Recently, the Trump campaign for re-election altered photos of Joe Biden for their ad. A photo of Biden sitting on a floor among other people was changed to remove the other people, and was captioned to appear as if he was hiding in his basement, alone. A second photo, in which he appears to be touching his brow with his knuckle while holding a microphone, has been altered to remove the mic, and was captioned with the word “diminished”.
Spinning the opponent’s words and body language in a negative light is part of the political game, especially during an election year. However, now we are seeing something different. This isn’t an attempt to change people’s minds about the meaning of what they see – this is changing what they see.
Let’s forget for a moment that it is pretty rich for Trump’s campaign to be attacking Biden with insinuations of cowardice and diminished capacity. Some phrase about people in glass houses comes to mind. Beyond that, it is extremely worrisome to see anyone faking the evidence upon which their argument is based. It’s pretty damned pompous to think that it wouldn’t be caught.
The saddest thing is that this type of fakery is becoming more and more the stuff of “news” and politics.
This past June, Fox news was caught reporting on Seattle protests with doctored photos, which added a heavily armed man to a photo of the protesters in Portland. This was not the first instance of manipulation used by the conservative news network, but it was certainly more egregious than others. The link between the two instances is the conservative trend of using altered images to make their political points, rather than basing them in fact.
It’s sickening the amount of time and effort that is going into manipulating images and facts in order to make political strides – time and effort that could be going towards dealing with real issues and coming up with real solutions. I loathe the use of attack ads during campaigns, because the voters want real talk about issues that effect their lives. Instead of pretending that the Democratic candidate is sitting alone in a basement, couldn’t that considerable war chest of an advertising budget be spent on talking about the President’s plan of action for the next four years? We’d all love to know why he should keep the job, rather than this weak, cheap talk about why Biden is too “sleepy” to do it better.
Let’s keep pushing back at this use of doctored images by news outlets and attack campaigns. People want to base their opinions on facts, and faking photos to suit your own agenda does the opposite of inspiring confidence. If you are lying about basic things, how are you to be trusted on the larger issues?