If you were a political science student of the future and you had to select one, just one, deceptive ploy on the part of Donald Trump and the people desperately trying to reelect him to represent how stupid and evil this campaign is, Joe Biden’s “George” comment would be it.
Joe Biden was being interviewed by comedian George Lopez and commentator Ana Navarro during a GOTV virtual concert, and that is the George to whom he was referring. Nevertheless, Team Trump cobbled together a clip which mischaracterized Biden mistaking Trump for George W. Bush. Trump megaphoned it on Twitter and Fox News ran with it — although to Fox’s credit they edited their headline later on when the facts came to light. It would have been nice if they had checked the facts first, but a retraction is showing good faith, kudos for that. As to the rest of Trump world, undoubtedly some damage was done — and that’s the purpose of propaganda, right? Here’s Trump going at it with great gusto.
Joe Biden called me George yesterday. Couldn’t remember my name. Got some help from the anchor to get him through the interview. The Fake News Cartel is working overtime to cover it up!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 26, 2020
Where this got out of control was that NBC News ran the clip without checking it. Fox News not checking the facts is bad enough, but NBC News not doing so is unconscionable, especially given the character of the people that we’re dealing with in this election. Navarro said she expected better from NBC News and I think it’s safe to say, so did we all. Daily Beast:
But on Monday morning, NBC News’ Today show irresponsibly aired a deceptively edited clip of Joe Biden, which appears to have originated with the Trump campaign, and purports to show the former vice president mixing up Presidents Donald Trump and George W. Bush. […]
The clip in question came from a celebrity-filled “I Will Vote” concert live stream Sunday night. “Four more years of, George, uh, George… we’re going to find ourselves in a position where Trump gets elected, we’re going to be in a different world.”
Trump world is so cash starved and desperate right now, that any morsel coming its way from the digital gods is going to be chewed over like a bone. And so it was.
Fox News pundit Brit Hume retweeted the Fox story with its original headline even after it had been updated, along with the comment, “Wondering why Biden has gone to ground again? This may help explain it.”
“It’s getting beyond ridiculous. This guy is not up for the job. The left is using him to get in their radicals,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted on Monday along with the clip. “Did Biden think he was running against George Bush or George Washington?”
And then there’s the president himself who worked the bit into his latest rally speech in Pennsylvania. “He can’t remember my name!” Trump said of Biden on Monday. “Now, I’m not that big of an ego guy, but I’m the candidate and I happen to be president. He could not remember my name yesterday, this is what you’re putting in office!”
Let us hope that once the National Enquirer *president* is gone, we can return to some semblance of normalcy and civility. The genie will never go back in the bottle entirely. But it is possible we can return to some kind of discourse which is elevated above Trump’s shock jock level.
And beyond that, let us hope that for the next week NBC News and everybody else will fact check anything coming from Team Trump. That’s a no brainer and it shouldn’t even have to be said, but here we are. Nero may have played a fiddle while Rome burned, Trump plays the media.