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Real Raw News
Real Raw News relatively new website, frequently produces outlandish, fraudulent stories with titles designed to go viral.
Late in August, the Pentagon ordered that all members of the U.S. military receive the COVID-19 vaccines, and a story quickly went viral online, revealing the fierce opposition among the troops.
On September 1, an article with the headline “27 U.S. Air Force Pilots Resign Over Covid-19 Vaccination Mandate” was published. Aides to the 2016 campaign of former President Donald Trump, including journalist Lara Logan of Fox Nation, a streaming service for Fox News, and George Papadopoulos, widely disseminated the information.
However, the tale of widespread Air Force pilot resignations was made up. It came from a website that features titles like “James Comey Loses His Head to Guillotine,” “Hillary Clinton Hanged at Gitmo,” and “Military Executes Tom Hanks,” along with outlandish and fraudulent accounts of arrests, trials, hangings, and executions. A PolitiFact investigation revealed that the website is only one of many conspiracy-focused pages launched in recent years by a person using the alias “Michael Baxter.”
Real Raw News is the website’s
Real Raw News is the website’s name, which calls itself an “independent publisher” and claims to “examine issues frequently overlooked by the mainstream media.
” The website has published more than 150 posts since it began posting in late December 2020, creating a story of military detentions and executions that sounds like a wish list for ardent QAnon conspiracy theorists.
According to BuzzSumo, an audience metrics service, the pieces consistently garner thousands of likes, shares, and other engagements across social media.
Accurate Raw News articles are frequently published in multiple parts. They are written in the manner of genuine news reports, such as the five-part series describing a purported military trial for Hillary Clinton.
Michael Baxter, the site’s author, presents himself as a journalist with insider knowledge. He names unnamed informants, some of whom he claims are in Guantanamo Bay, who he alleges are in daily contact with Trump. He pledges to keep in touch with them frequently.
However, he cites specific individuals in direct quotes. If he misspells someone’s name or gets their title wrong, he corrects it. The website incorporates “humor, parody, and satire,” according to a disclaimer posted to its “About Us” page in April. However, Baxter has repeatedly defended the integrity of his writings in the comments sections of several pieces.
In one such comment, he stated, “We don’t publish phony news.
According to John Gregory, a senior analyst at NewsGuard, a service that evaluates and ranks websites based on various journalistic standards, “the headlines can seem like very straight news reporting if you’re at all kind of open to believing that this is happening.” It lacks some of the red flags for hoaxes or inaccurate material that we would find on other websites.
The alternate reality of Real Raw News:
In an alternate reality of Real Raw News, former vice president Mike Pence has been on the lam for months after attempting to flee and receiving a gunshot wound to the chest in Qatar.
The White House’s principal medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has not had his COVID-19 vaccination. Numerous notable personalities, including Hunter Biden.
Former Attorney General William Barr, and millionaire Bill Gates, have been detained by the military. Some have been hanged, put to death by guillotine, executed by firing squad, or otherwise put to death.
Naturally, none of that is accurate. But despite these headlines, the site has continued to gain visitors.
Real Raw News, realrawnews.com, and associated hashtags have been mentioned more than twice as much in the last two months across social media, broadcast and traditional media, and online sites.
However, the website has only been published for less than 10 months. According to research from media intelligence company Zignal Labs Inc.
Facebook and Twitter:
Several articles during that period received thousands of shares on Facebook and Twitter:
According to Rachel Moran, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, “we have this notion that most people can recognize that this is a fake news site, and thus it’s not effective.” However, I merely don’t believe that to be the case today.
After disputing more than a dozen claims that appeared on Real Raw News in 2021, PolitiFact decided to look into the website and its creators.
We discovered that the “Michael Baxter” behind Real Raw News had previously operated at least three other websites and related YouTube channels, most of which have since been mostly removed from the internet.
These websites and channels promoted fanciful conspiracy theories about everything from the fictitious planet “Nibiru” to extraterrestrial visitations.
Michael Tuffin, 53:
- Who most recently resided in Texas and has also lived in New York, is the author’s genuine identity, according to public documents and other information readily accessible to the general public.
- PolitiFact questioned Facebook as to why the Real Raw News page was allowing to publish false information and paranoid material on the social media site.
- As a result of the page’s violation of the company’s COVID-19 regulations, Facebook informed us that it had taken the page down from its platform.
- After PolitiFact enquired about at least two Real Raw News articles propagating false material regarding the coronavirus and vaccines, Google also prohibited ads from appearing there. Responding on Twitter, Real Raw News urged followers to follow its Telegram account.
