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Video of Joe Biden at G7 event is deceptively edited

Video of Joe Biden at G7 event is deceptively edited - Featured image

Author(s): Bill MCCARTHY / AFP USA

Right-leaning media organizations and critics of Joe Biden are claiming a video shows him aimlessly straying from other world leaders during a skydiving demonstration at the G7 summit in Italy. But while the US president has a history of gaffes and error-laden moments, the clip and images shared by the New York Post are deceptively edited, cropping out the skydivers at whom the US president was looking.

“President Biden appeared to wander off at the G7 summit in Italy, with officials needing to pull him back to focus,” the New York Post said in a June 13, 2024 post on X.

Screenshot from X taken June 17, 2024

The approximately 30-second video appears to show the 81-year-old Democrat — who has a history of gaffes and whose age polls show is a concern for some American voters — turning inexplicably away from other leaders at the June 13 Group of Seven event and flashing an errant thumbs-up gesture before Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni redirects his attention.

The next day, the newspaper spotlighted still photos from the clip on its front page.

“Meander in Chief,” the June 14 cover reads. “Biden embarrasses US with confused wanderings at world conference.”

Screenshot from X taken June 17, 2024

But the video and cover photos are misleadingly cropped — the latest out-of-context visuals designed to frame Biden as senile, confused and incapable of leading the nation ahead of November’s presidential election.

Deceptive editing

The narrative about Biden sauntering off appears to trace to the Republican National Committee (RNC), which AFP has previously fact-checked for spreading out-of-context clips and other falsehoods about the Democratic president.

The RNC posted a short, out-of-context snippet from the G7 summit’s skydiving demonstration, in which the group’s leaders had watched as parachutists landed on a golf course, each carrying the flag of one of their countries.

“WHAT IS BIDEN DOING?” the said the post with thousands of interactions.

The clip inspired a flurry of claims across X and other platforms that Biden had wandered away, was trying to talk to “an imaginary figure” or “missed the show” entirely.

The New York Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., went even further. The newspaper shared its own version of the video that manipulated the frame to zoom in on Biden and cut out the skydivers to his left.

“They use an artificially narrow frame to hide from viewers that he just saw a skydiving demonstration,” said Andrew Bates, the White House’s senior deputy press secretary, in a June 13 post on X (archived here).

Bates told AFP in a June 17 statement that the posts were “cheap fakes” and said Biden had been “giving a thumbs up to a skydiver.”

The G7 summit’s complete stream of the event confirms that multiple parachutists had landed to Biden’s left and were packing up their materials as he turned to acknowledge them (archived here).

Screenshot from YouTube taken June 17, 2024
Screenshot from YouTube taken June 17, 2024

Additional footage that was filmed from a different angle and aired on MSNBC also shows Biden was facing the skydivers as he signaled toward them (archived here).

Screenshot from YouTube taken June 17, 2024

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak offered a similar account, saying the US president had gone to talk to the parachute jumpers after their descent.

“They all landed and he was being very polite,” Sunak said, according to reports from the Telegraph and other media (archived here and here).

AFP also captured footage of the event, showing the skydivers scattered across the G7 crew on the golf course after landing.


AFP has debunked other misinformation about US politics here.

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Originally published here.
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