Have Patience: Finding Facts in a Flurry of Fakes

I may have another post up today (people are coming to work on my roof, so we’ll see), but I saw this video from Beau of the Fifth Column, and thought I should share it. The basic overview is that a number of news outlets fell for one or both of a couple fake news stories. One was a photoshopped billboard supposedly saying “Glory to Urine” with the colors of the Ukrainian flag, and the other was an AI-generated video of Rand Paul showing up to work in a bathrobe (on a Saturday) to protest changes to the senate dress code. While the billboard isn’t necessarily new technology, the video is, and fakes of both media, and of audio, are getting better very, very quickly.

This is already a factor in our politics, and you can safely bet that there are organizations generating fake media for the purpose of influencing politics in the US, and around the world. What’s an honest skeptic to do? Well, there’s probably no guaranteed way to see through all of these fakes, but Beau makes the very good point that for anything sensational, someone’s going to dig into it, and if there’s reason to think it’s a fake, that will come out a little while after the media buzz has convinced a bunch of people that it’s real. That means that step one is to wait a day, and see what follows. There’s good reporting out there, but it generally takes time. Patience is a virtue, and when you’re constantly being subjected to misinformation and propaganda, it’s also an essential tool for those trying to figure out what’s going on.


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