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Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher August 3, 2020

No, White House didn’t release a doctored image of Trump’s airport crowd

If Your Time is short

  • A doctored image of an airport crowd greeting Trump in Tampa was posted by a Twitter user, who said he thought it was an obvious joke.

Someone did a lousy job of doctoring a photo of President Donald Trump’s July 31 Tampa, Fla., airport event to make the crowd look bigger than it was.

A Facebook user claimed it was the White House.

On Aug. 1, the Facebook user posted four images "borrowed from" a Twitter user that purported to show the Tampa event. The Facebook post included one photo the user said was from the media, showing a modest gathering, and another one, with clear evidence of manipulation, said to be from the White House and depicting a thick crowd. 

The White House doctored the image "to make the crowd look bigger," the post claimed.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Several hundred supporters greeted Trump on the tarmac of Tampa International Airport, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Trump held a fundraiser in Tampa for his re-election campaign that evening. 

But it turns out the doctored image borrowed from the Twitter user was the work of a prankster trying to make a joke out of the president’s sensitivities about crowd size. 

Despite the shoddy cut-and-paste work, some social media commenters appeared to take the allegation against the White House seriously. One Twitter user wrote:

"This should be pointed out by every major news organization in the country. It should be shown. It matters that the WH is openly engaging in this type of manipulation. I’m so sick of our collective reaction being, ‘Meh, it’s Donald.’"

After observing the reaction, the Twitter user who created the image tweeted

"I figured that by using Paint (no Photoshop was harmed in the production) the resulting edits would be so obvious that EVERYONE would immediately recognize it as a joke, chuckle and move on. But this has been eye-opening."

Another user tweeted in response:

"It’s been labeled now as a joke but it should have been labeled originally because none of us know reality anymore!"

We rate the Facebook post False.

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No, White House didn’t release a doctored image of Trump’s airport crowd

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