Category: Uncategorized

Background Briefing: May 26, 2019

 

The Alarming Potential Mischief of “Deepfake” Videos

We begin with the fake video of Nancy Pelosi appearing to be drunk and slurring her words which has gone viral along with a doctored tape of her shown on Fox that Trump retweeted and look into the technology behind these manipulated videos known as “deepfake”.  Jonathan Taplin, Founder and Director Emeritus of the Innovation Lab at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California and author of “Move Fast and Break Things: How Google, Facebook and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy”, joins us. We will discuss the extraordinarily arrogant and irresponsible response from Facebook in refusing to pull the doctored Pelosi video off their platform and explore the nature of the technology that enables trolls to literally put words in the mouths of prominent people or anyone else for that matter, which could be used in future political campaigns. Filmmaker Jordan Peele alerted us to the potential of “deepfake” video to do untold harm with a video he produced using previous file footage of President Obama giving a speech that segued into Obama saying crazy stuff in his own voice and from his own lips, all of which was “deepfaked”. Imagine the malign potential of releasing a video of your opposing candidate on the eve of the election having him or her giving a speech suddenly saying they are great admirers of Adolf Hitler for example. But given the emergence of fake news and Russian trolling, it is hard not to expect that this kind of political poison is heading our way.

 

Inside The Darkest corner of the Deep State

Then, with the growing possibility that a war might erupt in the Gulf between the U.S. and Iran, triggered by proxies and shadow warriors, we will be joined in the studio by Annie Jacobsen, the author of the “Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base” which was a finalist for the Pulitzer prize. We discuss her new book, just out, “Surprise, Kill, Vanish: The Secret History of CIA Paramilitary Armies, Operators and Assassins”. Annie pulls back the curtain on the history of covert warfare and state-sanctioned assassination since World War II to the present, and takes us inside the darkest and most morally ambiguous corner of our government.

 

Working Around the Electoral College

Then finally, with Nevada being the 15th state to adopt the National Popular Vote bill which works around the Electoral College by having states grant its electoral votes to whoever wins the popular vote nationwide, we speak with Sanford Levinson, the Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School. The author of “Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws that Affect Us Today’, he joins us to discuss how to fix our broken democracy which is on a path to elect future presidents with far fewer votes than their opponents.