April 9, 2018

Imagine a world in which digital technology was so sophisticated that you couldn’t ever be sure if anything you saw or heard was real. There are already plenty of fakes online, but I’m not just talking about digitally altered photographs or the “creative editing” done to audio and video recordings used in news reports and documentaries to remove context or change the intended meaning of what was said. This is full-on fakery: a complete video of someone that’s been entirely created, in which you can watch that person give a speech he never actually made, IN HIS OWN VOICE, with gestures he never used. And it would be virtually undetectable, meaning that without intensive forensic examination –- and maybe even with it –- we would be unable to tell what was real and what wasn’t.

We’re almost there.

On NPR this weekend, the show “Radiolab” looked at the current state of technology that allows such sophisticated fakery, and we appear to be only a few steps away from “reality” becoming almost a meaningless concept when it comes to information. Of course, being a radio show, it could illustrate only the audio manipulation, but it gave a link to some stunning video.

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At this site, it’s possible to watch fake Barack Obama “speak” into the camera with the words and facial expressions of another man, shown in the upper left of the screen. The whole thing is computer generated. It’s Obama’s voice. Visually, fake Obama mirrors the other man exactly. Like Orwell’s “Big Brother,” his eyes never leave the viewer. To watch this is extremely unsettling. Subtle giveaways, such as a very slight fuzziness around the mouth, are sure to be refined in the near future.

Private companies have been developing this technology for use in advertising. We’ve already seen some fabulous fakes of Audrey Hepburn and others, such as Fred Astaire dancing with a vacuum cleaner. (This is why celebrities are now having to copyright their own images for every conceivable form of technology and will the rights to their heirs.) But the ability to literally put words in someone’s mouth is new. Fred will be able to dance AND SING about the vacuum cleaner, with lips in perfect sync. The images of Hollywood actresses will sell beauty products all around the world, in scores of different languages --- not just dubbed, but as if they were actually saying the words.

In fact, even the most thick-headed Hollywood celebrities could actually be made to appear intelligent, humble and well-informed. Talk about a technological marvel.

Advertising isn’t that much of a concern, because we know commercials are written and produced. We know it’s just a clever ad agency that paired Fred Astaire with a vacuum cleaner. But look at what this means for criminal prosecution, for example. Say there were people in the FBI or CIA who really, really wanted to prosecute someone; I know that’s far-fetched, but just go with me here. They could create audio and even video of that person talking with, say, Russian oligarchs, about how they were going to rig the Presidential election by hacking directly into the voting machines. If such a situation were to exist a few years from now, there might not be any need for actual evidence of the crime. The evidence could simply be created in a state-of-the-art production studio.

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It works the other way, too. Say a prosecutor had actual video of someone planning a crime. It would be so easy for the defendant to say, “Hey, that’s not me. It sounds like me, but I never said that!”

It wouldn’t have to be the government doing it, either, though one could argue that their technology would be the most sophisticated of all. Terrorists, unfriendly governments and rogue bloggers could create the kind of propaganda that incites violence and even starts wars. In an age when we depend almost entirely on our screens for information, it would be impossible to trust any of it.

So what do we do? Think of this current age of “fake news” as a practice round for the more challenging time to come. The technology typically used today will seem primitive in just a few years, so if we allow ourselves to be fooled at all by it, we’ll surely be helpless against the really cutting-edge tools. Keep in mind, we’re most easily fooled by information we’re predisposed to like and agree with, so examine that the most carefully. And if someday you see a video of me asking you to vote for Chelsea Clinton, remember, it’s fake.


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Comments 1-40 of 40

  • Fred Deatrich

    04/11/2018 10:02 AM

    Gov. Huckabee, you were a preacher. What about using this technology to create the imagine if the beast in the book of Revelation? Sounds like it could be!!!

  • George Cooper

    04/10/2018 04:11 PM

    We're already there Mike. The technology has been there for a while now. My wife and I are both photographers, and we've been mixing images for a long time. The new technology is even better than what we currently use. Your concerns are also mine. What we now know is soon to be turned upside down.................

  • Ron Mullins

    04/10/2018 12:36 PM

    Seeing is no longer believing....


    04/10/2018 10:46 AM


  • patrick McRedmond

    04/10/2018 10:13 AM

    How much taxpayer money has been spent on Mueller's witch hunt with his
    bunch of high-priced lawyers and staffs?
    This should be published and updated weekly.

