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Anatomy of a smear
How the GOP and Fox News fabricated an attack on Biden.
Barack Obama made his big return to the White House on Tuesday. He was there to commemorate President Biden signing an executive order aimed at providing health care to about 200,000 people by making it easier for families to obtain coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
Obama delivered a speech that began with a zinger.
“Vice President Biden … that was a joke,” he said.
He then started roasting his former vice president.
Biden also got people laughing when it was his turn to speak, quipping that “my name is Joe Biden and I'm Barack Obama's vice president.”
“It feels like the good old days,” he added.
And it really did. Obama and Biden started saying hi and shaking hands with attendees after their speeches wrapped up. The whole thing was nostalgic, fun, and commemorated health care legislation that was one of Obama’s signature achievements and that the current president is working to expand. It certainly didn’t feel like the stuff of baseless right-wing attacks.
But never underestimate the Republican Party’s ability to cook up deceptive video clips.
From Twitter to Fox News
After the event ended, the @RNCResearch Twitter account, which has a long and disgraceful history of false and misleading tweets, posted a 13-second clip that made it seem like Biden was wandering around the event with nobody to talk to.
“Literally no one wants to talk to Joe Biden,” the caption read.
The RNC Research account blocked me in January after I called them out for a similarly dishonest Biden smear they made with a deceptively clipped 3-second video, but I received a DM informing me they were at it again. And sure enough, a review of C-SPAN’s footage proved how egregiously they were misrepresenting things.
Biden wasn’t wandering around with nobody to talk to — he was shaking hands and making introductions. Here’s the full video, in context:
But RNC Research’s deceptive clip nonetheless went viral, with over 4 million views as I write this on Wednesday morning.
Fox News dutifully amplified it. Both Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham broadcast the clip on their Tuesday evening shows to push a narrative about Biden struggling, even though a quick review of the context is all that’s required to see how dishonest that representation is.
Here’s the Tucker clip:
And here’s Ingraham:
These aren’t randos on the fringes of social media — this is an official Republican Party organ collaborating with two of the top-rated cable news hosts in the country to make stuff up. That they’re willing to lie and fabricate so shamelessly about relatively small things speaks volumes about how the political movement they represent is bad faith all the way down.
Let’s check in on the Republican Senate primary in Ohio
I wrote in January about how the Republican Senate primary in Ohio embodies the GOP’s race to the bottom. Somehow, it’s getting worse.
A new ad from JD Vance literally begins with the words, “Are you a racist? Do you hate Mexicans?” It ends by blaming the border for his mother’s struggle with drug addiction.
Desperate times, desperate measures — Fox News polling conducted last month showed Vance a distant third in the race. With the May 3 primary still about a month away, one can’t rule out that Vance releases an ad of him just saying the 14 words before then.
WHCA president pushes World War 3
In one of the more egregious examples you’ll see of reporters asking reckless questions about war, CBS News’s Steven Portnoy — the current president of the White House Correspondents’ Association — asked Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday why the Biden administration isn’t organizing a world war against Russia.
Note how Portnoy dances around using the word “war” in this clip, instead using “kinetic.”
Psaki did a good job handling the question, even if she didn’t explicitly acknowledge what should be obvious — that hot war between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers would be very bad news for everyone, including the already suffering people of Ukraine.
That’s it for today!
I’ll be back with more tomorrow.