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Fact Check Responds to Being Debunked. I respond back.

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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 06:29 PM
Original message
Fact Check Responds to Being Debunked. I respond back.
Yesterday I posted this article claiming that the video Fact Check had posted about the Clinton Ad being doctored.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

I contacted both Kos and Fact Check with the article and they both responded. Here is Fact Check's response (salutation/signatures removed):


Your posting does us a great injustice and makes false and damaging statements about us. I regret that you did not make any effort to contact us before you published it, and I hope you will consider correcting it.

You made a fundamentally incorrect assumption. The .wmv video on our site is a copy of the CMAG video recorded off the air in Texas and not, as you supposed, a copy of the Quicktime video from the Clinton site. So the differences you note actually support what we said: different digital versions of this ad show different shadings, and the YouTube version on which the "race-baiting" claim is based is the darkest of the lot.

Your groundless accusation that we "doctored" video is utterly false. We posted the video simply so our readers may view the whole ad if they wish, and not as evidence of anything. Our evidence consists of the representative frames we from the various videos. And as we said in our article:
We've made no color corrections nor otherwise manipulated these images. We simply took freeze frames directly from each video in its original format.
Here is what we've just posted in an update to our article:

/Update, March 6: We received several e-mails about our article that attempted to further the discussion. The two Kos bloggers who originally posted the story contacted us separately with thoughtful e-mails arguing generally that the matter deserves serious discussion but not challenging the substance of our article. Both said they found no fault with our conclusions about the charges of racism. Troutnut said he didn't "contest assertion that the netroots' accusation of race-baiting is unsubstantiated, " and Jeff Cronin admitted the Race-Baiting headline on Kos "was phrased in starker terms than I would have liked."

Another blogger who posts under the handle Berni_McCoy on DemocraticUnderground.com falsely accused <http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph... > us of having "POSTED A DOCTORED VIDEO" of Clintons ad. Since his mistaken claims are attracting some notice in the blogosphere we will point out his error here.

He compared the Windows Media video of the ad posted on our site with a QuickTime version of the ad that he obtained from Clintons campaign Web site. He then displayed frame shots from these two versions and stated "the difference is clear." He concluded that we are "completely wrong" or "directly falsifying the 'facts.' "

McCoy, however, falsely said that our Windows Media video is derived from the Clinton QuickTime version, which it is not. Our video is a copy of the high-quality video recorded by CMAG as it appeared on the air in Texas. So what McCoy imagines is evidence that we "doctored" video obtained from the Clinton Web site is actually evidence that supports what we said in the first place: Versions of the Clinton ad from different sources show different shadings, and the YouTube version on which the "racism" claim rests is the darkest of the lot./

And here is my response:

I made no assumptions about the content you posted on your website. In fact, one of the first links in my article directs people to read your article. You do not publish how the content was derived. You only say "And here's a high-quality version recorded by the Campaign Media Analysis Group, a unit of TNS Media Intelligence, as it appeared at 5:27 p.m. March 3 on station KCEN in Waco, Texas"

What does "as it appeared" mean? Did you set a video camera in front of a television screen? If so, what type of television and camera? Was it a digital or HD screen? If not, how was the video captured? etc.

All of the conditions for which you created your video need to be understood in order for a factual argument to be made. If you publish how you obtained your video, that would certainly help to explain how the differences came about. But you do not. You only make the statement above. Needless to say, the video posted on your website is very different from the Ad on Clinton's website. It is specifically different in two ways: it is lighter and it is at a taller aspect ratio. The video, when aired over television, could render a number of different ways, be it darker, lighter, wider, taller, all depending on the device that renders it. This is all irrelevant to the argument of whether or not Clinton's campaign specifically darkened and stretched the digital feed from MSNBC.

But the manner in which your version of the video is modified is indeed relevant to your article. In both ways that it was modified, it supports your argument. I, along with many other reasonable people, find this unusually suspect. Furthermore, the fact that the video your team posted is specifically modified to support your argument gives credibility to the use of the word 'doctored' - meaning changed. Note, that I did not say that Fact Check doctored the video. I stated that the video was doctored, and that your argument was wrong and that you had either been "duped or were directly falsifying the facts." Media organizations, large and small alike, have certainly been tricked in recent years and it is the role of the blogosphere to keep things in check.

