An online reporter unable to tell the difference between a doctored video and an edited supercut is either so ignorant he shouldn’t be writing about politics, or he’s just a partisan hack. NBC’s Benjamin Goggin is probably both.
On Wednesday, Goggin published an 800-word story which accused Greg Price, a senior digital strategist at the conservative consulting firm X Strategies, of “doctoring” videos to frame Pennsylvania Democrat Senate candidate and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman as incompetent. The videos featured Fetterman, who is still in recovery from a springtime stroke in which — in his words — he “almost died,” slurring his speech at a series of campaign events.
“Deceptively edited videos that have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Twitter and TikTok exaggerate the speech issues that have plagued John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat, after he had a stroke in May,” Goggin reported.
The NBC digital journalist went on to brag about TikTok censoring videos the outlet flagged to the company, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, just as the network tried to de-platform The Federalist in 2020. That summer, NBC News’ “Verification Unit” colluded with a foreign think tank to submit a complaint to Google warranting demonetization, a move Google threatened and then promptly backed away from.
“TikTok removed the videos that NBC News flagged to it, citing its ‘integrity and authenticity’ policy, which includes rules about misinformation,” Goggin wrote, taking a victory lap. Twitter, however, “did not immediately respond to requests for comment.”
NBC published a comment from Price claiming Fetterman is “clearly unfit in every way to serve in the Senate.”
On Twitter, Price published his full response to Goggin which reads, “I don’t care what you regime propagandists at NBC decide to write about to help your preferred candidate in the race, who is clearly unfit in every way to serve in the senate. You can print that. Have a nice day.”
Price followed the story’s publication by sharing the video again highlighting Fetterman’s rhetorical challenges on the campaign trail:
Fetterman’s health has remained a central issue in the pivotal Pennsylvania Senate race ever since Fetterman captured the Democratic nomination while undergoing heart surgery on the day of the primary election. The state’s incumbent lieutenant governor suffered a stroke the week prior, and initially concealed the severity of his condition from voters which even caught criticism from The Washington Post editorial board.
“The Fetterman campaign squandered credibility by concealing from the public for two days after his stroke that he had been hospitalized,” the board wrote, calling on the Senate candidate to commit to more than one televised debate. “It waited weeks longer to reveal a more complete picture of his medical history, including that he had been diagnosed in 2017 with cardiomyopathy.”
On Wednesday, Fetterman agreed to a single debate scheduled for Oct. 25, just two weeks before the general election but presumably weeks after the beginning of early voting which, according to the state, begins “as soon as ballots are ready.”
“Early voting typically begins 4-6 weeks before the election,” the University of Pennsylvania reports.
Fetterman’s participation in the late-season debate, however, is allegedly contingent on a closed-caption monitor and two practice sessions. The campaign for Fetterman’s Republican opponent, former celebrity television doctor Mehmet Oz — who has repeatedly highlighted the Democrat’s handicap for a six-year term — responded to the demands with three requests of their own: that the moderate explain the use of closed-captioning to voters, that practice sessions not include real questions, and that the event be extended from 60 minutes to 90 minutes.