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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

In 2001 Ken Layne said: “We can fact check your ass!”

At the very dawn of the blogosphere, Ken Layne gave voice to what became a war cry heard across the internet: “We can fact check your ass”… and being American, he was not referring to examining the veracity of donkeys.

And that continues to be true, with that ethos is being applied by sites such DeepFreeze (dealing with Gamergate) and of course Guido (who has a category of his own in the sidebar). The internet never forgets, but it sure helps to have those memories nicely collated.

7 comments to In 2001 Ken Layne said: “We can fact check your ass!”

  • Paul Marks

    I hope so Perry.

    But remember the Search Engine problem.

    People tend to get directed to the left.

  • Tedd

    Perhaps it’s my incorrigibly optimistic nature, but I’ve noticed a promising trend over the past twenty-odd years. When email started to go mainstream in the early 90s there was a period of 10-15 years where it seemed like every other email I got was some obvious nonsense that a naive (though possibly well meaning) friend or family member had forwarded to me without bothering to attempt to verify. For many years, I was evangelical about replying to these emails with references to online information that debunked them. But I’ve noticed in recent years that the number of easily-debunkable emails being sent to me has dwindled to a trickle. One possible explanation is that all my former friends and family now think I’m an asshole and don’t bother to send me stuff anymore. I can’t prove that’s not true. But I suspect that a small but important general increase in savviness and decrease in credulity has crept into the culture.

    Related: anyone interested in internet memes might enjoy this talk by Robert Fulford.

  • Kevin B

    Yes, having the internet to ‘fact check their ass!’ really has made the difference to the lying political establishment and their media enablers over the last fourteen years or so, as a glance at Samizdata’s front page articles will show.

    Imagine what the Social Justice Warriors would be like if the internet hadn’t been so heavily on their case. Or imagine the political bias that the BBC would have thought they could get away with without sites such as Guido keeping them honest. Doesn’t bear thinking about, does it.

    Sadly, the reality is that we know the establishment is corrupt, they know we know that they’re corrupt and yet they continue to laugh, (and spit), in our faces while carrying on with their absurd policies.

    As an example, let’s take the ridiculous Climate Change Act in which the three major parties reaffirmed their belief during the run up to this election. The internet has been fact checking their arses on this for thirty years or more. Many of the key players on the alarmist side have been caught out lying time and again, and yet the policy of wrecking our energy supply infrastructure continues apace.

    Sorry Ken. The fact that when Western Civilization is finally destroyed we might be able to look at the internet and determine who is to blame does not fill me with great satisfaction.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Kevin B,
    I was, for several years, heavily involved with the Biased BBC blog, so much so that I kind of burned myself out on the subject. But the experience did leave me knowing all about BBC bias. And my extremely educated opinion is that BBC bias has significantly decreased in the last few years. The organization is still overwhelmingly composed of lefties who colour each story with their statist assumptions. But they now have the decency to be embarrassed about it. The grosser tricks, such as naming the party if a Conservative or Republican politician was caught in scandal but not naming the party if it was Labour or the Democrats, have almost disappeared. At one time almost every week would bring a “BBC blankety-blank” article to laugh about.

  • Tedd


    I’ve observed a similar improvement in the CBC, here in Canada. I’ve attributed it more to a changing of the guard, from baby-boomer nitwits to less credulous gen-whatevers, but it’s probably fair to say that the internet has had a lot to do with gen-whatevers being less credulous. Fifteen or twenty years ago the CBC news was laugh-out-loud partisan. It’s still very heavily statist, but with a more balanced approach to options within the statist paradigm. You even, very occasionally, get non-softball questions asked of left-leaning guests and non-loaded questions asked of non-left-leaning guests.

  • The fact that when Western Civilization is finally destroyed we might be able to look at the internet and determine who is to blame does not fill me with great satisfaction.

    Meh, I am obviously more optimistic than you. I think Western Civilisation has quite a way to go yet. The end of the world is not nigh even if you can indeed see it from here, and it is by no means a forgone conclusion we will reach the point of terminal decline.

  • Kevin B

    Natalie, I must commend you for your years in the trenches as it were. As the Americans say, “Thank you for your service.” I must admit that my only contact with the BBC these days is through their website and then mostly for travel and sport with an occasional brief look at the news page in passing. Consequently, my perception of Beeb bias is mostly second hand from various blogs.

    From the reports you and Tedd give above, it seems I must give thanks for somewhat subtle mercies.

    Perry, you are quite right. The collapse of Western Civ. will, (hopefully), take a while. I once heard someone say that Britain is like Rome turning into Italy. Perhaps our Risorgimento will be quicker and less painful. For Europe, perhaps the barbarian hordes will be stopped at the Gates of Vienna sooner rather than later, metaphorically if not literally.