- In his only email to PolitiFact, Tuffin added, “Happy doing, and thank you for the publicity.”
PolitiFact analyzed open-source intelligence leads, such as information from public records, archived websites, social media postings, and the commentaries sections on Real Raw News, to piece together the background of this expanding online misinformation source.
A trail of ‘twisted truth.’
- Registrar records for the domain indicate that Real Raw News was establishing in April 2020.
- Late in December, reports that FEMA had bought assault firearms from China and that Trump had indicted Fauci began to appear.
- When it erroneously stated that the Marine Corps had turned down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request for inauguration security, the website first caught PolitiFact’s attention in January. NewsGuard became interested in Real Raw News at about the same time.
- NewsGuard contacted the email address linked to a PayPal account on the website to evaluate Real Raw News. (The website no longer includes a PayPal link.) A response was sending to NewsGuard from “Twisting Truth.”
According to NewsGuard:
- the email from Twisted Truth stated, “It’s a satirical blog, exposing the craziness of rabid Trumpists (who lack the mental ability to differentiate fact from fiction).”
- PolitiFact identified twistedtruth.net and a related YouTube page when it searched for “Twisted Truth” and “Michael Baxter.”
- At least one since-deleted Real Raw News item concerning the fabling planet Nibiru was verbatim taking from an earlier Twisted Truth article. “France to Nuke Nibiru” is the report’s headline on both websites.
- Michael Baxter is also the pen name of the author of Twisted Truth, who hasn’t published anything since February 2020. His bio on Twisted Truth is consistent with what he said on Real Raw News.
- According to Twisted Truth’s “About Us” page, the “Michael Baxter” who signs his bylines is “a former mainstream journalist” who formerly worked for the New York Post, the Village Voice, then The Dallas Morning News.
- He “is also a former English teacher.” Baxter is describing as “a former mainstream journalist then former English teacher” on the “About Us” page of Real Raw News.
- Baxter’s employment history and credentials as a journalist could not be verified.
- Inquiries from PolitiFact to the Village Voice and then. The Dallas Morning News went unrequited, while the New York Post declined to comment.
The man behind the website
Baxter’s real identity wasn’t easy to learn. He spoke with Greig live while donning the camouflage mask. Both someonesbones.com and his “Nibiru News” YouTube channel are no longer accessible.
However, Greig had already stored several films from the “Nibiru News” channel. And he gave PolitiFact access to six-minute footage from 2018 that showed Baxter deprived of a mask.
Greig examined the website for Real Raw News and stated to PolitiFact. “I have no question that it is the same ‘Michael Baxter,'” and “The style is very similar.”
PolitiFact found further information about the person behind Real Raw News. And the other websites by searching for “Michael Baxter” and “Nibiru News.
” Additionally, Baxter provided fragments of information about himself. In his comments on the more than 150 stories on the Real Raw News website. Which agreed with our previous investigation.
Most crucially, PolitiFact discovered a link to a GoFundMe page created. In March that garnered more than $10,000 for Real Raw News hidden beneath. One March article that contained claims about Hillary Clinton, Guantanamo, and a hallucinogenic drug associated with QAnon.
Irving, Texas, was listing as the organizer of GoFundMe. But “Michael Baxter” wasn’t the organizer’s name. Michael Tuffin was there.
According to court documents:
- According to court documents and public records, Michael Tuffin has identified whose personal information matched that on Baxter’s Skype account.
- A GoFundMe page for “Nibiru News,” and the host’s remarks about himself on Real Raw News.
- Michael Tuffin uploading the exact two photographs of the Rocky Mountains using as the outline.
- And shelter images on the Twitter account for Real Raw News were also uploading to his Flickr account in June. In the 2018 video Greig, the New Zealand YouTuber, shared with PolitiFact.
- Tuffin was showwing posing as “Michael Baxter” from someonesbones.com, then “Nibiru News” in the video.
- The account utilized an identifier related to Baxter, and its photos included selfies and other images of Tuffin.
- To provide Tuffin the chance to reply, PolitiFact contacted him and his brother. Real Raw News tweeted shortly after about queries “MSM watchdogs” had made to his family.
- According to the account, the political elite and its MSM watchdogs. Are becoming more desperate and attempting harder to shut us down.
- To the point that my immediate and non-immediate family are being harassing. “We’ll keep battling,”
- Hours after PolitiFact disclosed its findings on Tuffin and Real Raw News in a query. Tuffin sent PolitiFact a succinct email answer. “Michael” signed the email.
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