Media Blow A Gasket Over ‘Doctored’ Bloomberg Debate Video
Michael Bloomberg had a very bad night on Wednesday.
The former New York City mayor got hammered in his first debate for the Democrat presidential nomination. While he had soared up the charts since entering the race, he quickly plunged back to Earth after his dismal performance, in which he often rolled his eyes and looked like a deer in the headlights.
But the billionaire got back at his opponents with a clever video he posted on Twitter the next day. The clip starts with Bloomberg saying, “I’m the only one here I think that’s ever started a business. Is that fair?” The camera then cuts to every other candidate running for the nomination, but not one utters a sound.
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 20, 2020
Pretty funny, especially the crickets chirping.
But the media lost their minds over the clip, which had clearly been altered to make his point that Bloomberg is, in fact, the only candidate who ever started a business.
Marc Caputo, a reporter covering the 2020 presidential campaign for the liberal site Politico, was filled with angst.
“In Bloomberg’s edited video, his question about starting a business goes unanswered for 22 seconds. But it was actually 2,” he wrote on Twitter. “Comedic effect of the cricket chirping aside, the viewer might not know this deceptively edits in video that didn’t happen like this.”
For a while now, campaigns have edited in sound over debate clips. But it's clear it's for dramatic effect.
Bloomberg actually inserts video that never happened & that's not clear to viewers.
It's not quite a Deep Fake. Maybe it's a Shallow Fake? https://t.co/dNTJtMvVKu
— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) February 20, 2020
CNN political reporter Dana Bash was also aghast.
“There is a video that his campaign tweeted this morning that didn’t happen. It is a deceptively edited video,” Bash said. While she noted the campaign said the clip is meant to be funny, she said “we are so concerned about things that are doctored, deep fakes on the internet.”
“New York Times reporter Azi Paybarah compared it to a similarly criticized video put out by President Donald Trump’s campaign after the State of the Union, where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) was depicted tearing up his speech during its more poignant moments. Pelosi did rip up the speech, but only after Trump concluded,” Free Beacon reported.
Business Insider wrote Bloomberg’s video was “incredibly misleading,” and liberal outlet Talking Points Memo called it “doctored.” NBC News fact checked the video, with reporter Maura Barrett calling it “manipulated.”
Others got their undies in a wad, too.
Jesse Lehrich, a Democratic strategist and former spokesman for Hillary Clinton, said “between this deceptively edited video, the TV & radio ads that imply Obama endorsed him, the paid social media/texting that’s designed to seem organic… Bloomberg is weaponizing disinfo in ways that fundamentally undermine democracy.”
between this deceptively edited video, the TV & radio ads that imply Obama endorsed him, the paid social media/texting that's designed to seem organic…
Bloomberg is weaponizing disinfo in ways that fundamentally undermine democracy. https://t.co/nmSyEC82qB
— Jesse Lehrich (@JesseLehrich) February 20, 2020
On and on it went.
That noise you hear? Another alarm bell for our democracy going off.
Truly horrifying that the Bloomberg team put out such a deceptively edited video. https://t.co/DyzZ9DAEi8
— Stef Feldman (@StefFeldman) February 20, 2020
This is deceptively edited propaganda. Mike Bloomberg was destroyed in the debate last night, rightly attacked for the racist policies he pushed and his history of sexual misconduct. Mike Bloomberg is a fraud, attempting to buy the nomination. Don’t be fooled. https://t.co/M8FeJzz0SP
— Andom Ghebreghiorgis (@AndomForNY) February 20, 2020
Finally, a Bloomberg staffer came out to quiet the mob.
“It’s tongue in cheek,” Bloomberg press secretary Galia Slayen said in a statement. “There were obviously no crickets on the debate stage.”