The campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has received The Washington Post’s top rating for deception.
The Post Fact-Checker gave the Biden campaign four Pinocchios over an ad that used selective pieces of comments by President Donald Trump taken out of context to mean something different than Trump ever meant.
The fact-check comes in the aftermath of Twitter’s claim that a Trump campaign video was manipulated. The Post noted that “the Biden campaign isn’t shy about playing the same game of video trickery.”
“Campaigns must be willing to make their case without resorting to video manipulation,” the Post said in summing up its indictment of the Biden ad, which shows Biden saying, “I’ll be damned if I’m going to lose my country to this man at all.”
The issue with the ad was how it misconstrued Trump’s words.
The ad features Trump saying “coronavirus,” immediately followed by “this is their new hoax.” The ad does not let the viewer know that these two clips were taken from different parts of a Trump rally in South Carolina.
We can’t sit by and lose this country to Donald Trump. Today, we take it back — together.
— Joe Biden (Text Join to 30330) (@JoeBiden) March 3, 2020
The Post ran Trump’s full quote to show the extent of the Biden camp’s editing.
“Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that, right? Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs, you say, ‘How’s President Trump doing?’, ‘Oh, nothing, nothing.’ They have no clue, they don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa, they can’t even count. No, they can’t. They can’t count their votes. One of my people came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.’ That didn’t work out too well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything, they tried it over and over, they’ve been doing it since he got in. It’s all turning, they lost. It’s all turning, think of it, think of it,” Trump said.
“And this is their new hoax. But you know we did something that’s been pretty amazing. We have 15 people in this massive country and because of the fact that we went early, we went early, we could have had a lot more than that.”
The Post went on to note that the day after the rally, Trump made it clear he was talking about the tactics of Democrats as a hoax and not the virus.
The paper then slammed the Biden campaign for “video manipulation.”
“This is a clear example of deceptive editing, specifically what we label ‘omission,’ according to our guide. It edits out large portions of a video but still presents it as a complete narrative. This effectively skews reality and leaves the viewer to wonder what or who related to coronavirus is, in fact, a hoax?”
The fact-checker also found fault with a bit of editing in which Trump — in a 2015 clip — first says “the American Dream” followed by the words “is dead.”
While Trump often uttered that line on the campaign trail, he added a second phrase: “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 Post summed up the misuse of the Trump quotes as a tactic to “create a false narrative that does not reflect the event as it occurred.”
Andrew Bates, a spokesman for Biden’s campaign, resorted to name-calling to defend the ad.
“Donald Trump is the most dishonest president in American history and one of the least credible human beings in the world,” Bates said.
“We don’t trust his next-day cleanup attempt, and he has made many comments in that same vein. And the claim that the American Dream was ‘dead’ in the final year of the Obama administration — during the longest streak of job growth in American history — is categorically untrue and another reminder of Donald Trump’s deep cynicism.”
Republicans condemned the ad, as Fox News reported.
“Like Biden’s repeated gaffes, Biden’s penchant for lying and politicizing President Trump’s response to coronavirus is a pattern,” GOP Rapid Response Director Steve Guest said in a statement.
“Nevertheless, while Biden keeps smearing President Trump, the Trump administration is continuing to take aggressive action with their coronavirus response.”
Matt Wolking, rapid response director for the Trump campaign, demanded that Twitter take action.
“Now that an independent, third-party fact-checker has ruled the Biden video is manipulated to deceive, Twitter must immediately say whether it meets their ‘manipulated video’ standard, and if it does, treat it the same way Twitter treated President Trump’s campaign,” he said.
The Post said that the Biden ad went too far.
“Ultimately, the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak, the fact that Trump had clarified his comments on the matter before the ad was released, and the blatant way the Biden camp isolated his remarks about the American Dream pushed us to Four Pinocchios.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.