NY Times Readers Aren't Buying the Democratic Talking Point About 'Cheap Fake" Videos

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The NY Times has joined the fray in the battle over "cheap fake" videos, a phrase the White House has recently helped push in response to videos of Biden looking really old.


In the last two weeks, conservative news outlets, the Republican National Committee and the Trump team have circulated videos of Mr. Biden that lacked important context and twisted mundane moments to paint him in an unflattering light. Among other things, they created the impression that the president:

Wandered off during a meeting with other Group of 7 leaders, an image that The New York Post ran on its front page (he was greeting paratroopers)

This is extremely irritating and dumb. First of all, the original video that circulated online showed the paratrooper that Biden was trying to talk to. Here's a comparison of the original clip and what CBS claimed was an altered version. They are identical.

So the first problem with this analysis is that there is no fake in this cheap fake. But the bigger problem is that if you actually observe what is happening, it's extremely clear that Biden did wander off. There is a landing area directly in front of the gathered G7 leaders who are clearly aware there are cameras placed in front of them to capture their reactions to the spectacle. This is a standard photo op and they are supposed to be presenting themselves as a unified group of world leaders. All of them are looking in the same direction except Biden and then, as he looks off to the side, Macron of France also looks in that direction.


Now watch what happens closely. As Biden wanders off to the right of the screen, Ursula von der Leyen from the EU Commission says something that he apparently doesn't hear. He walks away and she looks over at him. Macron then helpfully steps into the gap that Biden has created from the rest of the group and Italian PM Meloni also walks that way, seeming to catch Macron's eye as she does so. Basically, the whole group of leaders repositions itself so Biden isn't off by himself. Finally, Meloni grabs his arm and turns him around toward the cameras. Watch for yourself:

This clip shows exactly what people said it did. It's Joe Biden wandering away and having to be pulled in by an entire group of leaders who are trying to prevent him from ruining the photo op. And really, they were right to do it because a photo of Biden off on his own or with his back turned to everyone else could become its own story, i.e. America Loses Interest in Euro-Leaders or something of that sort. There's no escaping the fact that Biden lost focus on what he was supposed to be doing in this moment and everyone there noticed and tried to cover for him.


And here's another example. This one was fact-checked by the Associated Press:

CLAIM: Biden froze onstage during his fundraiser in Los Angeles on Saturday night and had to be led away by Obama.

THE FACTS: Biden paused amid cheers and applause as he exited the stage with his predecessor following an interview moderated by late-night host Kimmel...

Separate footage from the event provided to The Associated Press by Biden campaign spokesperson James Singer shows the president waving, pointing, clapping and giving the thumbs-up to the audience alongside Obama while Kimmel waits off to the side. Biden then stands still for about seven seconds looking out at the crowd. He starts moving again when Obama briefly takes his arm and puts his hand on his back as the pair walks offstage.

I count Biden standing there like a statue for 8 seconds but the point is, it only ended then because Obama grabbed his arm to move him to the exit. Had he not done that, Biden might have stood there motionless for much longer. Again, it's easy for the Democrats in the media to say there's nothing to see here but once again the people who were there with Biden felt the need to intervene. He was being played off stage and he wasn't moving. Obama took action, just like Macron and Meloni did at the G7 meeting.


Why do the people around President Biden feel the need to guide him by hand? That's what the media should be asking instead of offering us all this argle-bargle about "cheap fakes." It's a relief to see that many of the NY Times readers aren't buying the spin. Here's the top comment on the story I quoted above.

Yes, there are edited videos that make him seem old and, at times, confused.

There are also unedited videos that make him seem old and, at times, confused.

And the #2 comment with nearly 400 upvotes:

Telling people they are not seeing what they are seeing won't work.

Here's a good one:

Many of these videos are neither misleading or fake. They are unedited, taken from pool cameras and they are concerning. Joe Biden looks like what he is, a feeble old man who clearly is not up to another four year term as president. The videos could not be any clearer and it’s simply lying to claim they are fake. They are the sad truth and he needs to go to the videotape, then drop out of this race.

A great point made here. Why not just give some interviews to show us Biden is up to it?

There are very easy ways for Mr. Biden to combat this image - press conferences, live interviews with non-friendly press, release of the audio from his deposition, etc.  If he is as sharp as his supporters seem to think, then this is the best way to address the issue.  The fact that none of this has happened is telling.


I could literally go on and on with this. There are dozens more comments like this, each with many upvotes. People just are not buying the spin.

The reality is that Biden is very old and that is obvious to anyone who looks. It's also clearly obvious to many of the people in his immediate presence when he seems momentarily lost, which is why they keep dragging him by the arm. But the White House will keep pushing this absurd response about cheap fakes because they know this is the biggest negative they face in the election. If they can somehow shame people into ignoring the clear evidence they can see with their own eyes, they have a much better chance at winning.

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David Strom 12:40 PM | July 23, 2024