I must say I saw this coming the moment I learnt that there were no three Italian women fined for wearing bikinis. Despite the fact that 99.99% of stories published on Jihad Watch are indisputable fact, one time that Robert posted a story in good faith that turned out to be inaccurate, the destroyers of free speech jump all over it. Nathan Lean, the former editor-in-chief of Reza Aslan’s Aslan Media, has published a piece falsely claiming that Robert “refuses” to take the story down even after knowing it was false, despite the fact that he actually took it down immediately upon learning it was not accurate, several days before Lean’s piece appeared. Lean uses screenshots to “prove” that despite Robert having been advised in comments that the story was inaccurate, refused to “pull it,” which in fact, of course, he did immediately. Funny enough, we had a discussion about that on the day the story was pulled, May 11, as you can see here — six days before Lean published his screed.
Now this is not going to be easy to explain, so please bear with me.
Lean’s false claim can be seen here, the screenshot published by Lean can be seen here, and I have saved copy on the server here. You can see he shows a drop down from his clock showing the date to be May 17, 2014. However, a few small details show that this screenshot is not authentic:
2. Notice that he has “scrolled down” a bit, so the logo is cut off, and that the expected browser scroll bar on the right is missing.
Here is why these points matter:
1. The funny thing is, that Robert asked me to make those “Login to Comment” and “Sign up for our Daily Digest” buttons bolder a couple of weeks back, and I’d only just gotten around to it on Tuesday, May 13. Here is a Google cache image of this story after I made the change, on the 15th. Notice the difference between this and Lean’s screenshot: the wording is now centered and bolder, and the separating line is now missing. This indicates that Lean’s screenshot is not from May 17, as he claimed, but from before May 13.
2. Why scroll down that little bit? And what sort of browser doesn’t have a scroll bar when a page is too long to fit on the screen all at once? Well, that’s easily explained: as with every story on Jihad Watch, Google feeds on it, caching it. It appears Lean found a cached image from before the story was pulled. He scrolled down a bit to remove the fact is was a cache, and did a screen grab just shy of the scroll bar, showing Saturday’s date, the date he published his piece. This gave the appearance that the story was still live on Saturday, even though it had been taken down almost a week earlier.
In fact, Google and many others still have caches, they will always have a cache, and these caches are beyond our control. Many offices have “caching proxies” that will continue to serve old versions if they find that the new page says “404 page not found,” but despite Lean being told repeatedly that the page was removed days ago, he continues to repeat his false claim.
Also, if you look at the cached version of the story or Lean’s screenshots, you’ll notice that there was a massive flurry of activity in the comments section of this story. It suddenly stops after a few hours on May 11, when the story was pulled. If the story had been up for six more days after that, as Lean claims, why did everyone stop commenting? Of course the reason why the flurry of commenting stops abruptly is that you can’t comment on a cached page, and the live page had been taken down.
Anyone can browse through Jihad Watch stories. Google will have the last changed version, and you can easily confirm what I am saying about the date the “Login to Comment” and “Sign up for our Daily Digest” changed by searching, pick one and search Google by the title in quotes, check the cached date and you will see.
But all of this is distracting from the real issue: a lot of completely accurate stories don’t ring true these days. The world has gone so crazy that there are so many similar indisputable examples of Sharia imposition in Europe, pork banned is schools, UK Law accepting Sharia lesser worth of women, Koran teacher who raped a child let off are just recent ones that explain why the initial story was not so hard to believe. Another reason why Lean’s claims are all pretty irrelevant is that if the story were true, and I was Italian, I’d be angry with the courts, not Muslims.
I do wonder if Lean (who has knowingly lied about Robert in the past, distorting his academic record and refusing to retract when confronted with the evidence) is paid by the same people who are paying to have had this site under constant DDoS attack, which it has now been under for more than 2 months, using commercial “DDoS for hire” botnets. The effort they go to to shut down free speech using any method just convinces me that what is being said here is of great importance.