Once again, we have a real story that looks like a Babylon Bee satire.
Earlier this week, viral video provoked forgettable jokes because it appeared to show something icky falling onto U.S. President Joe Biden’s shoulder as he was speaking at an event in Iowa. Naturally, the assumption was that the gunk was bird droppings, since that’s what such episodes usually entail. (It’s happened to me!) Obviously having a bird poop on you isn’t a reason for shame, but the two most partisan and unreliable U.S. “factcheckers” felt that it essential, as the loyal, progressive patriots that they are, to debunk the notion that Joe Biden had been forced to live through a recreation of the scene from “High Anxiety,” Mel Brooks’ Hitchcock spoof.
On April 12, 2022, a video went viral on social media that supposedly showed bird poop falling onto U.S. President Joe Biden’s shoulder as he was speaking at an event in Iowa. We examined that video and photographs from the event, and collected statements from White House officials and journalists. Here’s what we learned: What landed on Biden’s lapel was more likely a corn byproduct than bird poop. We examined photographs from Reuters, The Associated Press, and Getty Images to get a closer look at this corn/bird poop. Upon closer examination, the “bird poop” appears to be somewhat yellowish in color (like corn) and looks more like dust (i.e., from corn processing) than a liquid (i.e., bird poop).
Of course, absent chemical analysis, the Snopes conclusion is still opinion, not “fact.” But them most “factchecks” are opinions.Now here’s the equally biased PolitiFact:
A Facebook claim said that a bird did its business on Biden’s jacket while the president was delivering a speech in Iowa. Something did stain the president’s suit during his speech, but it was distillers grains, according to reporters in the room and the White House. A video clearly shows particles flying around from a giant, nearby grain pile. We rate this claim False.
As the bigoted Juror 10 complains in “Twelve Angry Men,” “What you want to believe, you believe, and what you don’t want to believe, you don’t.” Why would either outlet feel it is important whether Biden jacket was messed up by bird poop or corn poop? Answer: with Biden’s popularity and public trust dropping like bird poop, these “factcheckers” are, like the news media itself, desperate to do anything that might even slightly help the President look better.
After all, they would have done the same “factcheck” if a bird pooped on President Trump. Right? Right?
This performance by Snopes and PolitiFact is funny, sad, and signature significance. Serious, trustworthy and professional “factcheckers,” if there even are such things, don’t devote time and print to such trivia.
Pointer: Paula Bolyard