So this photo has been circulating on Twitter:
Joe Biden says he can't remember Tara Reade. Perhaps this will help to refresh his memory. pic.twitter.com/OAT5J0fNla— Janice (@prettyjanice888) May 2, 2020
Scott Bixby at The Daily Beast highlights why I can’t go on Twitter:
But the woman in the photo is definitely, without a doubt, not Reade.
The image and its imitators have exploited Twitter’s notoriously lax approach to disinformation on the platform, as well as a loophole in policies instituted earlier this year that allow users to report political misinformation. That loophole means that the while scores of users who have identified the image as false and attempted to report is as “misleading about a political election,” the tweet and its imitators do not, apparently, violate any of the site’s rules.
Despite Twitter’s long track record of being susceptible to abuse by bad-faith state actors and rogue conspiracy theorists, the options for reporting a tweet for political misinformation are surprisingly narrow: “It has false information about where or how to vote or register to vote;” “It intends to suppress or intimidate someone from voting;” “It is misrepresenting its affiliation with or impersonating a candidate, elected official, political party, or government entity.”
Other rules against “manipulated photos or videos” are limited to “synthetic or manipulated” media—like deepfakes or videos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in which she is artificially slowed down to seem drunk—do not include authentic photographs or videos that are misrepresented by accompanying text.
In the case of the viral tweet of Biden and “Reade,” there is zero room for confusion about the actual identity of the woman in the photograph. Taken by Associated Press photographer Ron Edmonds, the shot does depict then-Sen. Biden in January 1993—but standing alongside President Bill Clinton’s first nominee to run the Justice Department, not his own former staff assistant.
“Attorney General-designate Zoe Baird meets with Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington,” the photo’s caption reads. “Biden will chair the committee during Baird’s confirmation hearings.”
In response to requests for comment about whether the tweet and its imitators violated the site’s rules against political misinformation, a Twitter spokesperson told The Daily Beast that the tweet “is not currently in violation of the Twitter Rules.” According to Twitter, corrections by other users—none of which have the reach of the 14,000-retweet post—are the most effective way of preventing disinformation from spreading on the platform.
Despite Twitter’s “let the rabble police itself” approach to disinformation, the platform has emphasized the importance of correcting the mistakes of 2016, when the Kremlin activated an army of Twitter trolls targeting American voters with fake news in the hopes of interfering with the presidential election. Popular users and accounts on the site were shown to be part of a vast network of bots and trolls under the control of Russian intelligence, interacting with nearly 700,000 American users before the election.
This is what we are up against. Disinformation campaigns and Twitter is not going to do anything about it. Also, Trump’s campaign is running scared again:
Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is poised to unleash a massive negative ad campaign against Joe Biden — the president’s most aggressive effort yet to damage his Democratic opponent.
With Trump’s poll numbers sagging amid his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the offensive underscores how his advisers believe they must turn the race into a choice election between the president and Biden, rather than solely a referendum on Trump’s performance.
The cash-flush campaign is slated to more than $10 million on an advertising blitz across broadcast and cable channels, as well as online. One of the commercials says Biden “coddles China,” where the pandemic originated.
But as former Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Cuomo and Barack Obama campaign advisor, Lis Smith, explains that Biden can still run an effective campaign from his basement:
It starts with a heavy focus on America’s most trusted media source, local news. To get to 270 Electoral College votes, the Biden campaign really needs to win three states — Pennsylvania Michigan and Wisconsin — that Hillary Clinton lost in 2016. It won’t be a whistle-stop tour, but Mr. Biden can still generate the news coverage he will need to win there.With his home TV studio, he can beam into morning shows in Milwaukee and Madison. With his telephone, he can call into popular Philadelphia and Pittsburgh radio shows and be interviewed by reporters and columnists at The Detroit News and The Lansing State Journal. He can blanket the media in those states before he sits down for dinner — and all from the comfort of his Delaware home.
His campaign should analyze the primary media consumption habits of the voters they need to put together for a winning coalition. For voters under the age of 40, it’s on mobile screens and social media; for black voters, local TV news; for Latino voters, Spanish-language TV and radio news outlets like Univision, Telemundo and La Mega, along with English-language local media in metro areas with large Latino populations.While Mr. Biden is his own most effective messenger, he alone cannot carry out a winning media strategy. The campaign should lean on its vast network of supporters — elected officials, community leaders, celebrities — who are chomping at the bit to make their voice heard in this election.He can deploy former Democratic rivals like Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang and Bernie Sanders to blanket local, national and partisan media with a message of how important it is for Democrats of all stripes and candidate loyalties to turn out for Mr. Biden in November.He can lean on his celebrity supporters to share good news about his campaign on their platforms. Ariana Grande, an outspoken Democrat, has over 180 million followers on Instagram, making her one of the most-followed persons in the world. Dwayne Johnson (therock on Instagram), another Democrat, also tops 180 million followers.These figures appeal to very different fan bases; celebrity supporters like them can bring the campaign’s message to nontraditional and nonpolitical outlets that might otherwise be disinclined to get into the weeds of an election — sports-talk radio, Top 40 stations and gossip sites.Mr. Biden could also harness the newfound star power and credibility of the “coronavirus governors” like Andrew Cuomo, Gretchen Whitmer and Gavin Newsom to highlight the life-or-death stakes of this election.Similarly, we can rethink the way we approach traditionally marquee presidential campaign moments like the convention. We’ve been doing conventions wrong for years. Days and days of mediocre speeches from politicians unknown to the public, programming that puts even political junkies to sleep. They’re prohibitively expensive, time-intensive and of limited value in reaching anyone but true believers.And they are overrated in their ability to fundamentally shift the dynamics of a presidential race. Do you remember when the 2016 Democratic convention in Philadelphia helped swing Pennsylvania for Hillary Clinton or the 2012 Republican convention in Tampa delivered Florida for Mitt Romney?Democrats should rethink how best to use those prime-time hours across three nights. Instead of rote speeches, they could feature more dynamic content.They can show mini-documentaries on the state of America under Mr. Trump — farmers and workers affected by the administration’s tariffs and other economic policies and residents of Puerto Rico abandoned after Hurricane Maria — and video testimonies from Americans whose lives have been touched by Mr. Biden’s leadership. They can harness the creativity of Hollywood and grass-roots supporters alike to offer exclusive content like musical performances from in-demand artists and episodes of hit TV shows.