Since ramping up his 2020 presidential campaign, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has faced quite a bit of backlash over comments he’s made in years past. But this time, it isn’t the billionaire’s history that’s coming back to haunt him.
Following the Democrats’ latest presidential primary debate in Nevada on Wednesday, Bloomberg posted what appeared to be a clip from the event on Twitter. But fact-checkers soon found that the video had been deceptively edited, and The Washington Post even gave the former mayor “Four Pinocchios” for the clip, its worst rating, according to IJR.
The video begins with Bloomberg pressing his fellow 2020 hopefuls, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden: “I’m the only one here that I think has ever started a business, is that fair?”
According to a report from The Hill, “crickets can be heard as the video [then] scans each of his fellow candidates.” The camera pans from former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who appears to attempt to respond before stopping herself.
The crickets stop when Bloomberg decides that his point has been proven. “Okay,” he says, as the video cuts off. Take a look at the clip for yourself here:
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 20, 2020
“Don’t be fooled”
Unfortunately for Bloomberg, it didn’t take long for the media to realize the video had been altered. IJR reported:
In reality, there was only a two-second silence between Bloomberg asking the question and saying “okay.” … [C]lips of the other candidates looking uncomfortable were actually taken from other moments in the debate, according to the [Washington] Post.
Numerous Twitter users also sounded off about the allegedly doctored clip.
“This is deceptively edited propaganda,” Andom Ghebreghiorgis, a Democrat who is running for Congress out of New York’s 16th district, wrote of Bloomberg’s video, according to The Hill. “Mike Bloomberg is a fraud, attempting to buy the nomination. Don’t be fooled.”
Democrat strategist Jesse Lehrich opined: “Bloomberg is weaponizing disinfo[rmation] in ways that fundamentally undermine democracy.”
Bloomberg’s clip is still live on Twitter, but according to IJR, the platform has said that it will ramp up its efforts to fight back against similarly manipulated videos — starting in March. Facebook, meanwhile, “has said that the video does not violate any of its policies,” IJR reported.
With that, it looks like Bloomberg’s lies will slip through the cracks this time. But how long can the former mayor get away with this kind of manipulation? Only time will tell.