BirthOrNot.com: Anatomy of an Internet Hoax
Yesterday, we told you that Pete Arnold, the father at the center of the BirthOrNot abortion poll, is actually Zeeboid, a right-wing internet troll.
Pete Arnold, AKA Zeeboid, is in the captain's chair when it comes to media requests.
Today, in an effort to make his trollish ways even clearer, we have put together a handy time line of exactly how Pete Arnold foisted this hoax upon the media.
Although Arnold is continuing to keep up the charade that this stunt is
sincere (see his latest blog post at the end of this entry), a
close look at the chronological order of his internet activity prior to the story makes clear
that this was a well-orchestrated hoax from the very beginning.
Perhaps the most telling part of the timeline is his foresight: He registered the GoDaddy URL and the YouTube channel on May 17, two months before the baby was conceived on July 23.
Timeline of BirthOrNot.com Internet HoaxSince our post yesterday outing Pete as the internet troll Zeeboid, he has taken down the couple's personal YouTube channel. He also posted this new entry on birthornot about all the press attention he's getting:
December 2009: Pete trolls Daily Kos's pro-choice page as "Zeeboid," writing, "The term "pro-choice" is used by men and women who support a woman's right to kill an unborn child.
The term means that a woman has the right to determine whether or not she will be pregnant by killing a baby that has already been conceived.
Also Refered to as Pro Abortion."
- May 17: Registers www.birthornot.com URL with GoDaddy.com. Also creates the birthornot YouTube channel.
- July 23: Baby conceived, according to claim that she's in her 17th week on 11/19/10.
- September 28: Pete announces Alisha is pregnant in a blog post.
- September 29: They post early ultrasound pictures of the fetus.
- October 4: They announce that it's a boy based on an "at-home gender test."
- October 6: Responding to critics, they reaffirm that this is about voting. Upload 10-week ultrasound to YouTube.
- October 14: Upload 12-week ultrasound to YouTube.
- October 21: They post a 3D ultrasound image of "Baby Wiggles," as well as upload ultrasound video to YouTube.
- November 1: Reports that 4chan is telling /b/ members to vote to abort.
- November 17: Zeeboid posts a link to the birthornot.com website in a Gawker story on Sarah Palin's book excerpt. The comment is written in the third person, as if Zeeboid wasn't in fact Pete Arnold, the author of birthornot.com. In a blatant attempt to troll PersicaPit, Zeeboid writes, "I wonder if thats what these people here are thinking: [www.birthornot.com]". This is clear proof this whole stunt has been a troll job from the beginning--it also explains why it broke on Gawker.
This comment thread on Gawker proves that BirthOrNot.com is an epic troll job by Pete Arnold, AKA Zeeboid
7 1/2 hours later: Gawker "breaks" the fake story in Vote on Whether this Couple Gets an Abortion. Perhaps Gawker should have been more circumspect instead of falling for a hoax by its own commenter.
- November 19: Star Tribune and Pioneer Press pick up the story. Family friend and spokesman John Kalal rebuffs City Pages' request to speak to family on video. But not before we snap photo of "Zeeboid" license plate.
To date, over 319 different news outlets have written about BirthOrNot.com, according to Google News, including the LA Times, CBS, MSNBC, and CNN International.
Word of the day: Intense
There has been a lot of attention about this today, and I would like to spend a moment to address some of what I'm reading.
First of all, your comments are appreciated. Though there are indeed many hateful. For every ten comments that are negative or spiteful there is one that is positive enough to blow them out of the water. We have even had multiple people (accounting for approximately 6% of those who have sent us a message) who have offered to adopt if the vote result is Abort.
We have had multiple interviews today. The entire experience has been rather dizzying, and we are both surprised and impressed at how many have taken interest. Most of the interviewers have been very nice and professional, which is something I had not expected. Two radio talking heads we talked to were pretty clear in their attempts to steer the conversation, which we expected. I have been honestly surprised by how all of the local, national, and international media we have talked to so far has been shockingly "professional". One thing is cretin; I am very much looking forward to my return home from my trip to hold Alisha and have a nice long talk about what we have experienced thus far.
UPDATE: John Kalal admits Pete Arnold is Zeeboid the Internet Troll
UPDATE 2: John Kalal's mugshot: Meet the wholesome spokesman for BirthOrNot.com
UPDATE 3: Alisha Arnold loses job after BirthOrNot hoax
UPDATE 4: Pete Arnold admits BirthOrNot was a hoax
The Birthornot Files:
- Pete and Alisha Arnold want you to vote on their abortion
- Birthornot.com: Is it a hoax or not?
- Birthornot.com owners: It's not a hoax
- Birthornot.com owners won't talk on video
- Zeeboid license plate: The smoking gun in the Birthornot hoax
- Gawker falls for BirthOrNot abortion hoax by its own trollish commenter
- BirthOrNot.com: Anatomy of an Internet Hoax
- John Kalal admits Pete Arnold is Zeeboid the Internet Troll
- John Kalal's mugshot: Meet the wholesome spokesman for BirthOrNot.com