By Frank Wessling
There was once an age of innocence in which we could say that words might lie, but a picture doesn’t lie. This hasn’t been true for some time now, especially since the coming of computer programs able to manipulate pictures with a few keystrokes.
That kind of lying continues to spread into video and every kind of imaging. The editing programs are even used by children on networking Web sites such as YouTube. But the worst examples come from supposed adults and their efforts to pollute our discussion of public issues. And the worst of the worst are those that sin against a person’s reputation and character.
FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, reported early this month on a YouTube video titled “Obama Admits He Is A Muslim.” FactCheck investigators found that the video is actually made of snippets from more than one Obama appearance and cuts out his statement “I’m a Christian” and a comment about “my Christian faith.”
Says FactCheck, “The video edits and twists his actual words” and “provides an interesting case study of malicious editing.”
It may be “interesting” to fact-checkers, but it is also high-tech lying, intentional deceit and a significant contributor to a lack of trust that hurts us in so many ways. We must not forget that.