ABC, 20/20 and the Manosphere: The Real Story

On October 16, 2013, ABC’s news program 20/20 announced that they were doing a special on the “manosphere,” an online collective of men dedicated to reasserting masculinity in a world ravaged by feminism and leftism. 20/20′s reporting on the manosphere is based in fabrications and outright lies and everyone involved with the story is guilty of varying degrees of journalistic fraud. It’s clear that ABC was not interested in a fair and balanced view, but simply wanted to libel the manosphere and advance a feminist agenda.

As part of a teaser for the upcoming episode, ABC published an article titled “Women Battle Online Anti-Women Hate from the ‘Manosphere.'” Almost everything in the article was either a lie or a half-truth, published with the intent of slandering the manosphere and everyone involved with it.

This article will show why virtually all of ABC and 20/20’s claims about the manosphere are false.

1. The manosphere is not in “the underbelly of the Internet.”

The first two paragraphs of the article imply that the manosphere is some hidden corner of the Internet and accuses them of being “protected by the anonymity of the Internet.” In reality, all of the major writers in the manosphere either write under public identities (Roosh, Dr. Illusion) or their real names (Jack Donovan, W.F. Price, C.M. Sturges, Aaron Clarey, Davis Aurini, myself).

2. The quotes that ABC used as an example of the manosphere’s “misogyny” are either unsourced or taken out of context.

The second paragraph uses the line “I really wouldn’t mind shooting a [expletive] dead in the face, they are evil, all of them,” taken from the men’s rights’ activism site A Voice for Men, as an example of the anti-woman rhetoric of the manosphere. However, the quote was taken from an article where it was used as an example of what you can’t post on the site. AVfM founder Paul Elam made it clear in that article that anyone who made violent threats on his site would be banned immediately. The other quote in that paragraph, “Women are the natural enemies of men,” is conveniently unsourced. Read more here: “Well, the 20/20 Piece on the ‘Manosphere’ is Obviously Going to Be a Trainwreck.”

3. Paul Elam and A Voice for Men do not consider themselves part of the manosphere.

ABC describes A Voice for Men as a “manosphere blog,” but Elam specifically distanced himself from the manosphere over a year ago with this article. Indeed, when Elam agreed to be interviewed by 20/20, he made this clear to them repeatedly, but ABC chose to lie and refer to him as the “Mayor of the Manosphere.”

4. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s reports on the manosphere are full of lies and fabrications.

Mark Potok of the SPLC is quoted by ABC as a supposed expert on the manosphere’s misogyny without any mention of the SPLC’s mendacity in regards to the manosphere. A year ago, the SPLC named the manosphere as a “hate group” in their quarterly intelligence report, placing writers like Roosh and Paul Elam into the same category as violent neo-Nazis and terrorists without any sort of corroborating evidence. The SPLC’s sole source for the report was Manboobz, an anti-anti-feminist blog run by David Futrelle, a known liar and fraud with zero qualifications to be writing on gender and sexual issues. The intelligence report was mocked and criticized by numerous media organizations, including The Huffington Post, Business InsiderReason and National Review. The SPLC was so humiliated by the backlash that they were forced to issue a retraction two months later.

5. The attacks on Anita Sarkeesian originated from 4chan, not the manosphere.

Sarkeesian accuses the manosphere of leading the charge in the concerted gang-stalking she suffered a year ago due to her video series “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games,” but the reality is that the ‘sphere’s role in her torment was tangential at best. Not only do we condemn cyber-stalking and violent misogyny, we don’t have the numbers to engage in that level of harassment even if we wanted to.

The attacks on Sarkeesian came from 4chan, an uncensored message board where legitimate misogyny (of the kind that ABC is trying to pin on the manosphere) is rampant and gang-stalking is a pastime. The manosphere’s sole role in the Sarkeesian saga was limited to commentary.

6. Anita Sarkeesian is a liar known for defrauding her investors and misrepresenting her past.

As a result of the 4chan attack, Sarkeesian received several hundred thousand dollars to make her “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” video series. She proceeded to do nothing with the money for months in clear violation of Kickstarter’s Terms of Service, insulting anyone who asked her for a update on her progress. She didn’t release the first video in the series until March 2013, nearly a year after she held her Kickstarter fundraiser. Sarkeesian has also failed to disclose that she is a paid consultant for video game publisher EA, which seriously cripples her credibility as an independent commentator. Finally, Sarkeesian has been caught on video repeatedly lying about her experience as a gamer.

7. ABC ignored the countless death threats that manosphere writers receive from feminists on a regular basis.

The article quotes feminist Jaclyn Friedman on rape and death threats she supposedly has gotten (again, none of which are sourced or proven to have happened), but ignores the far higher volume of threats that anti-feminist writers like myself receive from feminists. For example, I was inundated with countless Twitter and email death/castration threats recently from angry feminists: you can read a selection of them here.

8. ABC was deliberately hostile to Paul Elam, myself and other anti-feminist writers they interviewed.

In an article about his experience being interviewed by 20/20, Elam describes Elizabeth Vargas as being “overtly hostile” and “avoid[ing] the issues repeatedly.” He also describes producer Steven Schnee as being dismissive and hostile towards Editor-in-Chief John Hembling as well as AVfM’s women staffers. You can read more here: “AVfM on 20/20 Update.”

I can confirm that Elam is speaking the truth; I was “pre-interviewed” by both Schnee and 20/20 intern Sarah Figalora and the two were both hostile and insulting to me. You can read more here: “When ABC Met the Manosphere… and Me,” “Is Sarah Figalora Guilty of Journalistic Fraud?

9. ABC went out of their way to censor and delete comments criticizing their shoddy reporting.

When the article was originally published, the comment section was flooded with people pointing out all of its lies and falsehoods. In response, ABC’s moderators started deleting and banning people who attacked the article, even when their comments were respectful and polite: see here and here for examples.

It’s clear from the evidence presented here that ABC went into this story with an agenda: to portray the manosphere and anti-feminists in the worst possible light. They lied and distorted the facts, refused to give anti-feminist writers like Paul Elam and myself a fair hearing, and accepted the words of ethically compromised “experts” like Anita Sarkeesian and Mark Potok at face value. While I invite you to draw your own conclusions, it’s clear that the 20/20 story on the manosphere marks yet another low for mainstream American journalism.

This is just a sampler of ABC’s lies and misinformation. For more info, check out my other articles below:

And here are some links from other sites: