The 2024 Election Will Be Unlike Any Other. Is the Media Ready?

December 6, 2023

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The future is here, and for many in the media business, it’s terrifying.

In an effort to understand threats facing the media during the upcoming presidential campaign, I asked a technology firm in California to create a “deep fake” video of President Biden, the kind of inauthentic footage that could flummox journalists on Election Day.

The results were sobering. Within seconds, the company — which requested anonymity because of the controversial nature of the assignment — transformed my likeness into President Biden’s, using artificial intelligence technology and a snippet of video I recorded.


Deep fakes and accusations of bias from politicians are particularly damaging because they reach voters who are already distrustful of traditional media, said Frank Sesno, a professor of media and public affairs at the George Washington University.

To combat sagging trust, news executives need to be more transparent with their readers and views about their journalism, showing them how stories get made and why, he said. That doesn’t mean news networks like CNN should play an “endless tape loop” of “journalism primer,” Mr. Sesno said, but it does mean explaining what makes certain topics newsworthy.

“People love being taken behind the scenes,” Mr. Sesno said. “People stood and applauded years ago when I was in a movie theater and they watched ‘Spotlight.’”

Read the full article in the New York Times.