President Donald Trump’s campaign is running yet another dishonest ad about opponent Joe Biden.
The Trump campaign and its allies have made a highly deceptive effort to convince voters that Biden is mentally impaired. To do so, they have repeatedly used altered, out-of-context, or deceptively labeled clips.
On Wednesday, we wrote about a video tweeted by Donald Trump’s son Eric Trump, and then retweeted by the President himself, that falsely alleged Biden had used a teleprompter in an interview with Telemundo.
Turns out that isn’t the only false accusation they are making about Biden and teleprompters.
The Trump campaign is running attack ads — versions of which are appearing on Facebook, YouTube, and Google — that wrongly allege that Biden used a teleprompter in an April interview he did, via computer connection from his Delaware home, with James Corden, host of the “Late Late Show” on CBS.
Both ads note the reflection of a teleprompter that briefly flashed on the screen as Biden held up a family photo to show Corden’s viewers. Both suggest that this supposed use of a teleprompter is evidence that Biden is not up to the job. “Can’t handle an interview? Can’t handle presidency,” one ad is captioned.
Except it wasn’t Biden’s teleprompter.
Facts First: Corden himself debunked this allegation on his show last week — after Trump retweeted a tweet in which a Republican National Committee official, Steve Guest, also made the false claim. Corden explained that the image in the reflection showed his own teleprompter text, which was visible on the screens of his guests who connected to the show remotely.
“Seriously, just to clear this up, none of this is true. The teleprompter is for me,” Corden said on his show. “Now this is back from when we were doing the shows in my garage, and that screen is what all of our guests who Zoomed into the show could see. OK? That’s it. It’s very similar to the screen I’m using now. OK? So there. That’s the actual truth.”
He joked, “So I’m sure actual hard facts will put this controversy to bed. It seems to work with any other conspiracy theory. So we’ll move on.”
The show’s executive producer, Ben Winston, had previously debunked the claim on Twitter, tweeting to some of the people promoting the conspiracy: “That’s actually James’s prompter. Not @joebiden’s. On zoom they see all our screens including our prompter. It’s the only way it can be done.”
(In a series of replies to people who continued questioning them, Winston posted photos of their setup and explained why it made the most sense for the show.)
By Thursday, the Trump campaign was paying Facebook thousands of dollars to run ads with the false teleprompter claim. Just one campaign ad buy, of up to $15,000, resulted in a video version of the ad clocking more than 800,000 views on Facebook.
The ad was being viewed most frequently in the swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Ohio, according to Facebook’s ad database.
The Trump campaign was also targeting swing states with the ads on Google.
Facebook, Google and YouTube do not fact check politicians’ ads and videos.