  • Linda Grant

    04/10/2018 09:49 AM

    Mike, thank you for your diligence in sharing good information, truthful information, and bringing the darkness into light. About four years ago on New Years Day I was scanning the news feed of my Facebook account when I got a caution in my gut and the words - "What you see is not real ~ What you hear is not truth" - came into my mind. I have pondered these words over and over, especially in the last year or two in light of all the "fake news" coming from our news media. Your story here now lends even more weight to the seriousness of the issue!!! Beyond this thought stands the Truth of the Word of God regarding Satan. The Word says he is the Prince of the Power of the Air (our Airways are the very transport means of receiving so much Worldwide information), the Accuser of the Brethren, the father of lies, and so many other ungodly and unrighteous characteristics. Prayer in my only place of peace in these turbulent times. And on another, more pleasurable note, thank you for raising such a beautiful daughter, as your daughter Sarah is. IMO, she is poised and powerful and a voice to be reckoned with. I frequently pray for her and her position at the White House. Just once, I would love to be able to be in that news room and respond, "BAM!!!" when she responds with a timely retort to an asinine allegation from the media. Thanks for your time, God bless, and keep on keeping us keenly informed!!!

  • Stephana Holmes

    04/10/2018 09:31 AM

    OMG !!!! THIS Story is by far, the Most Scary and Disturbing to me.... Yet, WHY am I surprised.... It's Just Another Sign of the Lord Jesus preparing His Return to Earth.... We Are All Very Close to the END of this world as we know it.... So Be It. Lord Jesus, Come Quickly.

  • skip thomas

    04/10/2018 07:31 AM

    Yep, BUT maybe the "illusion" created in nearly every aspects of our lives will inspire people "to depend on their own intuition, knowledge and actually think for themselves". I pray, there is a bottoming out level to dumbing down people. MAYBE NOT, starting to think Einstein was right, "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

  • Nancy Newcomb

    04/10/2018 07:03 AM

    This is scary like Orwell. But it also sounds like someone from an even older book. Satan is the original deceiver and the father of lies.

  • Char Hinkle

    04/10/2018 01:04 AM

    Mike I enjoy reading your newsletters and I pray every night for God to come back and help us. I believe we are going through this until to bring the Christians back to God. Anyway, I was accidentally sent emails from the liberal move on group. Because of what happened today with President Trumps lawyer, they feel President Trump will fire Mueller and they are preparing now to take immediate action. They have over 300,000 fellow Americans to take to the street and over 800 events planned around the country.

  • Linda Porter

    04/10/2018 12:38 AM

    Thank you Mike. Once again you are very informative, right up to date and very helpful. This is a great article that you've written here. I really like everything you write . I am always entertained and informed by your writing. Thank you for caring enough to do this for us.


  • Iris Ca y

    04/09/2018 10:17 PM

    Worse than big brother

  • Jannette Dillingham

    04/09/2018 09:30 PM

    I love your comments and articles; they are always right on the mark. I have written my Senator and Representative about the fake news and lies. Back in the day, the Broadcasting Association used to have power over everything on television and radio. Nowadays, anything goes. I think the "fake news" media should be fined for all the lies and innuendos. And does "free speech" mean the media can say anything without any repercussion. I thank God The Holy Spirit enables me to "hear" the truth from the lies. However, I have some extended family members on Facebook who cannot discern anything. They believe every lie.

  • Jose Guerra

    04/09/2018 07:43 PM

    Yup, very Orwellian. What is more concerning is the manipulation of social communication. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. hide behind ‘private entity’ while curtailing speech of those who dissent to their political agenda. Ominous foreboding.

  • Naomi Ruth Hassler

    04/09/2018 07:26 PM

    All I can say is Maranatha!

  • John Parker

    04/09/2018 07:19 PM

    Preparing your ignorant sheep to accept only what you decide is real is what you're doing here, Mike. You're pathetic. Pure evil.

  • Teresa Serafine

    04/09/2018 07:18 PM

    I read them

  • Gail Urbanowicz

    04/09/2018 06:01 PM


  • Teresa Edwards

    04/09/2018 05:16 PM

    I read a novel several years ago written by Caleb Carr that describes this very thing. It was terrifying. I cannot remember the title, but I do remember it had the word “time” in it. You should check it out. It will truly open your eyes.

  • John Dobson

    04/09/2018 05:10 PM


  • Cynthia Pacheco

    04/09/2018 05:01 PM

    Really, really spooky. An impetus to quit watching TV national news.

  • Bette Eastland

    04/09/2018 03:49 PM

    Hello Governor Mike: I have only a personal comment regarding your daughter Sarah. She does a wonderful job with very difficult and sometimes very annoying and redundant questions. She always shows composure and extreme patience. I doubt and actually know that I would not be as graceful and accommodating to some of the "reporters". Most of all, I just want to convey my appreciation to you and your wife for a "job well done". Your daughter is indeed a keeper. Congratulations.


    04/09/2018 03:32 PM

    I love your newsletters...........I love your TV show and watch all the time.
    Yesterday (April 8th) the show was great especially regarding the "news we don't see". The judge from Oregon was interesting and sad
    the way he is being treated......could spend 12 years in jail? I would bet you and others can help him out.
    Keep up the great work, love ya! Just wish I could come and visit..........but I am in Calif. and you are in TN!

