Topic: Media Research Center
Most people understand that selectively editing videos to take them out of their intended context is a form of manipulation. The Media Research Center thinks differently -- at least when the video editors are conservatives and the video's target is a Democratic presidential candidate -- and is laboring hard to split hairs in order to prove it.
We've already noted that MRC tech blogger Alexander Hall is upset that Facebook pointed out that a misleadlingly edited edit of Joe Biden tweeted out by Trump was, in fact, misleadingly edited and had flagged it as such.In a March 9 post criticizing Twitter for similarly pointing out the video's misleading nature, Hall's case for claiming the video isn't misleading comes from... the Trump operative who originally posted it:
An embarrassing clip of Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden stammering during a speech has been spun by liberal media as “manipulated media.”
Former Vice President Biden was caught on video seemingly endorsing President Donald Trump for re-election. Liberal media outlets condemned the video as deceptively edited misinformation in order to cover for the Democratic primary frontrunner. Twitter followed up by labeling the video as “manipulated media.” When reached out to for comment, Twitter staff replied that “this Tweet was labeled based on our Synthetic and Manipulated Media policy.”
The clip, posted on March 7 by White House social media director Dan Scavino, showed Biden stammering: “Because we can not get re-elect, we can not win this re-election. Excuse me, we can only re-elect Donald Trump.”
Trump retweeted Scavino's proclamation that “The video was NOT manipulated,” and has also retweeted other variations of the video in question.
It's laughable that Hall is treating Scavino as an objective observer of what is and is not video manipulation, given that he has a personal and professional vested interest in the outcome. Also note that Hall is again focused on Biden allegedly "stammering" in the video being the non-manipulated part, not the deceptyive edit.
Hall then played whataboutism:
Donald Trump, Jr. retweeted multiple conservative commentators who were calling out Twitter for allowing a Biden campaign video which itself appears to be deceptively edited in that it claimed that Trump was calling the coronavirus a hoax. A Politico article featuring this same claim was fact-checked on Facebook, at the behest of the Daily Caller, a move which outraged members of the liberal media. Former ThinkProgress editor-in-chief Judd Legum questioned, “The bigger question is why Facebook allows The Daily Caller to make judgments about Politico's reporting.”
Hall then invoked a tweet from right-wing writer Ryan Saavedra -- who also has a ideological interest in the debate -- attempting to parse between "selectively edited" and "manipulated" to make the same whataboutism point.
One cannot escape the feeling that Hall is trying to redefine words to protect the Trump campaign and advance a political agenda.