Fox News and other right-wing media fabricate a Biden gaffe — “end of” story

Right-wing media outlets have tried to manufacture a story falsely claiming that President Joe Biden misread a teleprompter — supposedly reciting an “end of quote” cue that was not meant to be read aloud. In reality, Biden was directly telling his listeners that he was ending a quote. And even after corrections have piled up, some are still trying to depict this moment as some kind of gaffe when it was nothing of the kind.

A quick Google search also shows that Biden has used the “quote … end of quote” construction before. Indeed, he had also used it just the day before, in his remarks on Monday when he nominated Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for a second term.

During remarks Tuesday, Biden briefly quoted Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, who had extolled the cooperation between the government and private sector in resolving supply-chain interruptions.

Video file

Citation Via the White House, November 23, 2021

JOE BIDEN (PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES): And, by the way, you may have heard the CEO of Walmart yesterday on the steps we’ve taken. He said, and I quote, “The combination of private enterprise and government working together has been really successful.” He went on to say, “All the way through the supply chain, there’s a lot of innovation” because of the actions we’ve taken, things have begun to change. End of quote.

Tuesday afternoon, right-wing talk radio host Clay Travis spread a video clip on Twitter, with Travis claiming that Biden “just keeps getting worse.” The clip was only eight seconds long, however, and left out the setup that Biden had begun with a “quote” construction.

Fox News ran an online article claiming that Biden had “appeared to read technical instructions from his teleprompter,” without including any context that Biden was in fact quoting somebody else. The same article and its headline were later updated hours later to include this crucial fact without noting that the article itself had made that mistake. The piece however did include language of a rare correction from the network: “Fox News and several other outlets mistakenly reported that he was reading a teleprompter cue.”

Fox’s corporate cousin the New York Post, however, has continued to characterize Biden’s speech as a “faux pas” even while including the context that he had been quoting somebody.

The far-right site The Gateway Pundit ran a post declaring: “This guy is so lost. We are so screwed.” In addition, the Washington Examiner also posted an article claiming that Biden had made “an audible slip-up when he read off more than he should have during a speech.” But the article itself now appears to have been taken down.