NBC News demands Trump campaign remove fake clip attacking GOP primary opponents
Poking fun at primary rivals came at corporate media’s expense as one network reportedly demanded a presidential campaign remove a deceptive video.
Though supporters of former President Donald Trump had expressed their own displeasure at the use of artificial intelligence in campaign materials, the Republican figure’s backers cast aside their qualms when it came to ripping on the rest of the field. Now, weeks after a senior adviser for the former president shared a parody ahead of the third GOP debate, NBC News wanted it removed, reported Semafor.
In the short video shared by Chris LaCivita on X with the caption, “Now this is reporting ! Watch till the end!” where he tagged NBC News, unaltered footage of correspondent Garrett Haake was shown leading up to a fake voiceover.
“This is Ron DeSantis: An establishment RINO that wears insoles in his boots in order to look taller,” the narrator could be heard saying as the Florida governor was shown.
“And this is Nikki Haley: Nobody really gives a sh*t about Nikki Haley,” the voice continued, referring to the former United Nations ambassador.
— Chris LaCivita (@LaCivitaC) November 8, 2023
“This guy,” the voiceover said as South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott appeared on screen, “is probably just a stagehand.”
“Who the f*ck invited this guy!?” exclaimed the narrator when former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was displayed before businessman Vivek Ramaswamy was shown as the voice said, “And this guy is probably just delivering pizzas.”
“Anyway, nobody cares about these bullsh*t RINO debates, especially when you know that Donald Trump is gonna kick some a** tonight,” concluded the audio before a montage of Trump dancing to the Village People played.
Hours later, LaCivita had captioned his own post with the caveat, “To keep @NBCNews Lawyers off my a**, please note…. THIS IS A PARODY!”
— Chris LaCivita (@LaCivitaC) November 9, 2023
Weighing in on the potential legal ramifications that Trump could face over the video, George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley opined, “NBC could have a case under torts.”
“If the videotape was done by (or at the behest of the Trump campaign), it could find itself in a torts lawsuit. If it is a reposting alone, there could be greater defenses in sharing a video that has drawn attention in the campaign, though NBC could still claim that the Trump campaign is replicating the violations,” he suggested after recapping the contents of the video.
“The most obvious tort is false light,” argued Turley.
“Under a false light claim,” wrote the professor, “a person can sue when a publication or image implies something that is both highly offensive and untrue. Where defamation deals with false statements, false light deals with false implications.”
Ultimately, as the legal scholar lamented, “The problem for victims of false light is that it is becoming easier for independent actors to use AI and other means to produce such videotapes. It becomes difficult to then track down the culprits. That can leave a vacuum of accountability.”
“NBC has a valid objection to this parody even without a lawsuit. The campaign can engage in any number of criticisms against opponents without using this journalist in a faux news clip. It should be taken down,” he concluded.
As had been reported earlier this year, there had been pushback against the DeSantis campaign after an advertisement ran detailing Trump’s repeated glowing remarks of then-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and his decision against firing the bureaucrat over the use of AI-generated images of the president and Fauci hugging. Another ad utilized AI to generate Trump’s voice reading his own posts from social media.
Semafor indicated that a spokesperson for NBCUniversal had declined to comment on the matter.
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