'Trumpian': Manipulated video of mayor rocks Ghent political scene

'Trumpian': Manipulated video of mayor rocks Ghent political scene
PVDA's Tom De Meester. Credit: Belga

Ghent Mayor Mathias De Clercq has accused PVDA (the Workers’ Party) of manipulation after the party edited official images of the city council in a Facebook video.

A video published in February makes it look like De Clercq is yawning while PVDA fraction leader Tom De Meester is speaking. This was not an isolated case, according to De Clercq. "You edit, you tinker, you manipulate."

The video, posted on De Meester’s Facebook timeline, makes it seem like De Clercq does not care about Ghent's low-emission zone. The mayor denies that he was not interested. "It's clear where you get the inspiration,” he said, describing the editing as 'Trumpian'. "This is demagoguery of the lowest kind."

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The city of Ghent makes images of the city council publicly available so that residents can follow and consult the session online. Fragments from the live stream are used by various local parties in their communication on social media.

De Clercq is also annoyed by a second “tinkered” clip. "You do image manipulation and sell that as truth. With images from an official institution like the city council. Very troubling."

Alderman Filip Watteeuw is also unhappy with the videos. "Fragments of my interventions are cut and scrambled as it suits you. Introduction becomes conclusion and vice versa. Subordinate clause becomes independent clause and vice versa. Detail becomes core point and vice versa. You are simply constructing a new debate. That's really unbecoming."

"Very interesting, the mayor's opinion of our Facebook clips,” said De Meester. “Thank you for drawing attention to that. But they're my videos. Mr Watteeuw and the mayor don't have much to say about that."

The Brussels Times

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