If you’re like me, you’ve been casually scrolling through Facebook or Twitter only to see someone post allegedly “inappropriate” pictures of Joe Biden with children. Or maybe you saw Donald Trump Jr. call Biden a “pedophile.” Either way, you probably want to get to the bottom of it.
I thought at first that Biden just had issues with respecting personal space, or that his closeness to citizens was merely the product of being an older politician, but, as a journalist and author of a book about fighting fake news, I decided to look deeper. My investigation has revealed the photos are deceptively edited, captioned, and marketed to hurt the president-elect’s reputation. In each photo I analyzed, the context of the situation has been distorted such that it appears “creepy” when in reality it was entirely benign.
Let’s talk about some specifics.
First, I want to draw attention to probably the most popular image of its kind. It has been shared millions of times across every platform with a caption calling the pictured action “discomforting” and disturbing.
Countless discomforting photos of @JoeBiden have surfaced but nothing disturbs me more than this one. This is a man who thinks he is running for President in 2020? Pls retweet this and spread the awareness for people to look into him. #QAnon #TheStorm #FollowTheWhiteRabbit pic.twitter.com/Vrl5OmAso1
— Peter Luis Venero (@peterluisvenero) January 3, 2018
It is definitely weird, right? Not even a little bit. The context of this photo has been completely stripped, which is especially disturbing since the photo is Biden with his grandson at Beau Biden’s funeral. Biden was actually comforting a young boy who just lost his father. Here’s the original:
Here’s another one that purports to show Biden biting the face of a young girl:
It turns out Biden isn’t in this photo at all. The image is actually just Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, from a deceptive angle. Here is another angle:
The third example I’ll debunk is as equally divorced from context as the first. In this image, we are supposed to believe that Biden is trying to kiss an underage girl on the head and that she is pulling away from him and apparently feeling quite uncomfortable. A headline from the conservative Washington Times published the photo with the headline, “Joe Biden rejected as Chris Coons’ young daughter pulls away from V.P.’s kiss.”
The AP confirms that Biden was merely leaning in “to say something” to the young girl, but abuse is in the eye of the victim, so the truth here all depends on what Maggie thinks. She has stated in interviews that there was nothing “creepy” about the interaction.
Whether you agree with Biden’s politics or not, I’m here to encourage you not to spread false information about him. It may even be defamation. For more tips on how to avoid misinformation, and how to help your loved ones escape from an addiction to “alternative facts,” check out my new book, The Curious Person’s Guide to Fighting Fake News. Thank you!
Yours in Reason,
David G. McAfee