NY Times Jumps on Kooky Left-Wing Conspiracy: Trump’s ‘Digital Backdrop’

October 9th, 2020 11:02 AM

The New York Times really stepped in it in Friday’s lead story, “President Lashes Out At His Aides With Calls To Indict Political Rivals.” In the rush by reporters Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman to show President Trump as a conspiratorial madman, the paper indulged in its own left-wing conspiracy, involving an allegedly faked-up trip by Trump to the South Lawn:

In the video, Mr. Trump was shown on the South Lawn of the White House hundreds of feet away from the mansion, but it appeared to be a digital backdrop as leaves blowing in the wind behind him could be seen repeating on a loop. Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, insisted that ‘he was definitely outside.’ Mr. Trump has not appeared before news cameras since his return from Walter Reed on Monday evening.

There was in fact no conspiracy behind Trump’s South Lawn appearance, no green screen involved. The motion of the leaves, sweatily scrutinized by lefty journalists like MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, is just an artifact of a technical data storage process involving “lossy compression,” in which digital files are compressed in the interest of data storage and easier handling, but at the cost of coarser, less sharp imagery. 

The paper scrubbed the above paragraph, without explanation, from the online version. Unfortunately for the Times, at least one national edition of Friday’s paper preserves the atrocious conspiracy theory in print forever.

But hey, who would expect journalists to know anything about video compression?

Ironically, the paper’s technology reporter Kevin Roose recently made a rare foray into covering online left-wing anti-Trump conspiracies surrounding the president’s Covid diagnosis, in Thursday’s edition:

The other night, as President Trump convalesced at Walter Reed, I took a spin through social media to see the latest news on his health.

Instead, what I found were a bunch of paranoid partisans posting grainy, zoomed-in photos, analyzing video footage frame by frame, and people straining to connect the dots on far-fetched conspiracy theories involving a cabal of nefarious elites staging an elaborate cover-up.

Sound familiar? 

Roose should be careful criticizing left-wing conspiracies, given that his own paper invariably either has published similar conspiracy-mongering from its own reporters, or reliably delivers it soon afterward, as happened on Friday’s front page.