Trump Campaign Ad Uses Altered Photos to Smear Biden's 'Radical' Belief in Science, Social Distancing and Prayer

Illustration for article titled Trump Campaign Ad Uses Altered Photos to Smear Biden's 'Radical' Belief in Science, Social Distancing and Prayer
Photo: Andrew Harnik (AP), Screenshot: Donald J. Trump for President (AP)

Donald Trump’s campaign has finally found a legitimate scandal to pin on Joe Biden.


A new ad appealing to Trump’s base of racist, anti-mask, coronavirus-spreading conspiracy theorists contains altered photos of Joe Biden committing egregiously sensible acts like socially distancing, praying and acknowledging the value of Black life.

On Wednesday, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign team unveiled a new ad aimed at old, racist white people because, in the two thousand twentieth year of the Divine Virtuous Redeemer (DVR), if you aren’t fast-forwarding through commercials, you’re either an elderly Fox News watcher, too high to find the “‘mote cuhtrol” or Amish. It’s true. People who watch commercials don’t have the Holy Ghost.

The 30-second ad features altered photos of Joe Biden and the dulcet tones of the woman who seemingly does the voiceovers for all negative campaign ads (I think it’s also the same woman who used to narrate every episode of Snapped until they got this new narrator whose voice sounds like factory-refurbished toilet paper).

While stupid, the ad seems reasonable until you realize that, according to CNN, nearly every photo of Biden has been altered, which is an astonishing revelation. (I’m not surprised that Team Trump would stoop to such despicable tactics; it’s that I was shocked that they know how to use Photoshop. This seems like more of an MS Paint-based administration.)

For instance, the photo of Biden supposedly “hiding in a basement” alone, staring at the floor, is actually a photo taken by Mark Peterson when Biden was giving a speech at a town hall in 2019. The Trump team just photoshopped away the microphone Biden was holding and changed the background because Biden wasn’t actually in a basement, he was outside.


The other picture that Trump’s campaign claims to show Biden sequestered “alone” and “hiding” was literally taken at a crowded house party the former vice president attended to watch a football game.


The ad concludes with a photograph of Biden looking asleep and tired while the narrator cites the ex-veep’s “crazy, far-left ideas.” (Which is also funny: Calling Joe Biden “far-left” and “radical” is like referring to Terry Crews as “pro-Black” or a “superstar.) But we shouldn’t even hold that against Joe Biden because everyone falls asleep sometimes.


It’s also a lie.

The pic was actually taken by Andrew Harnik, an Associated Press photographer, who captioned the photo: “Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden bows his head in prayer as he visits Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del., Monday, June 1, 2020.”


Aside from the obvious duplicitousness, you gotta love the fact that the Trump campaign made an entire commercial that essentially knocks Joe Biden for taking scientifically proven measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. It’s like a dog whistle specifically for people who believe mask mandates violate their 28th Amendment rights. Basically, the whole ad is a lie about Trump’s lies, which means it is fake news squared.


But as Jesus said to his disciples:

“Resist Satan and fast forward to the Lord on high. As he said unto me: A picture is worth a thousand words but a lie don’t care who tells it.”—Two Corinthians 15:3-5



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Bass Player Convention

I’m not a lawyer, but it seems like this goes beyond the usual political-ad cropping and context removing into straight-up illegality. Would the Biden campaign— or even the original photographers— have a case?

Not that I’m in any way surprised that Trump or whoever paid for the ad would stoop to such incredible nonsense, or do it so incompetently that the truths are revealed about 1.5 seconds after the ads went public.