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PolitiFact went to bat President Biden yet again, this time over a viral clip he was mocked for last week showing him “shaking hands” with the air at a speaking event.
Critics poked fun at Biden following a speech in North Carolina touting his domestic agenda, claiming he was attempting to greet non-existent people on the stage he was standing alone on.
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But the so-called “fact-checkers” at PolitiFact felt the urgency to defend the president from the tongue-in-cheek mockery.
“You might have seen a clip of President Joe Biden ‘shaking hands’ with thin air. It never happened. Here’s the truth, as well as how misinformers manufacture and embellish embarrassing presidential moments,” PolitiFact began a lengthy Twitter thread on Wednesday.
PolitiFact noted how the claims about Biden “shaking hands” with the air were shared well beyond GOP circles, citing references made by Snoop Dogg and even “Saturday Night Live.”
“But videos show that Biden was actually pointing at the audience behind him with his whole hand. He acknowledges the right side, then the left, and begins to walk forward,” PolitiFact claimed. “Real, unscripted moments have often been counted among critics and late-night hosts as embarrassments, such as when former President Donald Trump slow-walked down a ramp, or when Biden stumbled on his way up the stairs of Air Force One. But an increasing share of the supposedly embarrassing presidential moments going viral online aren’t fully authentic or fake. Instead, real photos and videos have been edited in misleading ways — ways that will usually find a receptive audience.”
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PolitFact then cited “research scientist” Mike Caulfield, who told the fact-checker, “When we look at something that seems like one of these human moments, we’re like, ‘I don’t need to know anything. I can see it right there.’ It does breed, I think, a false sense of confidence in us.”
“The clips of Biden gesturing to those seated in the audience are being misconstrued to appear as if he was trying to shake hands with air. We rate this claim False,” PolitiFact concluded an article published Tuesday.
The liberal fact-checker was pummeled by critics for its latest “analysis.”
“Dying at this entire thread…” Versus Media podcast host Stephen Miller reacted.
“Get up get get get down, Politifact is a joke in your town,” Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway mocked the fact-checker.
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“A lot of huffing and puffing in this thread but my lying eyes tell me Joe Biden tried to shake hands with the air (a person he expected to be there but wasn’t; a hapless missed cue). How interesting is it that Politifact writes this ‘debunking’ but…never links to the clip,” National Review’s Jeff Blehar tweeted.
“There’s a reason these clowns refused to include the video,” The Federalist CEO Sean Davis similarly wrote.
Earlier this year, PolitiFact rushed to defend Biden after he faced backlash for equating political opponents to segregationists, releasing a fact-check that put his remarks “in context.”
Last year, PolitiFact shield Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris from claims they distrusted the COVID vaccine during the 2020 presidential campaign despite their past rhetoric drawing scrutiny towards any vaccine developed by the Trump administration.
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PolitiFact did, however, declare Biden’s claim last week that Americans couldn’t own a cannon when the Second Amendment passed was “false.”