RNC, Washington Post blow out Scranton's home son for lying about Trump and the coronavirus
Friday the 13th doesn't look too lucky for Scranton's home son, Joe Biden.
As the Republican National Committee's Steve Guest noted in a blast email to reporters this morning, a new video by the Biden campaign hitting Trump on the coronavirus earned the presumptive Democratic nominee a four Pinocchio rating from the Washington Post's fact-checker.
Per Guest, "The Biden campaign strategy for responding to coronavirus: lie about President Trump in an effort to score political points. This morning, The Washington Post gave Joe Biden 4 Pinocchio’s for his campaign’s 'blatant' manipulation of President Trump’s response to coronavirus."
In case this looks like one of these super-spinning emails to you, it's actually not. From the Post (which did indeed give Biden a full four Pinocchios):
At the 10-second mark, the camera shows a tight shot of the president saying “coronavirus” and then cuts to a wide shot where he says, “this is their new hoax.” Both clips are from Trump’s Feb. 28 campaign rally in North Charleston, S.C., but he never said “coronavirus, this is their new hoax.” Rather, Biden’s ad clipped a large part of Trump’s speech to make it seem as though he had.
The full quote shows Trump is criticizing Democratic talking points and the media’s coverage of his administration’s response to coronavirus. He never says that the virus itself is a hoax, and although the Biden camp included the word “their,” the edit does not make clear to whom or what Trump is referring.
Moreover, at a news conference Feb. 29, the day after the rally and three days before Biden’s ad was released, Trump was asked about the “hoax” comment. He clarified, “ ‘Hoax’ referring to the action that [Democrats] take to try and pin this on somebody, because we’ve done such a good job. The hoax is on them, not -- I’m not talking about what’s happening here [the virus]; I’m talking what they’re doing. That’s the hoax. … But the way they refer to it -- because these people have done such an incredible job, and I don’t like it when they are criticizing these people. And that’s the hoax. That’s what I’m talking about.”
Granted, Trump and members of his administration have played down the spread of the virus and falsely touted the strength of their response, as our numerous fact checks have pointed out. But that does not excuse this kind of video manipulation. This is a clear example of deceptive editing, specifically what we label “omission,” according to our guide.
Just seven seconds later, the ad shows a video of Trump hugging the American flag. In the accompanying audio, Trump says “the American Dream.” Then, with no shortage of drama, there is a pause, a dip to black and a cropped, tight shot of then-candidate Trump saying the words “is dead.”
The second clip and the audio appear to be from Trump’s June 2015 announcementthat he would, in fact, run for president. Throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump repeated the phrase “the American Dream is dead.” However, each time — including during his announcement — the then-candidate followed that line with some variation of: “If I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before, and we will make America great again.”
The message is unarguably bleak, but by failing to include the second half of Trump’s repeated line, it isolates the comment from the context of Trump’s political argument. Moreover, the ad does not make clear that the clip is nearly five years old, ignoring the difference between when a candidate and a sitting president makes a provocative, political statement like this.
This is an example of “Missing Context”: The video is unaltered, but the way it is presented to the viewer lacks or misstates the context in which events occurred.
This is sloppy stuff, at best, from the Biden campaign. At worst, it's dirty.
Perhaps the argument will be that with Trump and his allies blatantly misrepresenting the Burisma situation and Joe Biden's actions in relation to that (pushing to fire a prosecutor who was going easy on Burisma in favor of one who would go hard on them), this is what it will take to win.
But it's rare to get fact-checkers siding with the President, and the Biden campaign just served that up on a silver platter. Not bright.