What The Hell Kind Of Monster Deceptively Edits An Ady Barkan Video?
Louisiana GOP Rep. Steve Scalise is a bad person. Like, a truly, truly bad person. The next time you feel like a shitty human being for whatever reason, you can think to yourself "Well, at least I am not Steve Scalise. I, at least, probably have some redeeming qualities."
On Sunday, Scalise shared a video of Ady Barkan interviewing Joe Biden. Barkan, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease), has to speak using a computerized artificial voice. Rather than use the actual video of Barkan's interview, Scalise shared a video that was doctored, using a computerized voice similar to Barkan's voice, to say something Barkan did not say.
.@SteveScalise, These are not my words. I have lost my ability to speak, but not my agency or my thoughts. Yo… https://t.co/FCfGzKRWia— Ady Barkan (@Ady Barkan)1598817063.0
Scalise took the video down, though not until Twitter labeled it "manipulated media," which we would imagine was probably quite embarrassing for him.
The video he shared is absolutely psychotic, in and of itself. The theme of it is basically "Antifa is going to murder you and Democrats are going to laugh, and then they'll take away the police so no one will be there to save you! Nancy Pelosi is antifa!!1!!"
But the truly grotesque part is when we get to a clip of Barkan interviewing Joe Biden, in which he asks if he agrees that some of the money for public safety should be redirected into mental health and social services. There has been a lot of discussion lately over whether or not some of the current functions of law enforcement could be better handled by mental health professionals and social workers. The specific words that came out of Barkan's mouth were "Do you agree that we can redirect some of the funding?" In the video Scalise tweeted, Barkan is deceptively edited to say, "Do you agree that we can redirect some of the funding for police?"
There's a clip here of @AdyBarkan, who has ALS and speaks via voice assistance, asking Biden about "re-directing" p… https://t.co/HwOgSCVVPt— Dave Weigel (@Dave Weigel)1598797094.0
He literally put words into Barkan's mouth. And the reason it was possible for him to do that was because of Barkan's disability. Because he uses an artificial voice. That is some real sick ventriloquism.
I say this as someone who absolutely would say that we should defund the police. That is my position. That is not Ady Barkan's position and it is not Joe Biden's position. It actually doesn't even matter what they edited him to say. It would be just as messed up if they edited him to sing "On The Good Ship Lollipop." The point is they did something to him that they really couldn't have done to a person who wasn't using a computerized artificial voice. They couldn't have done it if he weren't disabled.
Rather than backing down and at least pretending he didn't know it was edited, Scalise doubled down.
Twice in one interview Biden says “yes” & “yes absolutely” to questions about “redirecting” police funding. Dems &… https://t.co/XBc2wk7kUF— Steve Scalise (@Steve Scalise)1598819894.0
How do you do that and not even sort of feel like a bad person? Not feel even a twinge of guilt? How do you say to yourself, "I have the right to literally put words into a disabled person's mouth to further my own agenda, and I'm doing it because I can," and then sleep at night? Someone actually recreated Ady Barkan's voice just to make him say a thing he didn't say, and Steve Scalise gladly shared the edited video, because he thought it would make his already terrible video somehow more effective.
But you know what this really tells us? It tells us that Steve Scalise actually understands that there was nothing wrong with what Barkan said or the fact that Joe Biden agreed with it. If he did, he wouldn't have had to tweet the edited video in the first place.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse