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Dec 10, 2023, 8:38pm EST
mediapoliticstechNorth America

NBC News demands Trump campaign take down fake clip of reporter

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The Scoop

NBC News has demanded that Donald Trump’s campaign remove a video that includes audio deceptively edited to seem like it comes from an NBC correspondent after the third presidential debate, two people familiar with the exchange told Semafor.

The video in question, shared by a top Trump adviser, opens with authentic footage of NBC News senior Capitol Hill correspondent Garrett Haake previewing the debate for the network. It soon cuts to video of each candidate as a voiceover — in Haake’s voice — makes disparaging comments about the candidates.

“This is Ron DeSantis: An establishment RINO that wears insoles in order to look taller,” the voiceover says. “And this is Nikki Haley: Nobody really gives a shit about Nikki Haley.”

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The video was shared by Trump senior adviser Chris LaCivita, who tweeted: “Now this is reporting!” Shortly after posting the video, LaCivita followed up: “To keep @NBCNews Lawyers off my ass, please note…. THIS IS A PARODY!”

A Trump spokesperson highlighted LaCivita’s follow-up tweet but declined to comment further. An NBCUniversal spokesperson declined to comment.

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Shelby and Max's View

This video is likely another example of the AI-assisted fakes that have grown more popular in the political world in recent years. In June, DeSantis’ campaign shared fake images of Trump embracing Dr. Anthony Fauci, prompting outrage among Trump supporters online.

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While there have been relatively few high-profile examples so far, AI experts and lawmakers have been sounding the alarm that fake videos and imagery could upend campaigns.

And while it’s clear to much of the media world that this audio is not actually Haake, casual observers might not immediately realize it’s fake — prompting legitimate concerns about what this type of content could mean for journalists’ careers and reputations.

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Notable

  • Meta rolled out a new policy last month requiring political advertisers on Facebook and Instagram to disclose if their ads contain AI-generated or -altered imagery, video or audio.
  • Video verification — a time-intensive form of fact-checking that requires both tech-savviness and investigative chops — is an area of growing interest within newsrooms, as evidenced by CBS’ newly-announced “CBS Verified” team, which will focus on AI-assisted fakes in particular.
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