Move over, CNN, New York Times, NBC, CBS and ABC. An unlikely news source put your coverage of the Boston Bomber manhunt to shame.
As Boston-area law enforcement agencies were closing in on Dzokhar Tsenaev, the surviving bomber who ran over his older brother, Tamerlan, in his attempt to elude police, U.S. Army W.T.F. Moments a humor website run by and for soldiers, was routinely scooping the major media organizations – and getting it right.
On normal days, the anonymous editors of US Army W.T.F. Moments
How did they do it? Like the major news organizations, they tuned into Boston area police scanners, several feeds from which were available over the Internet. Unlike the major news organizations, though, U.S. Army W.T.F Moments was able to cut out several layers of institutional filtering that slows the news reporting process down. Meanwhile, because the U.S. Army W.T.F. Moments team already has training in weaponry and small unit tactics, they were able to communicate in short-hand, without having to stop and explain to a lay audience the idea behind a “flash-bang” grenade or a thermal site.
Tellingly, they also understood the terminology themselves, while many news reporters have no idea what these tools and concepts are. It takes time for them to bone up on even the most basic subjects before they are able to forward their dispatches up the editorial chain. Most of the links in large news organizations add little or no value to breaking news coverage.
U.S. Army W.T.F Moments, on the other hand, was able to listen in to police scanner traffic, watch live news feed on television (put there by the mainstream press organizations, to their credit), and use Facebook to post minute-by-minute updates.
A perusal of their updates, plus the comments from their readers, many of whom were also monitoring CBS News’s live video feed from the scene, CNN, ABC, NBC and the Drudge Report, shows how this little humor website got deep inside the mainstream legacy media’s OODA-loop, and put their reporting to shame that evening:
At 11:11 Eastern time, Friday, April 18th –“We see a dog, it is barking. It could be a K9 unit. We don’t know. It is a dog.” – CNN
At 6:27 PM: Latest briefing bullets:
- 1) Suspect still at large
- 2) Watertown, MA “stay in” request has been lifted. However heavy police presence will remain as searching continues.
- 3) Multiple pipe bombs have been discovered and detonated by the police including another pressure cooker type bomb.
At 7:06 PM: Shots fired. Around 2 dozen.
At 7:07 PM: Movement on a boat where shots were fired.
At 7:09 PM: Laying prone, head toward stern, middle of the boat.
At 7:11 PM: Watertown on lockdown again. Stay indoors.
7:12 PM: A commenter writes, “when did this page become a news network?”
At 7:27 PM: Still movement in the boat.
At 7:39 PM: movement in the boat. “He just sat up,” whailing about, quite a bit of movement.
7:40 PM: Commenter Trie Campbell writes, “Tell him to drink water and stfu.”
At 7:43 PM: Sitting up again. there is more movement, center of the boat..
7:44 PM Commenter Fatima Morales writes: A 3-hour tour! A 3-hour tour!
7:47 PM: Commenter Alison Tomich writes, “We’ve switched to watching for your updates and listening to the police scanner. Tired of watching the “news” stations report rumors.
7:57 PM: Commenter Keith Johnson writes: This has actually been the most accurate news site all week. Just let that sink in…”
7:45: Commenter Martin Cabrera writes “GILLIGAN!!!
7:46: Commenter Valier Garcia writes “Where are you getting this intel? CBS isn’t saying sh*t anymore”
At 7:48 PM: cn [sic – presumably the writer meant ‘CNN’) says “high probability of suspect to be on scene (boat)
At 7:52 PM: Commenter Karen Fuss writes, “I think you guys just put all the news stations out of business!
At 7:49 PM: Commenter Rob Noel writes: Does CNN listen to the scanner? They would be more informed…
At 7:50 PM: 1x flashbang out.
7:52 PM. Commenter Michel Doesken writes, “NOTHING on the news is reporting that. Where are you getting that”
7:54 PM. Commenter James Vincent writes, “FROM THE SCANNER. Everything they said on this page has ended up being right. The news is behind.
7:50 PM: No movement fro subject. Flashbang hit forward of the subject.
7:51 PM: Commenter Jeremy Milbern writes, “You are an excellent source of news. Just refresh my page and there’s a new update. “
7:51 PM: Commenter Lance Hooker writes, “News is so far behind lol”
7:52: Flashbang number 2, negative on movement
7:53 PM: Commenter Doug Tabb writes, “News are calling them small explosions.”
7:52 PM: Flashbangs bow of the boat, good distance from subject
7:57 PM: Commenter Andy N Brandy Williams writes “They need to take CNN off the air and give the channel to USAWTFM!”
7:58 PM: Commenter Michelle R. Wylie writes, “I have gotten more information off of WTFM than almost every news station combined. You guys should win an EMMY!”
7:56 PM: no further movement on the boat at this time.
7:58 PM: Commenter Ryan Fitts writes, “U guys are Better than nay other news source” [sic]
8:01 PM: Commenter Brandley Mckibben writes, “Guys, I am an IRR SFC working in IRAQ for the Dept of State I have to say you are beating the new channel on AFN all to heck on this keep it up!!!!!!!!!!!!”
8:02 PM: Commenter R.J. Evans writes, “lol I like how this page has more credible/current info than on the fox live news feed! Out-freakin-standing soldiers. Airborne!”
At 8:10 PM: Commenter Susan Ferranti writes, “CNN is about 20. Mins behind”
8:01 PM: negotiator on route
8:03 PM: Commenter Shanan Himes writes, “Take him alive, steal a scene from Game of Thrones, behead him before the masses, and put his head on a spike in front of Ellis Island”
8:05 PM: Commenter Andrew Williams writes, “I’m serious! Your source is accurate as f*ck!! Everything you said is really happening and the news networks are like 10 minutes behind you! Wtf man? Lol Hooah!”
8:06 PM: Commenter Kelan McLain writes, “U.S. ARMY W.T.F. Moments, you give better updates and reporting than CNN does.”
8:14 PM: Commenter Adrienne Montoya writes, “CNN should listen to scanner LOL! They are 1 hour behind this of news!
8:38 PM: Commenter Nick Hilts writes, “They’re f*cked if this asshole wore his PT belt!“
At 8:10 PM: lighting up the boat!………with lights o_0
At 8:15pm, Commenter Badarrius Kinyuan Partlow writes, “Put a pepper packet, tobasco sauce, [sic] and coffee pack in a MRE heater and drop it in the boat. He will come out.”
At 8:21: USA WTF Moments published a daylight aerial photograph of the house and yard with the boat.
At 8:36: Commenter Miguel Duarte writes: “abc news just showed this pic lol”
At 8:39: black suspicious bag found walking distance from the suspect, eod en route.
At 8:42: SUSPECT IN CUSTODY
With that 8:42 time stamp, U.S. Army WTF Moments was able to beat all mainstream news media sources to the scoop.
At 8:43 PM, commenter Andrea Dawson writes, “and again faster than CNN.”
Commenter Brad Sargent writes: “NPR is behind the ball. Thanks for being the #1 source in news!”
Commenter Jesse Sampson writes, “U had it posted about 5 minutes before FOX News.
All in all, while it was a tragic and traumatic week for America, it was a good week for alternative media in the military community: The satire and humor site, www.duffleblog.com, got a prominent mention in the Wall Street Journal this week. According to reporting by the Journal, Duffleblog has already achieved the ‘hat trick’ of satire news sites: Three separate entries on Snopes.com to set straight people who were duped by their fake news stories.