Facts Matter: Altered video changes vice president's vaccine message

  • Vice President Kamala Harris points to a person who shouted out as she speaks at a vaccine mobilization event July 12 in Detroit. An altered video made it seem like Harris said most people hospitalized with COVID-19 were vaccinated, when in fact she said the opposite.

    Vice President Kamala Harris points to a person who shouted out as she speaks at a vaccine mobilization event July 12 in Detroit. An altered video made it seem like Harris said most people hospitalized with COVID-19 were vaccinated, when in fact she said the opposite. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 11/21/2021 4:29 PM

Vice President Kamala Harris, during a July 12 speech in Michigan, said, "Virtually every person who is in the hospital, sick with COVID-19 right now, is unvaccinated."

But video of the speech has been altered and posted on social media to completely change what the vice president was saying, according to The Associated Press.

 

In the doctored clip, the audio has been manipulated to make it appear Harris is saying the word "vaccinated" when she actually said "unvaccinated."

The fake video has the vice president saying, "Virtually every person who is in the hospital, sick with COVID-19 right now, is vaccinated." But Harris' mouth doesn't match the audio and there is an unnatural pause before the word "vaccinated" was added to the clip, the AP said.

The false audio is contradictory to the rest of Harris' speech in which she promotes the shot during a vaccine mobilization event in Detroit.

Reports of woman's death greatly exaggerated

A Nov. 10 internet story claims the wife of the CEO of Pfizer, a manufacturer of the COVID-19 vaccine, has died.

"Myriam Bourla -- the wife of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla -- has died from complications from the COVID-19 vaccine early Wednesday, according to her doctor," claims a story posted on a Canadian website.

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But the story, which received more than 1,900 reactions on Facebook, is false, according to USA Today.

Pfizer spokesperson Amy Rose told USA Today that Myriam Bourla is "alive and well."

"It is unconscionable that a person posing as a journalist would spread such lies about our CEO and his family with the goal of undermining confidence in a vaccine that has been given to hundreds of millions of people worldwide," she said.

Albert Bourla
Albert Bourla -

The day after the fake story was published, Albert Bourla tweeted a photo of himself with his wife at the Atlantic Council's Distinguished Leadership Awards.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Enjoying the moment with my wife," he wrote.

Ad doesn't promise superpowers

A recent ad for the COVID-19 vaccine features children in capes and masks.

"All of us want to be superheroes," a child says, "and the most important heroes are those that help others."

An internet post claimed there was more to the ad.

"PURE EVIL: Disturbing Pfizer ad tells kids they'll get superpowers from COVID jab," read the headline on a Nov. 3 blog post.

But the claim is false, according to PolitFact. No one in the Pfizer ad said the vaccine gives children superpowers.

The ad opens as a boy says, "Getting ready to fight COVID."

The nearly minute-and-a-half spot then features kids in superhero poses thanking other children for taking part in recent vaccine trials.

"To all the kids who volunteered, we'd like to say thank you for sharing your superpowers of courage, trying new things, the ability to save people, the power to help people," various children say.

The post was flagged by Facebook in an effort to combat false news and misinformation.

Photo doesn't show headstone

A photo showing a woman scanning a QR code on what appears to be a headstone in a cemetery was posted on Facebook with the caption, "Technology after death in Japan! The graves of the Japanese are equipped with a special QR code for each grave, which shows you pictures, information and a brief biography of the life of the dead!"

Responses to the post included, "That's awesome," "That's just stupid" and "In the land of gods and monsters you are just a QR code."

But very little about this post is correct, according to Reuters.

The photo was taken at a theme park in Chongqing, China, not a cemetery in Japan.

The gravestone is actually a marker made to commemorate victims of the Nanjing Massacre and the bombing of Chongqing during World War II. Visitors to the memorial can scan the QR codes for information or to virtually light candles, present flowers or ring bells.

Although this photo is incorrect, adding QR codes to graves and memorials is a growing trend, Reuters said.

• 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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