Monday, January 13, 2020

Dublin Teen Uses URL Sleuthing Trick To Scoop CNN’s Iowa Poll

Wilson Walker

DUBLIN (KPIX) – A Bay Area high school student has shaken up the political world with an online trick on the national political media.

“The media, I think, has a lot of issues,” says Arjav Rawal. “The CNN part of it, um, you know.”

That is where this all starts. Rawal is a Dublin High School senior. He’s also the vice-chair of the California High School Democrats. He is not a fan of CNN.

“I know I’ve said the phrase ‘vendetta against CNN,’” Rawal recounts of his previous interviews on the subject. “In general, I think there’s a lot of issues with the media.”

From that frustration, he has been having a little fun at the network’s expense.

On Friday, CNN unveiled a much-anticipated Iowa Democratic primary poll, but Rawal had already done it for them, tweeting out the numbers 20 minutes earlier. He didn’t do it by hacking CNN, per se. He just figured out what CNN was going to name the web page that showed the poll results.

“Yeah, I just figured out what the name of the file was,” he explains. “Nothing special, not illegal in any way. It’s interesting that now people are starting to talk about it, because I did this in September, I did it in November, and it took until January for people to notice.”

These acts of URL sleuthing have landed Rawal an interview in the New York Times, and a call from Elizabeth Warren’s campaign. As for his vendetta against CNN, he says he’ll keep at it.

“I would’ve expected them to get their act together about this, but they didn’t,” he laughs. ”I figure I’m just going to keep on doing this until they decide they want to start acting in a competent way.”

Wilson Walker

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