MSNBC doctored the audio of a Romney rally to give a false impression of what happened

MSNBC relied on something called the McGurk Effect to make viewers think Romney stopped the crowd from chanting “Ryan, Ryan,…” and told them to chant “Romney-Ryan, Romney-Ryan…” They did this by running a video with an electronically generated caption superimposed on it [a “Chryon”] that read: “Crowd: Ryan! Ryan!”. If you watch the video you will think you hear the crowd chanting, “Ryan” over and over. But they were actually chanting “Romney!” over and over. If you play back the video with your eyes closed and just listen to the audio you will hear the crowd chanting Romney, not Ryan.

So MSNBC made it look like Romney told the crowd to chant “Romney!” instead of “Ryan!” when he actually was telling the crowd not to chant “Romney!.”  That’s why he said, “No, it’s ‘Romney-Ryan!’”, not just Romney they should be chanting.

Thus, MSNBC used the McGurk Effect to create a false impression of the audio and make Romney look churlish and pathetic, when he was really acting magnanimously.

OK, you have to see this to understand it. For that go to the Ace of Spades blog where the youtube of the doctored video appears.  The doctored part appears and ends quickly between 0:43 and 0:47 on the tape.  First just watch it.  You will hear the crowd chanting “Ryan!”  Then back it up and play it again with your eyes closed and you will hear what the crowd actually was chanting, which was “Romney!”

There is also a fascinating video there by a scientist explaining the McGurk Effect.

MSNBC was busted on this by people who were actually at the rally and heard what the crowd was chanting and knew it was not “Ryan!”  They called into various radio talk shows that were discussing the MSNBC clip under the belief that it was correct, and that Romney had shown himself to be self absorbed and trying to overshadow his veep.  Callers straightened them out and they were surprised.  The video at Ace of Spades contains one such talk radio revelation.  In that case they played back the video and listened without reading the Chryon and were shocked by what they heard.  It’s pretty amazing to see the astonished talk show host suddenly realize he had been duped by MSNBC.

Rush Limbaugh also had caller on Friday about it.  Rush had not been discussing it and was unaware of it.  He had his staff check it out while he was speaking to the caller and they verified it.  He couldn’t believe it.  Rush Limbaugh, as cynical about the old liberal media as anyone on the planet, and even he was blown away by what MSNBC did.

John Steele Gordon at Commentary Magazine calls what MSNBC did “jounalistic prostitution.”  He’s right, MSNBC is the whorehouse of cable news.

There’s a Wikipedia entry on the McGurk Effect.


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