What: A terrifying new video, previewing one of the gravest threats in our near-future.
Who: BuzzFeed and Jordan Peele, and to a certain extent, President Barack Obama.
Why we care: The tragedy of Donald Trump’s stock dismissal phrase, “fake news,” is that the scourge of actual fake news desperately needs addressing. Instead of cautioning citizens to be more vigilant about what news sources they choose to believe, however, our current president urges people to distrust the mainstream media. He’s got it exactly backwards, and in the spirit of going backwards, BuzzFeed teamed up with the last American president to provide the alarm Donald Trump is unwilling to sound.
Okay, BuzzFeed didn’t exactly partner up with Barack Obama. Rather, they got the next best person: Jordan Peele, who not only does a famously spot-on Obama impression but has nearly as high an approval rating as our 44th president in the wake of making Get Out. “You Won’t Believe What Obama Says In This Video!” cleverly deepfakes an Obama address to the general public, with Peele as ventriloquist.
“We’re entering an era in which our enemies can make it look like anyone is saying anything at any point in time, even if they would never say those things,” Obama says, with the assistance of some digitally manipulated mouth-motions. “For instance they could have me say, I don’t know, ‘Killmonger was right,’ or ‘Ben Carson is in the Sunken Place’ or how about this: ‘President Trump is total and complete dipshit.'”
Close listeners would probably realize this isn’t Obama’s actual voice before the Jordan Peele reveal, even if this Obama wasn’t making such un-Obama like statements. However, the truly scary thing is that these videos will be made with the aim of fooling people who don’t look or listen closely. Any responsible leader would advise us all to do so in the future.