Two videos mocking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were hot topics heading into Memorial Day weekend. One distorted and slowed down Pelosi’s speech at the Center for American Progress to create the impression she was drunk. The other one was an edited package of Pelosi’s very real verbal blunders and stammers that aired on the Fox Business program “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”
President Trump was slammed for retweeting the Lou Dobbs video, and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani was condemned for sharing (but then taking down) the distorted “drunken” Pelosi video. It’s routinely suggested by the left that nearly all misinformation in America can be blamed on Trump and his backers.
Trump fakes aren’t considered outrageous. In January, a video of Trump’s first address from the Oval Office was badly doctored by a Seattle TV station, making it look as if the president was sticking his tongue out languidly between sentences, and he appeared more orange than he looked in the actual video. This wasn’t unnoticed. Millions of his supporters saw this and were outraged. It undoubtedly came across the radar screen of those same journalists who are now so upset about the Pelosi videos.
Yawn. It’s Trump. Trump deserves it.
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” and holds up two fingers. If you think anyone in the late-night world is going to pan Pelosi for mental errors, you’re not paying attention.
The perpetually angry left and its allies in the “news” media were outraged that Facebook and Twitter didn’t take down the distorted Pelosi video, although Facebook reportedly “deprioritized” it, making it less visible. They don’t remember how they have mangled videotape (and audiotape), like when NBC was sued for allegedly mangling George Zimmerman’s phone call about Trayvon Martin. Or when everyone pretended President Trump called all immigrants “animals” when he was really discussing MS-13 murderers. Or when everyone misrepresented the Covington Catholic kids as hate-speech villains.
The Washington Post editorial board felt a need to pronounce on the subject on Friday, trying to play the role of Solomon, only to make the situation even more lopsided. “The ‘slurring’ video, accompanied by manufactured accusations of drunkenness, may fall on one side of the [censorship] line,” the Post proclaimed. “The stammering video may fall on the other.”
It may fall on the free speech side of the line? A truthful, untouched video may be OK? Be still our hearts.
The Post 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 snidely added the president did not “pull it from the right-wing fever swamps of social media. He took it instead from the fever swamp of Fox Business Network.”
The social media giants should strive to create a clear and balanced standard for what content will be banned, no matter which party is affected. 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.
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L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.