Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane just couldn’t resist having a bit of fun with Kellyanne Conway’s absolutely batsh*t insane claim regarding Trump’s unfounded allegation that President Obama spied on The Donald through his microwave. On Monday, the legendary comedy figure tweeted his own theory about what Conway meant — and to him, it sounds a lot like the sort of thing you’d expect from the furniture at PeeWee’s Playhouse (those sneaky little bastards):
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) March 13, 2017
“There was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, through their—certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways,” Conway said over the weekend as she attempted to defend Trump’s claim that Obama tapped his “wires” at Trump Tower. “And microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera. So we know that that is just a fact of modern life.”
First, let’s take Conway’s assertion literally. Microwaves (the waves) can be used for certain types of imaging, as in radar, but a microwave oven can’t be used as a camera unless it literally has an outward-facing webcam onboard. No such microwave appears to exist. That’s in contrast to the case of the spying Samsung TVs, referenced by Conway, that each come with a built-in, internet-connected microphone.
But what if we were to take Conway not literally, but seriously? Asked whether a microwave could be turned into not a camera, specifically, but a listening device, Stephen Frasier, a microwave imaging and radar researcher at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, let out several seconds of sustained laughter.
“Unless it’s a voice-activated microwave oven connected to the internet I can’t think of a way,” says Frasier. Outside of a failed smart microwave Kickstarter, no microphone-equipped microwaves appear to exist. In fact, a quick check of major appliance manufacturers including GE, LG, and Samsung shows that internet-connected microwaves are a rarity. Even those that might exist in early-adopting kitchens would be far more likely to be conscripted into a botnet than used as a listening device.
To date, the Trump administration has not produced a shred of evidence to back Trump’s claim — though they did secure additional time to stall as they desperately search for something — anything — that will at least convince the most stupid among us that it happened.
Featured image via Getty Images (Michael Tran)/screengrab