Also, I never stated that your WMV file was derived from Clinton's quicktime file. Again, I made no assumptions about how you produced the video. I referred people to your article. If you are referring to this comment in the article: "Note: the left movie looks like it was scaled as there is a dark band along the left side of the video in most of the frames." That is an observation as to how the two are different ("looks like it was scaled").

The fact is, there is only one comparison to make in this argument: comparing MSNBC's digital feed of the debate with Clinton's digital feed of her ad. Anything else is not a direct-source to direct-source comparison. Did you post an equivalent video of the MSNBC debate as it would air on the same screen under the same broadcast conditions that you did for the Clinton ad? No. Therefore there is no comparison for you to make. Your article is completely wrong in it's approach and your video is changed, not in one, but two ways that happen favor your argument. You must have realized this before posting the article.

I will be posting this email exchange as a follow-up post. I stand by my original article and you have failed to convince me of inaccuracies in it. Perhaps you should update your article to either make a comparison between the direct-source digital feeds (MSNBC and Clinton's ad) or a comparison between the debate video and the Clinton ad as it would air on the same television. These are the only two competent comparisons to make, the former more accurate and feasible than the latter. If you do, I will be willing to post a follow-up about your new article. I have, for a long time, referenced Fact Check and have been happy to see the role that you fulfill. I was however, greatly disappointed by your article on this subject and its lack of discipline and methodology.
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 06:32 PM
Response to Original message
1. You're Really Going To Continue Making Yourself Look Even More Stupid, Aren't You.
Good on them for setting the record straight as to your false and slanderous attacks.
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. OMC, either you are a speed reader or you didn't read it.
But good for you either way.
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I Read The Entire Thing, So Nice Fucking Try.
You're embarrassing yourself but more importantly DU as well. Shame on you.
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 07:03 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. If DU was embarrassed, the would have taken down the original post, and likely, tomb-stoned me.
As for me, I'm not afraid of being wrong. I just tell it like I see it.
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Telling As You See It, Generally Works Better When You Have The Ability To Comprehend Things.
Your original assertion, as well as your follow up reply, show that you are trying all sorts of too hard to make yourself special by creating something that doesn't exist, even in the face of stark fact that shows you that you are being ridiculous. Yet you stand proudly and do it anyway.

You slander of factcheck makes you look ridiculous. If you could open your eyes at all, you'd realize how obvious that is.
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. You've really become quite insufferable. Good thing there is an ignore button.
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 07:17 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Yes... How Dare I Tell It Like I See It.
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 07:03 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. In 3 minutes?
Wow - you oughta go on the road with the circus. That's quite a feat.
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Honestly, You Actually Think That's Special? Jesus. It Was Quite Easy.
It's amazing the weird ass accusations that get made around here.

Get a grip. For real.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. Actually since I have spent nearly 30 years teaching reading,
and I have actually taken a speed reading class, yes I do think that's quite a feat.

But hey, if it works for you, roll with it. :hi:
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:25 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. Well To Each Their Own. Glad I Could Impress You.
Cause without trying, without thinking about it, without having the slightest idea that someone would actually reply as if to make it special, I simply read the entire OP in whatever time it was between his posting and my replying. Really is quite that simple. So if that impresses you, so be it. But I really didn't feel like I was doing anything special. But hey, if I'm cool like that, I'm cool like that. What can I tell ya. :hi:
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thepurpose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 06:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. Is this post at Salon accurate?
Perhaps the most potentially incendiary discussion in the blogosphere this week has been over the question of whether Hillary Clinton's campaign deliberately doctored an image of Barack Obama for use in an attack ad, taking debate footage and making Obama's face darker and wider.

In the Daily Kos diary that started it all, diarist Troutnut wrote, "In case you needed yet another reason to despise Hillary Clinton and her vermin strategists, she's now running an ad blatantly lying about Obama's subcommittee. Her ad includes debate footage heavily doctored to make Obama blacker ... I'm not accusing Hillary of technically being a racist. But she is cynically exploiting racism to further her personal ambition, and it's part of a pattern. She's doing it to a fellow Democrat who's virtually certain to be the nominee."

