by Park MacDougald
Friday, 9
September 2022
Spotted
09:37

Did the Daily Wire fall for a fake book scam?

One reporter appears to have been duped by culture war clickbait
by Park MacDougald

Last night, there was a viral thread from Christina Buttons, a reporter at the conservative Daily Wire, about a children’s book entitled Sex Education for 8-12 Year Olds: Kids Book for Good Parents, by an author named Ana Leblanc. As Buttons detailed in the thread and in a linked article, the book includes some shocking advice, including that parents should “take your child into bed with you and allow him or her watch [sic] as you share intimacy.”

At a time of raging public controversies over Right-wing “book bans” and Left-wing “sexualisation of children”, this was a story almost too good to be true. Here was a woke author instructing parents to commit what would amount, at best, to a deeply irresponsible act, and at worst, to criminal incest and pedophilia. The passage seems to have been discovered by the anti-woke education account @CourageHabit, which, in case any readers missed the point, wrote: 

The problem is, the story almost certainly is too good to be true. As in: it’s fake. “Ana Leblanc” does not exist, and the book is not a real book. 

My first clue here was the text itself, which has the uncanny quality of writing generated by a computer. Note the stilted subtitle — Kids Book for Good Parents — and the grammatical error in the passage quoted at the end of the first paragraph. Or, consider some of the other books listed under “Ana Leblanc” on Goodreads, such as ‘POTTY TRAINING for boys and girls easy toilet plan’ and ‘How to get pregnant fast naturally’. Read the first sentence of the Goodreads description of the latter and ask yourself whether it was written by a human:

How tо gеt pregnant naturally iѕ a ԛuеѕtiоn аѕkеd bу mаnу соuрlеѕ whо hаvе been trуing tо соnсеivе a baby fоr a lоng period оf timе оr it is аlѕо сruсiаl for реорlе whо hаvе nоt аttеmрtеd уеt tо hаvе a baby. 
- 'Ana Leblanc', goodreads
 

Notably, all of these books are listed on Goodreads for $0.00 on Kindle Unlimited, and all have been delisted from Amazon except for a paperback edition of Sex Education for 8-12 year old kids, which was selling for $7.98 as of Tuesday but is now unavailable. It’s the free Kindle Unlimited versions that are the tell here. As the author David Gaughran explained in 2017, when all of Leblanc’s books were published in the span of a few months:

For over fifteen months now, scammers have been raiding the Kindle Unlimited pot using a well-worn trick. They usually pilfer the content first of all – often by stealing an author’s original work and running it through a synonymizer – and then upload it to Amazon, thus avoiding the automatic plagiarism detectors…

These thieves make the book free for a few days, and then use a variety of banned methods to generate a huge and immediate surge in downloads – generally suspected to be bots or clickfarms or dummy accounts, or some combination thereof. These fake books then suddenly jump into the Top 20 of the free charts, displacing authors who have gone to considerable effort to put together an advertising campaign for their work.

- David Gaughran

As Buttons notes, Sex Education was, at the time of its delisting, “the #1 Best Seller in Children’s Nonfiction on Sexuality & Pregnancy on Amazon.” Of course, that’s exactly the sort of absurdly niche subcategory that would be easy to game. My guess is that whoever was running the original Kindle scam was trying to repurpose old material with a new scam focused on paperbacks, but who knows. 

Then there’s ‘Ana Leblanc’ herself. Her author pages contain no biographical information, and Googling “Ana+Leblanc+author” yields no hits aside from the Amazon and Goodreads pages, Button’s article, and a lesbian short-story writer in Massachussetts named Ann LeBlanc. According to Button, the author bio on the paperback book says that “Leblanc was born in Scotland and began writing books following encouragement from her daughter after a career as a teacher in Glasgow.” Searching “Ana+Leblanc+Glasgow” yields no direct hits either, but it does turn up a recent obituary for an Anne LeBlanc of Nova Scotia, who was born in Glasgow. Perhaps the scammer stole a bit from the real Ms. LeBlanc’s biography, or perhaps it was pure coincidence.  

It would appear that the whole story is a case of two different sections of the Internet colliding: culture war clickbait and e-book scams. Unfortunately, there’s only one person who could clear this up, and Ana Leblanc was unavailable for comment.

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Zak Orn
Zak Orn
23 days ago

No doubt some “academic progressives” will come out and laugh about how they tricked the Daily Wire… but ultimately the jokes on them because while this one might be fake, it’s only believable in the first place because most of their other increasingly creepy ideas haven’t been a joke. They’re hard to parody, because whatever cultural jokes you make the “progressives” are never far behind adopting said joke as a real belief, just give it 1-2 yrs. 

Last edited 23 days ago by Zak Orn
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
22 days ago
Reply to  Zak Orn

You missed the story last week where Stonewall issued a statement about 2 year olds recognising their trans identity? That’s pretty far out!

And then the ultimate in real life outrunning parody…..when the Labour party in the 1970s actually allowed the affiliation of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), and nearly accepted its proposal to remove the age of consent.

Last edited 22 days ago by Ian Stewart
Jason Highley
Jason Highley
20 days ago
Reply to  Zak Orn

Exactly.

