Concern for unchallenged Republican advantage and ‘deepfake’ audio drives effort to use AI to transcribe, monitor political talk radio.
NEW YORK, NY, November 30, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — Concern for unchallenged Republican advantage and ‘deepfake’ audio drives effort to use AI to transcribe, monitor political talk radio.
Inspired by United Nations and MIT radio monitoring efforts, the Big Lie Project, or BLIP, will use artificial intelligence and other high tech tools to convert talk radio into text so it can be read and analyzed.
BLIP will build on the UN Global Pulse talk radio project in Africa and MIT Media Lab research outlined in the 2019 paper RadioTalk: a large-scale corpus of talk radio transcripts. The paper describes automatically recording, transcribing, and analyzing 2.8 billions words of talk radio from nearly 300 radio stations.
“Until the repetition from 1500 radio stations can be analyzed and quantified a lot of political and media analysis, as well as polling, will be faulty,” says BLIP cofounder Yoll Smithfield. “All day long a few hundred guys repeat the same talking points about President Biden, abortion, immigrants, elections, gun control, the economy, climate science, and every other major issue. They’re saying the price of eggs is more important that global warming and treason. They don’t reflect public opinion as much as create it. It’s very loud and unchallenged.”
The website fakenewsradio.org points out that if the GOP would pay $1000 for a one hour infomercial then 1200 stations talking 15 hours every day equate to a free advantage worth over $90 million per week or almost $5 billion per year for Republicans.
BLIP will also keep an eye out for fake audio generated with AI. “Deepfake video can be spotted, but until we can analyze talk radio deepfake audio will be an even bigger problem because it’s invisible and can reach tens of millions repeatedly,” says Smithfield. “It’s even more important now considering that foreign interests can be feeding those stations. A caller to the Sean Hannity radio show reaches 16 million people. What if that call comes from the Kremlin? Everyone’s always talking about social media and Fox but talk radio is a bigger problem. Feedback from Democratic organizations has been encouraging.”
A long time talk radio observer at the Democratic National Committee, who wished not to be named, explained. “The Democratic Party completely missed the boat. For thirty years the GOP has dominated messaging, distorted issues, and won elections just because they have hundreds of radio stations attacking us and saying anything they want all day long. It’s basically a few hundred guys repeating the same talking points while their call screeners protect them from challenge and correction. When Rush Limbaugh was around they all learned they had to follow his lead to keep their jobs. It became the Party of Limbaugh. Republican think tanks coordinate that unified messaging at the local and national level and like bozos we ignored it. It makes fact-based discussion on any major issue impossible. That’s why we’re in this mess with global warming, the supreme court, money in politics, immigration, the previous guy, you name it.”
Fakenewsradio.org also has a list 87 universities that broadcast sports on 260 conservative talk stations and suggests that those relationships are detrimental to their students, athletes, and communities.
“Student Democrats have been complaining about hundreds of schools that broadcast sports on hundreds of those radio stations,” says Ann Moiety of College Democrats. “Soon we’ll be able document and quantify the lies and bigotry our schools are endorsing and show that to students, faculties, and administrations. Those stations spread global warming denial, undermine reproductive rights, fight gun reform, and attack the LGBTQ community. The racism is well documented. They even help the GOP defund public education and oppose student debt relief.”
Smithfield outlines BLIP objectives and methods:
• Analyze spoken word from major national hosts and a selection of local hosts in each state
• Make transcribed talk available to academic, media, political, advertising, and public interests
• Publish lists of most repeated topics, memes, talking points, and names and quantify repetition
• Find, track, and publicize deepfake audio repetition
• Develop software to help individuals and organizations monitor talk radio on smaller scale and for specific interests
• Help organizations and political candidates monitor particular hosts and stations of interest
• Help pro democratic organizations monitor talk radio in other languages and countries
Contact: biglieproject @ gmail.com
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