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Video altered in effort to make Biden appear confused

January 17, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Video shows President-elect Joe Biden confused as he stops to pick up his notebook before leaving the stage after a news conference on Saturday. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video was altered. It zooms in on Biden to exclude other people from the shot, including Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and the audio was removed, making it unclear why Biden paused when he got the notebook. A review of the entire video with sound shows he stopped because reporters were asking questions as he was leaving. 


THE FACTS: The video was taken at a news conference where Biden and Harris introduced a slate of scientific advisers to lead efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The altered video, shared on social media with comments saying it showed Biden confused, had 1.7 million views by late Sunday morning.

The video was shared across Twitter and Facebook. Twitter labeled the video “manipulated media” on Sunday. 

Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, retweeted the altered video early Sunday, saying “this is not a joke.” 

“We are so screwed,” said the tweet with the altered video that Giuliani retweeted. “He has no idea where or who he is sometimes.”

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, also shared the edited video on Sunday with the comment, “Yikes. If he was a Republican the 25th amendment talk would be trending and rightfully so.” 

In the full-length video, Biden speaks up after Harris’ remarks to again express his excitement for his new science team. 

“I am going to say one more thing,” Biden says, adding that he wasn’t supposed to speak again.

“You can tell this is real,” he says. “We are both really excited about this because there is so much we can do.” 

Biden ends by saying he had gone beyond the comments he was supposed to make.

In the altered clip, the audio stops after Biden says he has said more than planned. He then turns to leave and stops to pick up a notebook, gazing out into the distance before walking off stage. In the full-length footage, journalists can be heard calling out questions as he looks out into the room. 



This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: