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Monday, June 10, 2019
MRC On Pelosi Video: It All Depends On What The Meaning Of 'Doctored' Is
Topic: Media Research Center

When is a selectively and misleadingly edited video about Nancy Pelosi not "doctored"? When the Media Research Center decides it's not. Bill D'Agostino huffed in a May 24 post (bolding is his):

Cable news hosts spent Friday morning running damage control for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the President tweeted a video mashup of her verbally stumbling at a press conference. Curiously, CNN and MSNBC parroted the language used by Pelosi’s own office in their efforts to discredit the video: “doctored.”

Between 6:00 a.m. and noon EDT on Friday, CNN and MSNBC hosts and journalists used the term “doctored video” 32 times. That term was attributed to Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff only once within the same time span.


The video tweeted by President Trump was a compilation that aired on Fox Business Network’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, depicting some of the Speaker’s verbal fumbles during a press conference. While certainly unflattering, that collection of disparate clips – mashed together, but otherwise unedited – could not be described accurately as “doctored” by any stretch of the imagination. A doctored video portrays a false reality, which the simple mashup did not do.

Actually, the non-"doctored" video did portray a false reality -- the idea that Pelosi had nothing but "verbal fumbles" during that press conference -- which, by D'Agostino's definition, makes it "doctored." And calling a heavily edited clip "otherwise unedited" defies reality.

Joseph Chalfant then took a crack at parsing things, comparing it with a different video of Pelosi tweeted out by Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani:

The video retweeted by Trump was only a mash-up of the slip-ups Pelosi had Thursday during her weekly press conference. The video retweeted by Giuliani was a slowed-down video of Pelosi speaking that made her seem as if she was slurring her words. CNN hosts and guests regularly called both of the videos “doctored” despite the fact that nothing was altered in the tweet Trump sent.

Chalfant then complained: "It seems that whenever Democrats' own words are used against them by conservatives, the liberal media will be there to energetically defend them."

Kristine Marsh followed in a May 28 post:

On Tuesday’s show, the hosts of ABC’s The View conflated two unflattering videos starring Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that circulated social media late last week. While only one video was altered, the co-hosts claimed both were “fake,” angrily came to Pelosi’s defense, and demanded that both “doctored” videos needed to be taken down.


Whoopi [Goldberg] then made a fair argument, that political opponents should be beaten “fair and square” without resorting to doctored videos. However that’s a moot point when the video Trump tweeted about Pelosi wasn’t doctored at all, it just was unflattering to her. Still, Whoopi called both videos, “lies” from the right[.]

Alexander Hall and Corinne Weaver sniffed that the videos merely "made Nancy Pelosi look silly" and criticized those who sought their removal from social media.

Tim Graham and Brent Bozell felt the need to weigh in on this as well in a column filled with their usual whataboutism:

When President Trump creates a verbal miscue, the late-night comedy brigade has a field day. A misspelled tweet. A facial expression. A hand gesture. It takes nothing to trigger media mockery.  What if it's a Democrat?  In the Dobbs video, Pelosi cites “three things” while holding up two fingers. If you think anyone in late-night world is going to pan Pelosi for mental errors, you’re not paying attention.

The perpetually angry left and their allies in the “news” media were outraged that Facebook and Twitter didn’t take down the distorted Pelosi video, although Facebook “deprioritized” it, making it less visible. They don’t remember how they have mangled videotape (and audiotape), like NBC mangling George Zimmerman’s phone call about Trayvon Martin. Or everyone pretending President Trump called all immigrants “animals” when he was discussing MS-13 murderers. Or everyone misrepresenting the Covington Catholic kids as hate-speech villains.

Graham and Bozell even justified mocking Pelosi, complaining that one media outlet "insisted that the Fox Business clip package “offered a misleading impression of a perfectly coherent 21-minute news conference” (as if holding up two figures and saying “three” is perfectly coherent). "

They then used the videos to push their tired victimization narrative: "Right now, it seems to conservative Americans that the current policy is to take down videos and accounts quickly and haphazardly, often based on angry left-wing activist complaints. Conservatives cannot count on the 'independent fact checkers' to police videos, since they have all the same leftist biases as these activists and the "news" media. If these imbalanced current practices continue, these social-media companies will be as mistrusted as the Old Media."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:46 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 10, 2019 3:09 PM EDT

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