Markos Moulitsas, the man behind Daily Kos, has endorsed the allegations, writing, "There was a concerted effort by Clinton's ad people to make Obama look darker, more sinister, and with a wider nose. The evidence is indisputable."

Personally, I'd avoided discussing the issue because, in my amateur opinion based on limited graphics experience at various publications, this looked to me pretty innocent, but I wanted someone with more expertise to weigh in. That's what the people at Factcheck.org did Wednesday. In their judgment, the Clinton campaign is not guilty of the charges. Here's the bulleted list of conclusions they prepared:

The Obama frames from the ad do appear darker than other video of Obama from the same event.
However, the YouTube copy of the ad, on which the bloggers base their conclusions, is darker overall than other copies of the ad. We obtained a digital recording of the ad as it actually appeared on a Texas TV station, and it is lighter.
Furthermore, our analysis of the Obama frames, using Photoshop, shows a fairly uniform darkening of the entire image including the backdrop. It is not just Obama's skin color that's affected.
Also, nearly all the images in the ad are dark, including those of Hillary Clinton. And dark images are a common technique used in attack ads.

Factcheck also writes, "Others will speculate about the Clinton campaign's intentions and motives, as they already have. But without further evidence to the contrary, we see no reason to conclude that this is anything more than a standard attempt to make an attack ad appear sinister, rather than a special effort to exploit racial bias as some Obama supporters are saying ... We're not mind-readers, so we can't say whether or not the makers of this ad intended to engage in 'race-baiting' or were 'using racism to win' as some Obama partisans are claiming. Based on evidence at hand, we find those claims to be unsubstantiated. And the many potential differences between source footage, encoding manipulations, and other variables only make it less likely that any such attempt could be proven."

(The Factcheck piece goes into much more depth than this and contains multiple video and image comparisons that need to be seen to be fully understood. If you're interested in the subject, I recommend reading the whole thing.)

http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room /
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. My husband works in a newsroom and he said that video was doctored deliberately
and could never be used by any any ethical news organization. Real newsrooms look out for that type of deception - especially after the backlash TIME got some years back.
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Ichingcarpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 06:39 PM
Response to Original message
3. Nominated even Fact Check said it was darken on purpose
Edited on Thu Mar-06-08 06:41 PM by Ichingcarpenter
as did Wired News.

Fact Check said it wasn't on purpose which they have no logic way of
reaching that suppositional reasoning without creating a logical fallacy.

Link to wired newshttp://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/03/did-the-clinton.html
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 07:52 PM
Response to Reply #3
15. Excellent argument. I'll have to keep that in mind.
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boston bean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
13. Well here is my experience.
I showed the video to a co worker and it looked lighter on her monitor than it did on mine.

Just sayin.
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. I completely agree and noted that in my response.
They need to compare source feed to source feed. They are comparing a video they created by some unknown method to a video on youtube that went through unknown transformations.
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Laelth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:18 PM
Response to Original message
17. Nice response.
Wonder if they'll take your advice.

:shrug:

-Laelth
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Thanks. Let's see what they do.
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-07-08 12:33 AM
Response to Original message
20. Late night kick.
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woolldog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-07-08 12:54 AM
Response to Reply #20
22. berni, thanks for this.
I have no knowledge in this area, so I have no idea who's right or wrong, but thanks.
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Jamastiene Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-07-08 12:37 AM
Response to Original message
21. What damn difference does it make what color Obama is?
Why is his race such a big deal to his supporters and what difference does it make if he is darker or lighter. I imagine if he stands in the shade, he'd be darker then too, but so would any white person who stood in the shade. Who the fuck cares what color he is and why is this such a big deal to you?
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-07-08 07:33 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. That is a seperate discussion. The issue here is why would Fact Check not make a fair comparison.
To answer your question: In an idealistic world, race should not matter. But in this world it does and race mattered to 20% of the Ohio voting population. It's sad but true.




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joeybee12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-07-08 07:53 AM
Response to Original message
24. Get over it...you were wrong and move on...
Honestly, do you think trying to find racism where it doesn't exist help your candidate?
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-07-08 08:23 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. My point isn't about racism. It's about a dissapointing FactCheck article
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