I don’t usually agree with conspiracy theories, since most of them are a bit odd. However, I’m firmly on the bandwagon for this one, despite what all of the experts say.
Yesterday, President Trump released a video that shows him on the front lawn of the White House. At first glance, and also at a second or third glance, the video does seem like he is a weatherman in front of a blurred image. You be the judge:
(You can also read through the comments about the green screen.)
They make some valid points. They have some merit. Twitter uses low-grade compression on videos that make things look a bit unrealistic. There is some weirdness in how the leaves on the trees seem to stop and repeat. (By the way, leaves actually do that in real life. It’s called a wind gust.) The coloring seems legit.
Other experts dived into the deep tech with both feet. The audio is consistent with what you’d expect in that location (which is technically the South Lawn). The arc of the sun on that day matches with what you’d see in that location when it was recorded. And then there’s this: Why bother faking this video when President Trump really is at the White House recovering from COVID-19?
The Washington Post even asked an expert from USC about the green screen conspiracy theory, which is fresh off the chopping block as of yesterday. (Next up: Bigfoot hanging out with the Loch Ness Monster.) The experts make a good case for how the video just appears to be faked and has a weatherman vibe.
One of the interesting things about any conspiracy theory is that nothing in life is 100% verifiable. We don’t have any hard evidence that aliens didn’t arrive at Area 51. We don’t know for sure that the American government didn’t fake the lunar landing. We also didn’t have someone record a second video of President Trump on the South Lawn. In the absence of hard evidence, we have to sort out the truth.
So, my theory: I agree with the Twitter users on this one. To me, it looks like someone recorded the South Lawn video and then moments later had President Trump placed in front of a green screen with that exact same video playing in the background, but maybe closer to the Oval Office. An elaborate, forgettable hoax.
Here’s why I think that’s the case: It doesn’t matter. Some of the topics we like to dissect and parse out on social media are trivial, but they are a good distraction from the colossal seriousness of life right now.
I want to believe the green screen conspiracy, so I do believe it. Well, sort of. There’s no harm in that. In the end, it doesn’t matter and won’t impact anything about politics, social media, my positions, or even my view of Twitter’s compression algorithms.
It’s just a video.
With other conspiracy theories? They can cause serious harm. They can ruin lives, actually. When we believe or don’t believe things without consulting the experts and then disregard the facts we can encourage total chaos.
I’m not 100% serious about believing the South Lawn video. It does look fake. Maybe it isn’t fake. The point is that most of us won’t remember it after today.