The Washington Post's fact-checker column awarded four Pinocchios to former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race On The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Health Care — GOP attorneys general warn of legal battle over Biden's vaccine mandate MORE on Friday for a campaign ad that creates "a false narrative that does not reflect the event as it occurred."
The column said the video manipulation distorts President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE's remarks about the coronavirus.
The campaign ad says Trump referred to the coronavirus as "a hoax" at a campaign rally in South Carolina last month, but Washington Post fact-checker Meg Kelly called the editing of the president's remarks a "blatant" misrepresentation.
"At the 10-second mark [of the ad], the camera shows a tight shot of the president saying 'coronavirus' and then cuts to a wide shot where [Trump] says, 'this is their new hoax.' Both clips are from Trump’s Feb. 28 campaign rally in North Charleston, S.C., but he never said 'coronavirus, this is their new hoax.' Rather, Biden’s ad clipped a large part of Trump’s speech to make it seem as though he had," the article explained.
"Ultimately, the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak, the fact that Trump had clarified his comments on the matter before the ad was released, and the blatant way the Biden camp isolated his remarks about the American Dream pushed us to Four Pinocchios," Kelly added. "Campaigns must be willing to make their case without resorting to video manipulation."
Biden's campaign defended the ad.
“Donald Trump is the most dishonest president in American history and one of the least credible human beings in the world," Andrew Bates, a spokesman for Biden’s campaign, told the Post. "We don’t trust his next-day cleanup attempt, and he has made many comments in that same vein. And the claim that the American Dream was ‘dead’ in the final year of the Obama administration -- during the longest streak of job growth in American history -- is categorically untrue and another reminder of Donald Trump’s deep cynicism.”
The Post's fact-checker applies Pinocchios ranging from one to four, with four being reserved for what the column considers the most egregious statements or actions.
Coronavirus has quickly become a central campaign issue, with many political observers arguing that Trump's handling of the crisis is hurting his reelection prospects.
The Trump administration has come under heavy criticism for the pace of its response to the outbreak. A prime-time address from the Oval Office this week by Trump did little to calm markets, which suffered heavy losses the day after his speech.
The Post's fact-checker column has also criticized Trump's remarks about coronavirus.