The term “cheap fake” was coined in 2019 by Joan Donovan, the “misinformation expert” who Harvard fired for so-called “bureaucratic reasons.”

The White House began using the term last week it an attempt to spin videos of President Joe Biden malfunctioning in public. The Biden campaign also reportedly created a special task force to reduce the impact of videos.

Donovan, an academic noted for her research on disinformation, co-coined the term “cheap fake” in a 2019 paper called, “DEEPFAKES AND CHEAP FAKES, The Manipulation of Audio and Visual Evidence.”

In the paper, Donovan used post-modern terms to define “cheap fakes” as manipulative and “capable of blurring the line between expression and evidence” to alter “cultural, social, and political structures”:

Other forms of AV manipulation – “cheap fakes” – rely on cheap, accessible software, or no software at all. Both deepfakes and cheap fakes are capable of blurring the line between expression and evidence. Both can be used to influence the politics of evidence: how evidence changes and is changed by its existence in cultural, social, and political structures.

Locating deepfakes and cheap fakes in the longer history of the politics of evidence allows us to see:

• decisions over what counts as “evidence” have historically been a crucial tool in defending the privilege of the already powerful;
• the violence of AV manipulation can only be addressed by a combination of technical and social solutions;
• public agency over these technologies cannot be realized without addressing structural inequality; and
• the violence of AV manipulation will not be curtailed unless those groups most vulnerable to that violence are able to influence public media systems.

A video on Sunday showed former President Barack Obama guiding Biden off the stage at a fundraiser. Another video appeared to show Biden wandering away from the G7 group in Europe, toward a paratrooper, before Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni turned him back to the group of world leaders watching a skydiving show.

A third video showed Vice President Kamala Harris and allies dancing at a Juneteenth event while Biden awkwardly stood still with an empty smile on his face.

Videos of Biden malfunctioning in public are real, Trump Campaign communications director Steven Cheung told Breitbart News on Tuesday. “The truth hurts,” he said. “When the Biden campaign is confronted with that cold, hard reality, they offer ridiculous claims that anyone who clearly sees Biden acting like a brain-dead dope is part of some media-wide conspiracy.”

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The Trump campaign on Wednesday took ownership of the term “cheap fakes” as a way to define  Biden’s malfunctioning in public.  “Cheap fake (noun)” the Trump campaign meme reads, “any video of Joe Biden’s cognitive decline that the Biden administration does not want the public to see.”

It was not the first time the Trump campaign spun the White House’s public relations terminology in its favor.

So-called “Bidenomincs,” generated by the White House to define Biden’s economic agenda, is now seldom used by Biden. After costs rose about 20 percent across the board under Biden, Republicans essentially stole the term to spotlight Biden’s economic failures.

Wendell Husebo is a political reporter with Breitbart News and a former GOP War Room Analyst. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality. Follow Wendell on “X” @WendellHusebø or on Truth Social @WendellHusebo.