WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Republican Representative Steve Scalise posted a ‘doctored’ video on Twitter that was ‘doctored’ to attack Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
- The edited footage, showing the interview between Biden and health care activist and ALS patient Ady Barkan, appeared like Biden said he was open to redirecting the police budget.
- Scalise removed the tweet but reiterated its stance: “he [Biden] is open to redirecting funding away from the police, and that is clear in our video.”
Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise removed a malicious video he posted earlier on Twitter. The video that showed a scripted clip of a disabled activist took offense against Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Scalise shared on Twitter a clip of a July interview between Biden and Ady Barkan, a paralyzed ALS patient and a health care advocate who uses a computer-generated voice to speak.
During their conversation, Barkan spoke about the idea of transferring law enforcement budget to social services, mental health counseling, and affordable housing, and asked Biden if he was inclined to support such kind of provision.
“I’ve proposed that kind of reform. And by the way, the idea, though — that’s not the same as getting rid of or defunding all the police,” Biden said, before proceeding to discuss his proposed reform.
“But do we agree that we can redirect some of the funding?” Barkan asked. Biden then replied with a “yes, absolutely.”
The video that Scalise shared on Twitter was altered. The words “for police,” which were extracted from a different portion of the interview, were added to Barkan’s funding question ⏤ making it sound like: “But do we agree that we can redirect some of the funding for police?” [Emphasis added.]
Barkan retweeted the video and called out Scalise, saying, “These are not my words. I have lost my ability to speak, but not my agency or my thoughts. You and your team have doctored my words for your own political gain. Please remove this video immediately. You owe the entire disability community an apology.”
Biden then backed Barkan’s tweet, writing, “This video is doctored — and a flagrant attempt to spread misinformation at the expense of a man who uses assistive technology. It should be removed. Now.”
Twitter tagged the video as “manipulated media.”
Moments later, Scalise’s post was omitted as a response to Barkan’s statement. Without issuing an apology, the legislator tweeted: “While Joe Biden clearly said ‘yes,’ twice, to the question of his support to redirect money away from police, we will honor the request of @AdyBarkan and remove the portion of his interview from our video.”
Scalise’s spokesperson Lauren Fine confessed that the video was edited but argued that Biden’s position remains clear.
“When asked twice, he [Biden] says ‘yes’ he is open to redirecting funding away from the police, and that is clear in our video,” she said.
The House Ethics Committee in January declared that lawmakers or their personnel “posting deep fakes or other audio-visual distortions intended to mislead the public may be in violation of the Code of Official Conduct.”