  • Firewagon

    04/09/2018 02:54 PM

    Shades of "1984," or, better "War of The Worlds." What amount of chaos would you think might ensue if/when some rogue tech outfit "preempts prime time, nationwide," shutting down communications, and showing an ongoing destruction, militarily or otherwise, of one of our major metropolises?

  • Darlene G Durling

    04/09/2018 02:27 PM

    Oh my. I think of how way, way back in the 70's, when I read in the bible of the great deception that will come upon the earth, I had no idea that this was in the future. Here it is. It came in so subtly and now it seems it's here to stay and only get bigger. God help us all.

  • Esther j. Pierce

    04/09/2018 02:26 PM

    This is so frightening! We better get back to God and our. Constitution while theirs? still time. How on earth can this be controlled

  • Richard Anderson

    04/09/2018 02:14 PM

    Hello Mike. It was only a matter of time before this started to become reality. Look at the music industry now. Take away that little pizza box called 'Autotune' and listen to many of the singers. You'll wonder how they can even state that they are professional singers with a straight face. Digital image editing with "photo-chop". New camera phones that can superimpose a T-rex or zombies while you take the picture (augmented reality). Pandora's box has been opened and fake news is just one of the evils that came out. I hope people with start to see through the facade and make an attempt at their own research.

  • Ken Wilson

    04/09/2018 02:03 PM

    Or killing someone and being framed.

  • Ken Wilson

    04/09/2018 02:01 PM

    Or killing someone and being framed.

  • Daryl Worley

    04/09/2018 01:51 PM

    It was NPR. Probably fake as well. NPR should have been un-funded 40 years ago.

  • Lee Anne Risk

    04/09/2018 01:51 PM

    Almost makes you think of what the age of how it might be in the days of the Antichrist. How easily we could be deceived.

  • William Schlumpf

    04/09/2018 01:24 PM

    People have been fabricating videos, history books, eyewitness accounts, etc since the beginning of time. We have to be ever vigilant and discerning. Now
    like every other type of evidence, audio & video will need corroboration or forensic analysis as required.

  • Steve Lucksted

    04/09/2018 01:13 PM

    Mr. Huckabee this past Sunday as I was delivering food to a Ministry one of my very good friends and I were having a discussion about the good old days leaving your doors unlocked windows open not worrying about your children as they go outside to play the end of our conversation we then talked about it's only going to get worse all we can do is pray and of course stand up for what we believe in the scriptures tell us it's only going to get worse but we have to keep the faith and be that Witness forgot love what you do brother always praying for you and Sarah and family members that I don't even know you have

  • Lee Anne Risk

    04/09/2018 01:11 PM

    Absolutely terrifying!

  • Lee Anne Risk

    04/09/2018 01:10 PM

    Absolutely terrifying!

  • Stephen Russell

    04/09/2018 01:08 PM

    Recall Glenn Beck on the Blaze radio AM discussing this very subject, last year, Dec,early Jan.
    Very scary, U could be duplicated Governor, etc.
    Great for Education IE recreate historical events. or subvert them
    Great for Marketing, sales, Training.
    Otherwise very scary
    No way to ID whats "true".

  • Barbara Haun

    04/09/2018 10:48 AM

    I have thought about this very thing after seeing some of the gaming videos a year or so ago.....scary..
    Preparing for the anti-christ's appearance

  • Cheryl Lindsey

    04/09/2018 10:14 AM

    Dear Governor Huckabee,

    I am trying to understand why Conservative sisters, Diamond and Silk, have been deemed “unsafe” by Facebook when there have been postings of murders, suicides, and more that have been allowed to remain on their website. While this is no doubt a political stance by Facebook, the question for me is how is the controlled messaging by Facebook any different than what Adolph Hitler did in the 1930’s and 40’s. Hitler controlled the messaging throughout Europe turning the German people against the Jews and any or all countries who disagreed with him and his regime. School children were taught to turn in their families if they were not following Natzi policies. While this might seem like a stretch to equate Facebook censorship with the Natzi regime, we need to ask ourselves if Mark Zuckerberg would even be going before Congress if Hillary Clinton had won and Facebook censorship helped her win. I think not.

    If Facebook , this far left mega giant of world wide messaging, is controlling what we see or hear then all people should have cold chills running up their spines. Diamond and Silk will be only one of many conservative groups that will be muzzled.

  • Dennis Brining

    04/09/2018 10:08 AM

    Thank you Mike, my wife and I were just discussing this last night while we watched 60 minutes. After about 5 minutes of watching the story on cyber attaches, I had to turn it off. So much Bull Shit. It is sad that I cannot believe a thing that comes out on the news any longer, so I do not watch it. If it were not folks like you and DML and maybe one of two others, who cut through the crap, not sure what we would do.

  • wayne catalano

    04/09/2018 09:12 AM

    Great commentary Mike......on how far fake news has gotten.
    Don't forget we also have artificial intelligence.....aka Congress.