The Trump administration and its right-wing media allies have been circulating a deceptively cropped video of Joe Biden from Saturday even after social media sites flagged the video as deceptive.
Dan Scavino, the White House director of social media, shared the video on Saturday of Biden speaking at an event in St. Louis, Missouri. The clip cuts off Biden mid-sentence, making his actual comment — “We can only reelect Donald Trump if in fact we get engaged in this circular firing squad here. It’s gotta be a positive campaign” — sound like he was saying, “We can only reelect Donald Trump.”
Trump himself retweeted the video on Saturday, as did his campaign war room.
The video quickly made its way across right-wing media.
Radio host Todd Starnes posted it with the headline “We agree, Joe!”
The Blaze shared it, calling Biden’s “latest slip one of his best.”
Sean Hannity announced, “I finally agree with Crazy Uncle Joe.”
Mark Levin, the Right Scoop, Town Hall, and RedState also shared the misleading video.
But rather than back down, Team Trump stood by the video.
“The video was NOT manipulated,” Scavino tweeted on early on Monday. He also retweeted Turning Point USA’s Benny Johnson, who claimed that the video was “simply shortened” and that “every single clip on Twitter is ‘Manipulated’.”
One of Trump’s handpicked federal communications commissioners, Brendan Carr, also defended the video.
“‘Disinformation’ is the new disinformation,” he tweeted. “We’re seeing an intentional and coordinated effort by established gatekeepers to equate political speech they don’t like with the entirely separate categories of doctored deep fakes, illegal content, and deceptive cheap fakes.”
A spokesman for Trump’s 2020 campaign told the New York Times, “The video was not manipulated. Joe Biden really is that bad.”
On Monday morning, Fox News transcribed Scavino’s argument as a news story. “Biden video was not manipulated, Scavino says,” the outlet said in a headline.
And as of Monday afternoon, none of the sites have taken down or retracted the misleading claims, though a few had posted updates noting the full text.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.