years, the Russians have been working a Machiavellian plot to make Trump their puppet president," explains the Daily Wire's John Nolte. "Along the way, in order to control him, the Russians have gathered embarrassing information about the President-elect. Moreover, throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump operatives are said to have met secretly with the Russians to plot, scheme, and twist mustaches."
One of the most lurid accounts in the dossier concerns a supposed "golden showers" incident in a Russian hotel suite. As the Daily Beast highlights, users on the subreddit r/The_Donald and 4chan’s /pol/ forum have been congratulating themselves since the "fake news" story broke:
>/pol/acks mailed fanfiction to anti-trump pundit Rick Wilson about trump making people piss on a bed obama slept in
>he thought it was real and gave it to the CIA
>the central intelligence agency of the united states of america put this in their official classified intelligence report on russian involvement in the election
>donald trump and obama have both read this pol/acks fanfiction
>the cia has concluded that the russian plans to blackmail trump with this story we made up
just let that sink in what we have become.
"So they took what I told [NeverTrumper] Rick Wilson and added a Russian spy angle to it," an anonymous Nov. 1 4chan post reads. "They still believe it. Guys, they’re truly fucking desperate—there’s no remaining Trump scandal that’s credible."
That post, claim the reddit and 4chan users, is evidence that the story was a "fanfiction" plant that eventually was bought by the CIA.As Town Hall's Christine Roussell notes, if the 4chan and reddit claims are true, "this effectively means that 4chan trolled the U.S. intelligence system and the majority of the U.S. media with what's basically Donald Trump erotic fanfiction, which is terrifying."
However, as the Daily Beast highlights, like the anti-Trump dossier, the 4chan claims are very "thin":
There are no details in the post, which is archived here, about what was allegedly told to Wilson—simply that the user purportedly gave him fake information. It also doesn’t explain how this would have gotten to intelligence agencies.
Wilson’s access to a shocking Donald Trump story had been flaunted by himself and others many weeks before the 4chan post. Wilson himself had been publicly pronouncing that a bombshell involving Trump was set for imminent release a month before the election, even going so far as to say that it could end the race.
The report made public on Tuesday, which was shared privately with both Trump and President Obama, was not a well-kept secret in media and political circles in the run-up to the election, making it possible to leak to 4chan, where users post anonymously.
Wilson dismissed all of r/The_Donald and 4chan’s claims in a tweet on Tuesday night. “You’re wrong if you believe 1. What we had came from /pol 2. That I was Buzzfeed’s source. Try again, boys,” he wrote.
“The information was out there looooong before the 4chan posts,” he replied to another user.
Reached by phone earlier in the evening, Wilson told The Daily Beast that the Russian allegations were “making the rounds before anyone talked about it publicly.” He said that they were being discussed as early as a year and a half ago.
“Trump always knew it was out there,” Wilson said. “He thought he could bullshit his way through it.
“This stuff is real and it’s bad. It’s going to be something that weighs on him,” he added.
If Wilson's claims are true, the 4chan celebrations are just more trolling, which would fall in line with their standard mode of operation.
Trump responded to the Buzzfeed and CNN reports on Twitter Tuesday by slamming the outlets for promoting "FAKE NEWS."
"FAKE NEWS—A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!" he wrote.
As Nolte highlights, information in the scandalous dossier is not just unsubstantiated, one key fact has already been proven to be false. Trump's attorney Michael Cohen was not in Prague on the day specified in the report, a fact which was actually confirmed by a former Buzzfeed staffer, Rosie Gray:
One of the charges involves Trump attorney Michael Cohen. This unsubstantiated dossier claims that Cohen is supposed to have been Trump's primary contact with the Russians. More specifically, the document claims Cohen met with Putin operatives in Prague on a specific date in August. Rosie Gray (a former BuzzFeed staffer who recently resigned -- along with a number of others) reports in the Atlantic that, during the date in question, a source confirmed Cohen was with his son at USC in Los Angeles.
Cohen told Gray in no uncertain terms that the CNN/BuzzFeed smear is "fake news" and added, “I’m telling you emphatically that I’ve not been to Prague, I’ve never been to [The] Czech [Republic], I’ve not been to Russia. The story is completely inaccurate, it is fake news meant to malign Mr. Trump.”
This article has been edited for clarity and emphasis.