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Right-Wing Outlets Spread Fake Pelosi Video, Slowed To Make Her Appear Drunk: Report

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Right-Wing Outlets Spread Fake Pelosi Video, Slowed To Make Her Appear Drunk: Report

A distorted video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), altered to make her sound as if she’s drunkenly slurring her words, has spread across right-wing social media accounts, reports The Washington Post.

A 3-minute video of Pelosi’s onstage speech Wednesday at a Center for American Progress event, was “subtly edited to make her voice sound garbled and warped,” reports the newspaper.

The video was then circulated widely across Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

A version of the distorted video, shared by the conservative Facebook page Politics WatchDog, has been viewed nearly 2 million times, been shared more than 39,500 times.

Some Facebook users called her “drunk” and “a babbling mess.”

One user wrote: “Good Lord lady ..How many drinks did you have today.”

The Washington Post reports:

The origin of the altered video remains unclear but its spread across social media comes amid a growing feud between congressional Democrats and Trump. In addition to links from multiple YouTube and Twitter accounts, the video has appeared in the comments sections of message boards and regional news outlets.

Analyses of the video by Washington Post journalists and outside researchers indicate that the video has been slowed to about 75 percent of its original speed. To possibly correct for how that speed change would deepen her tone, the video also appears to have been altered to modify her pitch, to more closely resemble the sound of her natural speech.

The altered video’s spread highlights the subtle way that viral misinformation could shape public understanding in the run-up to the 2020 election. Spreaders of misinformation don’t need sophisticated technology to go viral: Even simple, crude manipulations can be used to undermine an opponent or score political points.

“There is no question that the video has been slowed to alter Pelosi’s voice,” said Hany Farid, a computer-science professor and digital-forensics expert at University of California, Berkeley.

“It is striking that such a simple manipulation can be so effective and believable to some,” he added. “While I think that deepfake technology poses a real threat,” he said, in reference to more sophisticated computer-altered videos, “this type of low-tech fake shows that there is a larger threat of misinformation campaigns — too many of us are willing to believe the worst in people that we disagree with.”

Here’s an excerpt of Pelosi’s speech playing at normal speed:

Here is an altered version of the video playing at 75% speed to make Pelosi appear drunk:


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