Opinion | The Fake Nancy Pelosi Video Hijacked Our Attention. Just as Intended. – The New York Times

Charlie Warzel

By Charlie Warzel

Mr. Warzel is an Opinion writer at large.

CreditJoel Saget/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“Last week, a series of manipulated videos — subtly slowed down and then pitch-corrected to make it appear as if the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, was drunk or incapacitated — were published across Facebook and other social networks, including YouTube and Twitter.

The swift spread of agitation propaganda and the creep of hyperpartisanship across social media isn’t a bug, it is a feature.

The videos were viewed millions of times. They were shared by the president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani (the tweet was later deleted) as well as dozens of supporters in the pro-Trump media. The president didn’t share the agitprop, but he did bang out a tweetquestioning the speaker’s well-being.

Mainstream media outlets, in an effort to debunk the viral clips, linked to the video or reposted portions of it themselves, side-by-side with the un-doctored footage of the House speaker. YouTube removed the video, but only after it amassed thousands of views. Twitter and Facebook did not remove the video (Facebook eventually added “fact check” links to the clips). Journalists and pundits debated the social networks’ decisions to leave the video up, while others lamented the rise of political misinformation, filter bubbles, the future of “deepfake” videos and the internet’s penchant to warp reality.”

The Dying of the Third-Party Dream, by  Ross Douthat – The New York Times

“Of all the strange images of this strange campaign, I find myself particularly struck by this vision: Mitt Romney, pacing alone in one of his many houses, his angst evident in his faintly mussed-up hair, placing pleading phone calls to Republican politicians asking them to run as a third-party candidate against Donald Trump.That bizarre, existential one-act play — “Conversations About Trump,” opening Off Broadway, with Josh Brolin as Romney and the voice of William H. Macy as John Kasich — is apparently where the quest for a conservative alternative to Trump and Hillary Clinton ran into a wall.”

Source: The Dying of the Third-Party Dream – The New York Times

This piece so enraged me that I wrote a tirade, that the NYT would not print. And I was in a hurry, and didn’t make a copy.

I wrote something like, the subtext of Douthat’s argument is that Hillary Clinton is a disaster for the country, equal to Trump,  and  that Obama has been a disaster. According the right wing propaganda hate machines, the extraordinary leader, President Barack Obama has been a disaster. The reason, unsaid, is because he is a nigger. Mitch McConnell said, we will oppose him on everything, regardless of what he is for. Hillary Clinton is of course, a disaster for the country, because she worked for the the first black predident, and she is a lying corrupt witch.  I admitted that I hadn’t even finished the op-ed piece, but though my language was harsh, the ideas are sound. Had I finished Douthat’s lament, I would have realized it was mostly about Mitt Romney, and I should have incorporated that into my rant.

Many of the commentators were nearly as upset as I was, but more articulate or polite.
Here is an excellent one, but where I have cleaned up some typos and double negative issues.
Bounarotti Boston. MA 1 day ago

“Can we please nip this Hillary is despised because she’s patently corrupt nonsense in the bud. This is the fruit of a long standing Republican smear campaign 25 years in the making. What exactly has Hillary actually done – not is accused of having done – that earns her the label “corrupt.” We all have developed such short attention spans that we seem to forget that with all the Republican accusations of misdeeds by Hillary, careful investigation ultimately reveals that there is no substance to any of them. She did nothing wrong in Whitewater, she didn’t kill or move the body of Vince Foster, and she didn’t willfully let 4 Americans die in Benghazi.
Why are we letting a long standing, carefully cultivated, manufactured narrative about her take on credence? Why is there suddenly rising an infamous equivalence between Hillary’s moral character and that of a well-documented sleaze ball like Trump? Why do even some Democrats sink to believing these baseless smears, thereby validating the Republican dirty tricksters who since Lee Atwater have believed that if you repeat a thing often enough – regardless of its lack of factual basis – a lot of intellectually lazy people will believe it.
Start demanding factual support for Republican allegations of wrongdoing on Hillary’s part. And while you’re at it, start demanding that Trump provide the occasional fact for the wild things that fly out of his mouth on a daily basis.
Have we really become this stupid a people?”

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