Faked videos shore up false beliefs about Biden’s mental health

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From Ronald Reagan in 1984 to Bob Dole in 1996 and even Hillary Clinton in 2016, candidate health has become a common theme across recent U.S. presidential campaigns.

The issue is poised to take on added significance this fall. No matter who wins, the U.S. is set to inaugurate its oldest president by a wide margin.

The Trump campaign and its surrogates have seized on Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s age and have been painting him as mentally unfit for the presidency. Videos of Biden falling asleep during an interview, misspeaking about the dangers of “Joe Biden’s America” and appearing lost during a campaign event have bolstered the belief, particularly among Trump supporters, that Biden is in cognitive decline.

There’s just one problem: None of these videos are what they seem, and some of the events depicted didn’t happened at all. Technological developments have made it easier for people to produce seemingly real videos that are anything but. These deceptively altered videos have become a major element of disinformation campaigns that wield falsehoods in an effort to sway voters.

Deepfakes and cheapfakes

Altering videos can be as minimal as removing a few frames to as extensive as dramatically …

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