how is this a two-day story?
How is our media even semi-seriously debating whether this breezy little Twitter fart…
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 20, 2020
…is “disinformation” worthy of 24+ hours of overheated analysis like this?
NBC’s Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) on Bloomberg’s “doctored video”: Twitter’s new policy flagging “disinformation” will include videos like this.
“If nobody will stop [disinfo], it can change narratives or change the outcome of the election.” pic.twitter.com/4aINQNjWxH
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 21, 2020
Go read Becket Adams’s round-up of yesterday’s hottest media takes about the alleged Danger To Democracy posed by Team Mike’s video. Last night WaPo’s “fact-checker” bestowed Four Pinocchios on the clip, a rating normally reserved for the most blatant and momentous political lies.
What is happening?
Bloomberg’s aides have now had to go on the record, multiple times, with the press to formally clarify that the video was made in jest. “It’s tongue-in-cheek. There were obviously no crickets on the debate stage,” said spokesman Julie Wood to WaPo. A different spokesman, Sabrina Singh, turned up on MSNBC this morning and dutifully informed the host, “It was a parody video. There were no crickets that you could hear on stage.”
To which the host replied, “But why do that?”
To which I replied: What?
The funniest part is that the cable-news outlets that are doing segments about it keep replaying the clip. In both the segment embedded above and the one with Singh, MSNBC amplified this supposedly insidious propaganda by beaming it out anew to its viewers.
It’s so embarrassing that a Trump appointee, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, felt obliged to pipe up on “Mini Mike’s” behalf:
Political satire is one of the oldest and most important forms of free speech.
It challenges those in power while using humor to draw more people in to the discussion.
Equating this type of political speech with doctored deepfakes or illegal content is a serious mistake. pic.twitter.com/ZN2zSmvpIg
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) February 21, 2020
For the sake of my own sanity I need to know that this is all kabuki, nothing more or less than an orchestrated bad-faith effort by Bloomberg-hating liberals to gin up a new reason to hate him. I can stomach the thought of a media that openly colludes with each other to push politically useful narratives which they don’t necessarily really believe in; righties have been living with that for ages. The more terrifying alternative is that these people really have gone so far around the bend with their own self-serving “guardians of truth” horsesh*t that they’ve sincerely lost the ability to distinguish glaringly obvious parody memes from malicious disinformation.
But even if it’s kabuki it makes no sense. There are so many more fruitful ways than this that the media might damage Bloomberg if that’s what it’s out to do. Vanity Fair published a piece a few days ago about Bloomy’s alleged habit of trash-talking St. Barack Obama behind his back, a claim to which a lot of Obama-loving undecided Democratic voters would surely react badly. “Mike would have dinner parties and piss all over Obama when he was president. I know because I attended them,” said one donor to VF. If the agenda is to wreck the plutocrat and make democracy safe for socialism, why not focus on that instead of criticism that the average viewer will absorb and think, “Do these people have brain damage?”