[Fox News] Liberal media outlets ‘running cover’ for Biden by calling viral clips ‘cheap fakes,’ critics say

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There has been an avalanche of coverage recently from liberal news outlets on so-called “cheap fakes,” the term being used by both the media and the White House to describe viral clips of President Biden that critics say show signs of his cognitive decline. 

Biden’s age has been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent days, with the president facing accusations of freezing and wandering off at various events showcased online by Republicans. 

One prominent example was footage showing Biden stepping away from other world leaders at the G-7 Summit to give a thumbs up to parachutists off-camera, prompting Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to corral him back to the group for a photo-op. 

“Selective editing of video and putting spin on interpretations of events has been going on in American politics for a long time,” DePauw University journalism professor Jeffrey McCall said. “What has been surprising, however, is how eager the establishment media have been to parrot the White House spin, trying to dismiss concerns about Biden’s capabilities as just cheap fake editing and razzle-dazzle.” 

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NBC News accused Republicans of pushing a “false” narrative by claiming Biden was wandering aimlessly. 

“Experts have warned that while advanced technology like generative artificial intelligence can spread misinformation, so-called cheap fakes that often use only minor or selective editing can be more effective at spreading false narratives,” NBC News wrote in reaction to the viral moment. 

“It is quite possible to consider different interpretations of the G-7 parachute situation, but even a sympathetic assessment has to acknowledge that none of the other leaders followed Biden’s wandering, and the Italian prime minister felt compelled to retrieve him,” McCall told Fox News Digital

The Biden clips are most prominently distributed by RNC Research on X, which often provides an unflattering caption to raise concerns about the president’s cognitive state.

However, regardless of whether the depictions of Biden are fair, the White House and media have falsely suggested the clips were manipulated by the RNC and other critics. Biden press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre even incorrectly called the videos “deepfakes.”

“While ‘deepfakes’ are misleading audio, video or images that are created or edited with artificial intelligence technology, a ‘cheap fake,’ according to researchers Britt Paris and Joan Donovan, is a ‘manipulation created with cheaper, more accessible software (or, none at all). Cheap fakes can be rendered through Photoshop, lookalikes, re-contextualizing footage, speeding, or slowing,’” NBC News wrote in a separate report

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The Washington Post similarly elevated the term “cheap fakes,” telling readers such “deceptively edited videos… misrepresent events simply by manipulating video or audio, or by leaving out context” and that they’ve “become staples of Republican attacks against Biden.”

The Post declared the G-7 incident a “fake story” in a separate fact-check and also tackled one of the freezing accusations from a clip of Biden standing motionlessly as others around him danced and swayed to a concert held on the White House lawn commemorating Juneteenth. 

The Post attempted to dispute the claim that Biden froze by citing a 2009 interview he gave in which he mentioned how he “doesn’t dance.”

“The use of these clips is an especially pernicious couple of examples of manipulated video — what we label ‘isolation’ under our guide to manipulated video — because it’s intended to create a false narrative that doesn’t reflect the event as it occurred. The RNC and its avid followers in the conservative media earn Four Pinocchios,” the Post concluded.

Fox News contributor Joe Concha says Biden’s decline is “unmistakable” and the majority of voters see it. 

“It’s not about age, but mental acuity, and most Americans believe he doesn’t have it anymore. All the spin and cheerleading in the world does not change that,” Concha told Fox News Digital. 

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The Associated Press ran its own fact-check on the video showing Biden standing still at his star-studded LA fundraiser until former President Obama is seen grabbing his wrist and guiding him off the stage with his hand behind Biden’s back. 

“CLAIM: Biden froze onstage during his fundraiser in Los Angeles on Saturday night and had to be led away by Obama,” AP wrote Tuesday. “THE FACTS: Biden paused amid cheers and applause as he exited the stage with his predecessor following an interview moderated by late-night host Kimmel.”

Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson says the media and the fact-checkers are “running cover for the Biden campaign.”

“Much like the cover-up of the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020, there is a swarm effect, proving that the legacy media still can impact elections from the sheer number of outlets repeating the same narrative,” Jacobson told Fox News Digital. “This media swarm to deny evidence of Biden’s cognitive decline reflects that the real campaign season has started.”

Partisans in the media were also quick to reject the interpretation of the Biden-Obama interaction. CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy simply declared the freezing claim a “fabrication” in his “Reliable Sources” newsletter, without even linking to the video for readers to decide for themselves. 

MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace condemned the “highly misleading & selectively edited videos” while also refusing to show the raw footage from the LA fundraiser, instead airing the highly-edited livestream which skipped over the awkward encounter. 

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE DOUBLES DOWN ON ‘CHEAP FAKE’ BIDEN VIDEOS: ‘SO MUCH MISINFORMATION’

CBS News released a report sounding the alarm on “cheap fakes” and their impact in the upcoming election, echoing the White House’s claim that Biden is “victim to a simpler version of ‘deepfakes.’”

“These videos are effective because they are- they’re called cheap fakes for a reason,” CBS News Confirmed executive editor Rhona Tarrant said. “They are quick, they’re easy to publish and often times they have a big impact on people who are just scrolling through their phones.”

CBS News was forced to remove its original report after labeling raw footage from the G-7 incident as “digitally altered video,” replacing it with a narrowly cropped version that had also circulated online and labeling it “edited video.” 

NBC News went even further on Wednesday by attacking Big Tech for amplifying the “quickly debunked” G-7 Summit clip.  

“Google recommended false versions of the story as ‘top stories’ and the deceptive videos continued to accumulate millions of views on X. Copies of the videos were replayed on TikTok and YouTube with little context and zero indication that they were part of a concerted disinformation campaign. Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, applied fact-checking labels to some posts but not to all,” NBC News wrote. “The long echo of the incident illustrates how Big Tech and partisan media are playing off each other in the 2024 election cycle and keeping viral stories in the news even after they’ve been proven to be false or misleading.” 

“The Biden Campaign is utterly devoid of any vision or message for the future so they’ve resorted to gaslighting the American public and fool them into believing that which they experience and see in their daily lives is not real,” a Trump campaign adviser told Fox News Digital. “Using the mainstream press to do Biden’s dirty work and issue veiled government threats to social media platforms is merely the latest desperate tactic of the failed president’s failing campaign.”

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