Saturday, November 14, 2015

We Just Posted a Fake Video, Here's Another One: Pope John Paul II Takes Batting Practice

Nice swing

An hour ago we posted a video purporting to a show public demonstration in London celebrating the Paris terror attacks. We ran it because it was posted on a reputable blog and squared with the support for ISIS present among a substantial minority of Muslims in Britain, especially young Muslim males.

However, it is a false video. It's not fake per se, but rather records a recent demonstration celebrating the arrival of the Indian Prime Minister. The tell was when the source blog took it down a few hours after running it, and I then noticed a comment on the source post pointing out its actual origin. Simultaneously, a Google+ friend pointed out oddities in the video that I should have been more hip to.

I'm calling attention to this (as opposed to merely deleting the post and moving on) because I HATE IT when other blogs do that with no explanation. That's not a criticism of those blogs, only a report of my own feelings. If something is untrue, I want to know definitively that it is, and if possible, why. Simply deleting the post often leaves a sort of mystery.

So, here's the video, allegedly of a recent pro-ISIS demonstration in broad daylight in front of a busy Tube station (but we now know it is not):

MUSLIMS AROUND THE WORLD CELEBRATE THE ISLAMIC VICTORY (?) IN PARIS, FRANCEI will kill these f***ers one day. This celebration happened in London, UK this afternoon by Pakistani Muslims.
Posted by Jean-Baptiste Kim on Saturday, November 14, 2015

So, apologies. In three-hundred and three posts, this is the second time we've done this. And we've come close on a few more occasions. But two is too many. We'll try to be more careful in the future.


Are you ready for some fun? Here is "Pope John Paul II" taking batting practice. When a first saw it a month ago, I believed it for a few seconds then called it. The figure does look like an early Pope John Paul II, and we know that he was an athlete.

But the tell for me was the year. 1987 was after the assassination attempt, and tragically, the Pope was never physically the same after that. But a credulous viewer might also ask how a Polish prelate learned how to swing a bat so well. And if one listens to the audio track, there's also the matter of the "Vatican softball league" that the Pope was often (though not always) "too busy" to play in.

But still, it's fun. If it's not true, it should be. When popes were men...



  1. Another clue: white shoes.

    But, is that an actor or did they (rather well) insert digitally the pope?

    1. Actor. It becomes more clear at the end. He's thinner. The video was made at a time when digital editing was much more difficult and probably non-existant on this scale.