On Thursday, Twitter rebuffed a request from the Trump campaign to affix a “manipulated media” warning tag on a video reportedly pushed by Democrats, as The Hill reported, that had been deceptively edited so President Trump appeared to refer to the coronavirus as a “hoax.”
The Hill reported, “At issue is a new video that has been viewed millions of times featuring audio of Trump saying: ‘The coronavirus, this is their new hoax.’” The Hill noted that The Washington Post’s fact checkers gave Four Pinocchios to an ad former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign used with the same audio.
Trump had actually said, “Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs, you say, ‘How’s President Trump doing?’, ‘Oh, nothing, nothing.’ They have no clue, they don’t have any clue… And this is their new hoax. But you know we did something that’s been pretty amazing.”
The Post noted, “The full quote shows Trump is criticizing Democratic talking points and the media’s coverage of his administration’s response to coronavirus. He never says that the virus itself is a hoax, and although the Biden camp included the word ‘their,’ the edit does not make clear to whom or what Trump is referring.” Snopes, Politifactand FactCheck.org agreed.
Although the Trump campaign flagged the content for Twitter on Wednesday, Twitter claimed the video did not violate its manipulated media policy, as The Hill reported. Twitter responded, “Our site integrity team has reviewed against the Synthetic and Manipulated Media Policy and determined it does not qualify for a label at this time.”
Trump campaign spokesman Matt Wolking, taking note that Twitter had not removed the Biden ad, claiming its March 3 release preceded its new media manipulation policy and Twitter would not apply the policy retroactively, fired back at Twitter, snapping:
This is indisputable evidence that Twitter has one rule for the Trump campaign and another rule for Democrats. Twitter refused to apply its manipulated media label to a Biden campaign video that the Washington Post Fact Checker gave 4 Pinocchios for deceptive editing, and now Twitter is refusing to label a viral video that doctors audio of President Trump to spread misinformation about the coronavirus. Twitter’s political bias is obvious and it is actively choosing to protect Joe Biden.
Prior to Twitter’s refusal, Michael Glassner, the Trump campaign’s chief operating officer, fired off a letter to Twitter, stating:
It appears that many people employed by Big Tech corporations in Silicon Valley are assisting the Biden campaign by instituting a special ‘Biden protection rule’ that effectively censors and silences legitimate political speech Biden’s campaign and its supporters do not like. In order for American elections to remain free and fair, it is critical that the Biden campaign be held to the same standard it is demanding apply to others. Therefore, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., is formally requesting that Twitter apply its new ‘manipulated media’ label to a doctored and deceptively edited video tweeted by the Biden campaign less than a week ago. This Biden campaign video manipulates audio and video of President Trump in order to mislead Americans and give a false impression.
Yet as The Hill notes, “Twitter had previously deemed a Trump campaign video as manipulated for showing footage of a speech Biden delivered in Missouri earlier this month.”