Twitter Reacts To Claims That VP Harris Appeared With Youngster Actors In NASA Area Video
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to the 78th anniversary of the National Congress of American Indians … [+]
Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris appeared on a Space Day YouTube video designed to spark new interest in space exploration. Instead, however, it moved into the focus of scrutiny when reports surfaced claiming it was a script involving child actors rather than average kids who had a real interest in space.
Harris, who is also the chairman of the National Space Council, has been criticized for appearing to have no in-depth knowledge of space exploration.
News of the alleged “forgery” of the video was first reported by the British Daily Mail newspaper, which noted: “Grinning school-age children who watched a NASA YouTube video about space exploration with Kamala Harris have turned away Featured as a Child The video “Get Curious with Vice President Harris” was filmed in August and tweeted by the Vice President on October 7th to celebrate World Space Week. It seemed to the audience that the children she was with were just normal children. “
The video was apparently produced by Canadian company Sinking Ship Entertainment, which reportedly booked five teenagers to take part in a segment filmed at the Naval Observatory, the official residence of the Vice President of the United States. The British tabloid also reported that the video was filmed August 11-13, at the same time as the Taliban were advancing rapidly in Afghanistan.
Let the conspiracy theories begin
None of this has what it takes to make a fake moon landing, of course, but the video has a polished look that doesn’t seem entirely natural. Furthermore, for her critics, it was the way the Vice President even promoted it.
“I love the idea of exploring the unknown. There is so much out there that we have yet to learn. As the Chair of the National Space Council, I am keen to get our young people interested in STEM and space exploration. Curious’ at http://youtu.be/Wlxq4S-4CCY, “wrote Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) on Twitter last Thursday.
Fake news, in fact
Almost on cue, many of the Vice President’s critics rushed to hear the news that the video was about committed actors.
Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo (@MariaBartiromo) wrote, “Wow, worse than we knew. Kamala Harris used child actors in her space video. “
“Just when you thought that the most fake person in the history of the world could no longer be faked, there was this … your commitment to flinch is really impressive! Kamala Harris hired child actors to be part of their widely mocked NASA space video, ”suggested Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr).
Nick Short (@PoliticalShort), Claremont Institute’s digital media manager, was even more blunt and direct, writing, “Vice President Kamala Harris takes counterfeiting to the next level.”
“Kamala Harris’s creepy video was produced by a company called Sinking Ship Entertainment. You can’t make that up,” noted Tom Bevan (@TomBevanRCP), co-founder of RealClearPolitics.
Conservative columnist Todd Starnes (@toddstarnes) also exclaimed VP Harris, “They actually used crisis actors to make @VP look maternal.”
“My Agent Called ‘: Viral Kamala Harris Space Video Featured Child Actors,” scoffed the Daily Caller (@DailyCaller).
The videos, which have been viewed more than 413,000 times to date, have actually seen a significant surge in viewership since news of the use of child actors broke out.
What is debatable, however, is that there has been little to no confirmation that the video used actors, and while it probably did, the answers are based on a single source. However, the follow-up on social media has given this story more credibility.
“It’s been a trend since social media got really hot,” warned Chris Haynes, associate professor of political science at the University of New Haven.
“The trend towards opinion journalists and breaking news has become skewed in many ways,” said Haynes. “This is worrying for fact-based journalism. We are seeing an increasing trend where there is no confirmation and stories have no confirmation. At the same time, many Americans see the difference between opinion and breaking news. “
The question also arises as to whether Harris would have been informed whether the children were actors.
“The producers of the video created an application that required the children to submit a casting monologue,” said Matthew J. Schmidt, PhD, associate professor of national security and political science at the University of New Haven.
“Of course, child actors had agents telling them to apply, and of course trained actors looked pretty good choices for the producers,” added Schmidt. “I don’t know if Harris even knew what was going on.
Would Harris have answered?
Whether or not child actors were used, the question also arises whether the response on social media may have warranted a response given the Vice President’s many critics.
“It’s really a tough decision,” suggested Haynes.
“There’s a mindset you don’t want to act on as you could give the story legs and even credibility that it didn’t have,” he added. “But there’s also the possibility that if you don’t react, it’ll go completely viral and you’ll have to play defense at some point.”
In this case, it was a video about space exploration, but it also shows that everything a politician does today is put to the test on social media.
“If Harris responded, it could also prolong the life of the story,” said Haynes. “Your critics are unlikely to be satisfied with any reaction. So there isn’t really a straight answer here.”
It may also seem remarkable that only conservative media and commentators have picked up on the story, but is that the case?
“Center / center-left sellers just didn’t see it as newsworthy,” Schmidt said. “It’s newsworthy if you’re the right-wing media outlet and your goal for the day is to keep your vase viewers and the grassroots right-wing electorate happy. That was bad visuals for the vice president, but it wasn’t anything bigger about her or the government . “