Wall Street Journal: “Rapidly evolving artificial intelligence is making it easier to generate sophisticated videos and images that can deceive viewers and spread misinformation, posing a major threat to political campaigns as 2024 contests get under way.”
Homeless Men Were Recruited to Pose as Displaced Vets
“Three men currently staying at a homeless shelter in Poughkeepsie said they were among a group of 15 recruited a few days ago to portray homeless veterans displaced from upstate hotels by incoming migrants,” the Albany Times Union reports.
Politico: “The accusation that about 20 veterans were tossed from a Newburgh hotel in Orange County to make way for the asylum-seekers drew national headlines and broad condemnation. But the claims soon began to unravel when the hotel showed proof that it was not housing homeless veterans and that no one was displaced when the migrants arrived.”
Giuliani Admits ‘Dirty Trick’ Helped Him Win Mayor’s Race
“Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has admitted to a ‘dirty trick’ that his campaign used to suppress the Hispanic vote during the city’s 1993 mayoral race,” The Guardian reports.
Said Giuliani, in a conversation with Steve Bannon and Kari Lake: “So they went through East Harlem, which is all Hispanic, and they gave out little cards, and the card said: ‘If you come to vote, make sure you have your green card because INS are picking up illegals.’ So they spread it all over the Hispanic neighborhoods.”
Fed Chair Tricked by Russian Pranksters
“Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell held a call with a pair of Russian pranksters posing as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy,” Bloomberg reports.
“Apparently thinking he was speaking to Zelenskiy, the video shows Powell answering questions on topics ranging from the outlook for inflation to the Russian central bank. There were several clips lasting about 15 minutes and it’s unclear if the footage was altered.”
Fed Governor Silenced by ‘Porn Bomb’ on Zoom
“A virtual event with Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller was canceled on Thursday after the Zoom video conference was ‘hijacked’ by a participant who displayed pornographic images,” Reuters reports.
Russian Trolls Had Little Influence on 2016 Election
A new study finds that “Russian influence operations on Twitter in the 2016 presidential election reached relatively few users, most of whom were highly partisan Republicans, and the Russian accounts had no measurable impact in changing minds or influencing voter behavior,” the Washington Post reports.
We Haven’t Seen the Worst of Fake News
Matteo Wong: “The field of artificial intelligence has advanced rapidly since the 2018 deepfake panic, and synthetic media is once again the center of attention. The technology buzzword of 2022 is generative AI: models that seem to display humanlike creativity, turning text prompts into astounding images or commanding English at the level of a mediocre undergraduate.”
“These and other advances have experts concerned that a deepfake apocalypse is still very much on the horizon. Fake video and audio might once again be poised to corrupt the most basic ways in which people process reality—or what’s left of it.”
Ex-Mayoral Candidate Sues for Defamation
“Nearly 20 months after allegations of unwanted sexual advances derailed his campaign for New York City mayor, Scott Stringer sued one of his accusers for defamation on Monday, arguing that she smeared his reputation with falsehoods and misrepresentations,” the New York Times reports.
Right-Wing Activists Sentenced for Phony Robocalls
“A judge on Tuesday ordered Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, two right-wing conspiracy theorists behind robocalls that sought to intimidate Black voters here out of casting mail-in ballots in the 2020 presidential election, to spend 500 hours registering voters in low-income neighborhoods in the Washington, D.C., area,” the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
AirTag Led Police to Dumpster of Stolen Campaign Signs
BuzzFeed News: “On Wednesday morning, Sandy Gilson noticed four political signs, including one supporting Senate candidate John Fetterman, missing from her front lawn — the second time in two weeks this had happened. When Gilson, a longtime resident of Tredyffrin Township, an affluent Philadelphia suburb where she serves as a committee member for her precinct, drove around her neighborhood, she noticed more signs — all supporting Democrats ahead of next month’s midterm elections — gone too.”
“But when she decided to file a report with the local police department, the cops already knew where her signs would be — in a large commercial dumpster behind a strip mall in the area. How? Because someone had put an Apple AirTag on one of the signs.”
Mayor Filmed Deputy With Escort in Blackmail Plot
“The mayor of a provincial French city is being investigated by the police after it was alleged that he blackmailed his deputy after setting him up in an encounter with a male escort,” the Times of London reports.
GOP Candidates Are Increasingly Sharing Misinformation
Monkey Cage: “The media has routinely reported on these falsehoods, making it seem like misinformation is rampant in politics. But are candidates for Congress actually sharing more misinformation in 2022 than 2020?”
“Yes, according to our analysis of congressional candidates’ Facebook posts. We found that politicians in the 2022 election are sharing more links to unreliable news sources than they did in 2020, and the increase appears to be driven by nonincumbent Republican candidates.”
Florida Sheriff Pressuring Candidates to Drop Races
“A third candidate for public office has come to forward to say a sheriff on Florida’s Space Coast offered help in getting a job in exchange for leaving a race and backing his favored candidate,” the AP reports.
Democrats Make a Very Risky Gamble In Michigan
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Smart Politics or Dangerous Dirty Tricks?
Tim Miller has a good look at the Democratic efforts to prop up extreme candidates in Republican primaries.
Misleading Text Messages Sent to Kansas Voters
An anonymous group is sending a misleading text to Kansas voters telling them to “vote yes” in order to protect choice, the Kansas City Star reports.
The only problem is that it’s the exact opposite: a “yes” vote would mean that “there is no Kansas constitutional right to abortion,” while a “no” vote would mean preserving the current language on the state’s constitution, which protects a women’s right to an abortion.
Bonus Quote of the Day
“They’re playing with matches, and they’ve got lighter fluid on their hands. If one of these political candidates win, it’ll be arson.”
— GOP strategist Doug Heye, quoted by the Washington Post, on Democrats boosting extreme right candidates in Republican primaries.
Democrats Should Think Before Meddling in GOP Primaries
Jonathan Bernstein: “That doesn’t mean that Democrats shouldn’t contest the seat, which is in a western Michigan district where Democrats seem to be strong, and is therefore one of a small number of pickup opportunities for the party. Of course they should.”
“But the case for trying to take Meijer out in a primary by helping him to lose to an extremist is a lot weaker. Incentives matter in politics, and if Democrats treat those who stood up for democracy when it mattered the same way they treat those who didn’t, what kinds of incentives will that create? The more that those who stood up to Trump lose in primaries, the more Republican party actors will believe in Trump’s influence, which in turn will make him that much more influential within the party.”
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