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White House ‘cheap fakes’ response to Biden videos part of push for social media censorship: expert

As the general election season nears, White House officials are dismissing as "cheap fakes" a series of viral videos circulating on social media that purport to show President Biden in declining mental acuity. But a conservative tech expert counters that the videos are genuinely troubling and that the Biden shop's pushback is part of an "election buzzword" effort aimed at pressuring social media platforms to "take action" against it. "The discredited right-wing critics of President Biden who spread other debunked lies, including that the 2020 election was stolen, are clearly threatened by the wide range of nonpartisan fact-checkers that have pulled back the curtain on the cheap fake smears theyâre forced to rely on â since the last thing they want to discuss is Joe Bidenâs agenda to cut taxes for working families and keep bringing violent crime to historic lows," White House spokesperson Andrew Bates told Fox News Digital. "Their panicked reaction to mainstream reporters, including at The Washington Post, NBC News, and PolitiFact, citing misinformation experts taking anti-Biden cheap fakes apart says more than we ever could," Bates added.

But a conservative tech expert counters that the videos are genuinely troubling and that the Biden shop’s pushback is part of an “election buzzword” effort aimed at pressuring social media platforms to “take action” against it.

“The discredited right-wing critics of President Biden who spread other debunked lies, including that the 2020 election was stolen, are clearly threatened by the wide range of nonpartisan fact-checkers that have pulled back the curtain on the cheap fake smears they’re forced to rely on – since the last thing they want to discuss is Joe Biden’s agenda to cut taxes for working families and keep bringing violent crime to historic lows,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates told Fox News Digital.

“Their panicked reaction to mainstream reporters, including at The Washington Post, NBC News, and PolitiFact, citing misinformation experts taking anti-Biden cheap fakes apart says more than we ever could,” Bates added.

In recent weeks, videos of Biden from various events appear to show him “confused.”

One video shows him turning away from the group of world leaders at a D-Day anniversary event in France to speak to a parachuter.

Another video appeared him being uncertain of when it was time to sit down, and another video this week showed him being led off the stage by former President Obama at a fundraising event.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre doubled down that these videos were “cheap fakes,” which the Media Manipulation Case Book defines as “altered media” that does not require advanced technology, like “photoshopping (including face swapping), lookalikes, as well as speeding and slowing video.”

The term was used in some news articles as early as 2019, but there were significantly more this week following the videos on social media of Biden.

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“It’s also very insulting to the folks, the viewers who are watching it. And so we believe we have to call that out. We’ve been calling it ‘cheap fakes.’ That is something that came directly from the media outlets in calling it that, the fact-checkers … calling it that. And so we’re certainly going to be really, really clear about that as well. And calling it out from where we are, from where we stand,” Jean-Pierre told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace on Tuesday.

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Not everyone is buying the explanation, however. This is all part of “election slogans and buzzwords,” according to Heritage Foundation tech researcher Jake Denton.

“It’s very clear what’s going on here,” Denton told Fox News Digital. “They’re trying to push a new term underneath the school of misinformation to try and pressure social media companies to take action on videos of this nature.”

The term “cheap fake” is also being used just a week before Biden is scheduled to debate former President Trump, the GOP front-runner in the general election.

“This kind of requires a ramp-up stage where you allege that something is a ‘cheap fake,’ or that it’s malicious in some way related to misinformation, and then you have essentially the evidence, the fact pattern, whatever, to go and push the social media companies with takedown requests, because it’s misinformation regarding an election. So to me, that’s kind of the seed that’s being planted here.”

Denton additionally labeled “misinformation experts” under the umbrella of “pseudo-science” born from “digital politics.” Failed academics who then try to rebrand themselves have found a home in this emerging area online, Denton said, at independent fact-check websites and organizations, and even media outlets.

“At the end of the day, there’s really not a lot of science to it,” Denton said. “They’re experts, but what are they really analyzing? There is truth that there’s a need for expertise in deepfake production, but when it comes to something like a cheap fake or just the broader term of misinformation, you’re largely just sifting through junk on social media and saying what’s real and what isn’t; it’s not really a very scientific or professional exercise.”

Denton continued that the administration’s intention is to “gaslight” the American public into believing that what they see on social media misrepresents his current state.

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