Doctoring or highlighting?

Doctoring or highlighting?

PE Bias Grade : F

By: Allen Nitschelm on February 13, 2020 | Article Review

This is a review of the following Boston Globe Article:
Article Title Doctored video of Pelosi to stay online
Date 02/10/2020
Article Link Boston Globe ( Page A7 )
Syndicated From New York Times
Journalist Unsigned NYT article
Article Summary

Short article says Facebook won’t remove “doctored” video which is clearly parody and protected by the First Amendment.

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The Boston Globe attempts to confuse readers by mixing up “doctored” videos meant to intentionally fool people into believing what they see (the video) with what actually happened, and legitimate political-commentary videos which have been obviously edited. The first example is an attempt at deception, but the second is free speech. The video that President Trump tweeted of Nancy Pelosi ripping up her copy of the State of the Union speech is political commentary and is very clearly not an attempt at falsifying what happened.

The key question is whether reasonable people are fooled, and they would not be. Not if you saw the speech, not if you read about it, and not if you watched the video. The reason is actually contained in the article: it is a five-minute video. Her act of ripping up the speech is repeated probably 10 times. It is obviously cut in. Her actual ripping up the speech took about 10 seconds.

This is not a “deep fake” which many people have been learning about. Just like they used to doctor photos to create false information, they can now do the same with videos. So just because something is on video doesn’t necessarily mean it is true. But this video has nothing to do with that issue. Nobody who saw the video would think it was a true representation. In fact, because it jumps around to different topics that Trump covered, it is obviously edited.

Most people who follow the news, and anyone who watched the speech, know she stood up and ripped up the speech after Trump finished speaking. So to those people, this clearly is commentary. What the video does is cut in her ripping up the speech after different parts of the speech where Trump praises a few citizens or talks about the economic success of women or minorities, or touts other accomplishments. Trump is highlighting the point that Pelosi was, in effect, ripping up the content of his speech. And the message he tried to give is that America is doing well. (It was a “state of the union” speech after all.)

This Globe article is very biased, because it implies that this is part of Facebook and Twitter’s attempt to stop “fake news.” It says that the companies “rejected” Pelosi’s attempt to take the video down and then later said this was part of their effort to combat “the spread of misinformation” and that the social media companies were allowing political videos to stay online despite being “deceptive or false.” But this particular video is neither deceptive or false, so that is a misleading reference in this context.

It was also fun to watch Trump recount how well women did under this economic expansion, and then the sea of Democrat women, all wearing white, sitting there not clapping the success of American women. The fact that most Democrats didn’t clap America’s successes was not highlighted in this video but that would have been a good addition. Unfortunately, it would have been an hour-long video.

Anyway, this isn’t about a “doctored” video, this is about political commentary and Nancy Pelosi didn’t like it and she should be ashamed at her conduct at an official speech, mandated by the Constitution, in which Pelosi INVITED Donald Trump to give the speech. She isn’t going to win hostess of the year award after that performance.

The video is worth watching and it clearly is in the realm of political commentary and parody, not an attempt to show that Pelosi ripped up the speech 10 times in exactly the same way each time. It is about symbolism and it is very effective.

Here is a USA today story about the controversy with a link to the Youtube video:


Allen Nitschelm is publisher of He critiques the Boston Globe, mostly focusing on the bias in their news reporting. News articles are graded for bias, and the website has a listing of the average bias ratings for all reporters reviewed. See our website for more information and the four categories of articles we publish.

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