Clips of President Joe Biden walking away during a first lady’s speech to chase down an ice cream truck, and shaking hands in sophistication, are causing a stir on social media.
So what’s going on? The answer is simple: the meme factory has struck again. But it’s worth taking a closer look at how two ordinary videos were turned into instruments to undermine the president.
One of the videos that has been widely shared in recent days actually dates back to September 10, 2021, when Joe and Jill Biden visited Brookland Middle School in Washington, D.C.
In the original clip posted to C-SPAN, the president can be seen walking away during the first lady’s speech on how to protect children during the COVID-19 pandemic, only to return to her side about 10 seconds later. . We don’t know why he left.
Social media users added the sound of an approaching ice cream truck – not in the original clip – to create a Twitter meme of the president driving away to chase an ice cream.
Some have even digitally edited the video to add a real ice cream truck to pictures.
It’s the same as on social media, where all of the president’s public appearances are closely watched by his critics – and often singled out, memmified or ridiculed.
Controversy over the ‘ice cream clip’ escalated after Reuters news agency published a fact-checking article declaring it false.
Some social media users expressed surprise that the agency took the time to debunk the clip and even mocked Reuters for its report, a fact that was picked up by conservative outlets including Fox News.
Other users pointed out that, even without the music from the ice cream truck, it was disconcerting that Biden walked away during the first lady’s speech and no explanation was given.
Some of the doctored videos have now been flagged as “manipulated media” by Twitter.
The second clip making the rounds on social media is more recent, from Biden’s four-day trip to the Middle East in July.
In this video, filmed as the president wraps up a press briefing in Tel Aviv, Israel, Biden appears to briefly reach out for a handshake in the air, as no one can be seen in front of him. He keeps his hand up for a second before pointing to the chairs in front of him and seemingly asking for directions on where to sit.
Critics on social media have alleged that the video shows the president suffering from dementia and unable to govern. Nothing indicates that this is the case.
This isn’t the first time Biden has been accused of shaking hands in a hurry. After a speech at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in April, the president turned around and raised his hand, prompting critics to say he was confused.
Independent fact-checkers, however, debunked the clip, saying Biden was gesturing to the audience.
Newsweek contacted the White House for comment.