Christine Zamora
Christine Zamora
23 days ago

It’s so fake Amazon UK has it listed for sale.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/EDUCATION-8-12-year-olds-PARENTS/dp/1549718371

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
23 days ago

it is listed, but you can’t buy it.
As I said in my other comment it is simply one of those computer generated books. Amazon has millions of them.

Winnie
Winnie
22 days ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

People on reddit got it taken down… apparently people with kindle unlimited accounts had read the book…but couldn’t explain away why it said to take your children to bed… though there was apparently a section taking quotes from pedos that was supposed to be used to educate parents on how to talk tonyour children about abuse

Junot Joyner
Junot Joyner
22 days ago

It doesn’t matter if it was a hoax. What I believe is missed is that the intention of the hoax is to spread a sick ideology. The very purpose of the internet and media is to communicate ideas and doctrine. Sexual Perversion is a doctrine and there is an agenda by the left, and some on the right, to spread it.

Crystal Velasquez
Crystal Velasquez
11 days ago
Reply to  Junot Joyner

No, the purpose of the book is for right-wing propagandists to have you believe this was written by an evil liberal and distributed in schools, which of COURSE isn’t true. But you are so quick to believe the worst, you fell for it.

Jon Uhler
Jon Uhler
22 days ago

So, the question is… will those making light of this be willing to call for the prosecution and stiff prison sentences for anyone found pushing this kind of stuff on kids, given this is close to the stuff being pushed on kids in schools via SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) Sex Ed? Will these same people, who are mocking this, call for stiff criminal penalties for any adult found in possession of child pornography? Suddenly… the sound of crickets.

Last edited 22 days ago by Jon Uhler
Arkadian X
Arkadian X
23 days ago

Amazon is rife with plagiarized low-quality self-published books. That one is probably one that was added to the mix.
Amazon knows and encourages it (along with the productions of countless fake reviews).

Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
23 days ago

Am I the only person in the world with a BS detector? Shame on anyone who reported on this obvious farce unless they followed up and found massive evidence to confirm it.

Gary Cruse
Gary Cruse
23 days ago
Reply to  Sheryl Rhodes

Reading some of the Twitter comments, the probable hoax of the ‘book’ is overtaken by the defenders of what it purports to recommend It might as well be real. It’s where we are.
The woke camel’s nose
so far in the tent
you see camel toes,
if you know what I meant.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
22 days ago
Reply to  Sheryl Rhodes

I’d like to draw your attention to John Money, the grandfather of gender ideology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Money
A word of caution: it is not for the faint-hearted; I myself felt queasy reading about his experiments, however, once you understand where fear of postmodern gender teachings come from, you begin to realize why, even though the book mentioned in the article is fake, it comes close to rendering a truthful depiction of gender theology.

Jim Beam
Jim Beam
22 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

This story is absolutely tragic.

samuel Litz
samuel Litz
21 days ago
Reply to  Sheryl Rhodes

Someone was selling the book on Ebay, google it.

Ed Carden
Ed Carden
20 days ago
Reply to  Sheryl Rhodes

It wasn’t a farce. Until Amazon removed the ability to obtain it you could get digital copies of the book and rad it. it’s irrelevant as to if Anna Leblanc is a real persons , an AI or just someone doing it for shifts & giggles. It was believable, that it was being made available in schools, because this is exactly the kind of sick shift these ideologues want to put into the hands of kids.

samuel Litz
samuel Litz
21 days ago

It is a real book, it was being sold on Ebay for $99. There are excerpts and a picture of the front and back of the book. Just because you do not want it to be true, doesn’t mean that it is not true. Self-Published in Sept 2017

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
21 days ago
Reply to  samuel Litz

If you can get your hands on a copy then I’ll believe you

Winnie
Winnie
22 days ago
l h
l h
19 days ago

This article is incorrect. This is a real book that had shipped out paperback copies. It was a private self published book and the author is most likely a predator. Watch your children people

Winnie
Winnie
21 days ago

Round these on the reddit page…

https://imgur.com/a/18RgMrg

https://imgur.com/a/LPCo1e1

Ed Carden
Ed Carden
20 days ago

For those insisting on how dumb or foolish it was to believe that schools were stocking this book are exactly the kind of people these sick woke ideologues want most to be because those people will refuse to believe something like this is going on so the perverts can operate in the dark; corrupt peoples kids. Pull your head out of the sand.

schwo schwoberg
schwo schwoberg
17 days ago

The book is listed on Good Reads, along with 5 other books from Ana Leblanc, the author. The reviews on the book go back at least a couple years, too. So stop saying it was a hoax, when clearly it is not.

l ta
l ta
22 days ago

Perverts are on the loose.
Protect your children.

Winnie
Winnie
22 days ago
Henry Bowman
Henry Bowman
18 days ago

While y’all are going on about other people having broken BS detectors, take a moment and go back to read the description of the purported “scam.” Plagiarize and anonymize a book, sell lots of them for free on Amazon, and displace genuine authors who wrote genuine books. Now, show me what part of this scam puts actual money in the scammers’ pockets?