Facts Matter: Video clips edited to make Trump, Biden look bad

  • A passerby stops to take a selfie with foam sculpture depictions of President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden along Dixie Highway in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020.

    A passerby stops to take a selfie with foam sculpture depictions of President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden along Dixie Highway in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020. South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP

 
 
Updated 9/12/2020 5:24 PM

Approaching the Nov. 3 election, social media users are posting manipulated segments and selective edits of videos of President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden designed to show the candidates in an unflattering light.

A 12-second segment of a video of Trump meandering on the White House lawn is being shared on social media with claims the president is disoriented or showing signs of dementia, according to PolitiFact.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But the clip was "deceptively edited" to make it look like the president is aimlessly wandering, PolitiFact said.

The full video, which runs nearly 13 minutes, was shot Aug. 7, 2019, when Trump stopped to answer reporters' questions before boarding Marine One to begin a trip to Ohio and Texas to meet with victims and first responders in the wake of fatal shootings in those states.

Following the news conference, the president stepped away from the reporters. As the first lady approached, he pointed to a puddle, apparently warning her not to step in it. Then they turn and walk toward the helicopter.

The edited video only showed Trump walking away and pointing to the puddle.

Another video making the rounds on social media purportedly shows Biden falling asleep during a live TV event.

But this clip is fake, made up of video from different broadcasts with added snoring sounds, according to The Associated Press.

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The video uses a clip from a 2011 Bakersfield, California, station KBAK-TV interview with singer Harry Belafonte. The side-by-side images on the screen show local anchor Layla Santiago and Belafonte, however, the singer appears to be asleep.

"Wake up, wake up. OK, this is your wake-up call," Santiago said.

Shortly after the broadcast, Belafonte's publicist Ken Sunshine said the singer was meditating, not asleep.

"His earpiece wasn't working, so he decided to take the time to mediate before the rest of his Day-O," Sunshine said.

In the doctored video, the clip of Belafonte is replaced by a clip of Biden as he lowered his gaze for about 15 seconds while Hillary Clinton discussed COVID-19 during an April town hall meeting.

The clip and audio of Santiago remained and the sound of snoring was added. The bottom of the screen reads, "Live: On air: Joe Biden: The importance of this election."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The altered video has been viewed more than 121,000 times, the AP said.

The fake video was retweeted by White House media director Dan Scavino.

When questioned about the retweet, a Trump campaign spokesman said it was "obviously a parody," according to The Washington Post.

Shower masks not required

A viral Instagram post shows a flyer hanging in a bathroom stall with rules for Indiana University students navigating the coronavirus pandemic.

"Due to the rise of COVID-19, all residents must wear a CDC approved mask while taking a shower or in the restroom," the flyer reads. And to make sure students follow the rules, resident assistants, or RAs, will conduct "random shower inspections."

But the flyers are fake and the college isn't requiring shower masks or authorizing RAs to check on residents in the bathroom, according to USA Today.

The post is "completely untrue," Indiana University spokesman Chuck Carney told USA Today.

The image was posted by Barstool Indiana, which is not affiliated with IU, USA Today said. The flyer includes a QR code that leads to the university's Residential Programs and Services page.

That site lists precautions IU is taking in its community bathrooms, including plexiglass dividers between sinks, soap dispensers at each sink and more frequent cleanings with "hospital grade" disinfectants. But there's nothing about face masks or RA inspections.

Trump crash photo is fake

A doctored photo circulating on social media shows a truck wedged beneath a bridge. Writing on the side of the truck reads, "All aboard the Trump train."

The photo of the truck stuck under an overpass is authentic, according to Snopes.com. But the words on the side of the vehicle have been digitally altered.

In a case in which truth is "even stranger than fiction," Snopes said, the actual words on the side of the truck read, "On the road to success, there are no shortcuts."

The original photo of the crash was taken in May 2015 in Mamaroneck Village, New York. The Loop, a local new organization, published several photos of the incident.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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