It seems like only yesterday we were being told that hosting the big Republican lie-o-rama on Wednesday night could help Fox News regain some of the credibility it never had to begin with. The fatal flaw in that theory is that it presumes Fox gives a damn about "credibility," which is a hard premise to justify when Fox hosts are using their fame to promote hoaxes at the exact same time. NBC News reports:
Fox News host Sean Hannity was among those who shared low-resolution video on X, the social media app formerly known as Twitter. Hannity’s post was viewed more than 425,000 times within a few hours, and similar videos posted by others received thousands more views on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.
The video in question is an intentionally low-resolution clip created to support yet another Republican hoax, this one claiming that President Joe Biden fell asleep during a memorial for the victims of the Maui fires. You can tell the video was created as a hoax because C-SPAN footage of the supposed moment is not grainy, and shows Biden looking down, coughing, nodding his approval at what the speaker is saying, and looking up again. None of it is out of place with what you’d see at any somber memorial. The video used to boost the hoax had to be low quality because the high-definition version simply disproves it.
Why a Fox News talking head thinks it's inappropriate to bow your head during a memorial is, at best, confusing, but conservatives just finished showing us they don't understand why people pet dogs, so it's clear that nonsociopathic behavior during national tragedies is simply beyond their comprehension.
What does Hannity think appropriate memorial-service behavior looks like? Should Biden have started throwing rolls of paper towels at people? If any of these supposed top-of-their-industry bobbleheads had not had their brains rotted out by defending decades of powerful Republicans’ trashy behavior, Hannity wouldn't be scouring Xitter for new fake smears to peddle.
The memorial event wasn't the only footage that conservative hoaxers tampered with. Another faked video overlays footage of Biden touring fire damage with anti-Biden chants, which supposedly came from fire victims.
One suspects the value of such hoaxes has jumped due to Xitter rewarding conservative posters with cash based on their ability to generate traffic. It surely would have happened either way, though.
Unfortunately, deepfake videos can already be crafted to depict public figures saying anything a hoaxer wants them to say. Now hoaxers are making it impossible to trust footage of a breaking-news event or a supposed gaffe.
This is why it is more important, not less, to hold people in power to account for boosting hoaxes. Creating alternative factual universes is a primary means of capturing and retaining control. And we lose more hope for a better world every time political figures and pundits shrug off their responsibility to separate truth from fiction.
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We talk about the upcoming Republican presidential debate and how sad a situation it is. The Republican Party shot itself in the foot with a Trump-sized bullet and now it's stuck with him for the foreseeable future. We still try to game out the possible paths the Republican field might take in order to rid themselves of the Donald.