University of Arizona Spokesman Debunks Obama “Applause” Instructions Allegations

A spokesman for the University of Arizona has debunked claims that the White House ran applause instructions at a memorial service last week for victims of the Tucson shooting.

In recent days, conservative bloggers -- led by Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft -- have pointed to a picture displaying video of Obama speaking with the words “school.” and "[APPLAUSE]" on a Jumbotron as evidence that Obama was, in the words of Hoft, “ask[ing] for” applause at UA's McKale Memorial Center. As Media Matters and others have noted, the text was actually closed captioning and not “applause” instructions.

In an email to Media Matters, UA Assistant Vice President for Communications Johnny Cruz confirmed that the bloggers' allegations are incorrect. Cruz wrote: “The text you see on the screen was part of the closed captioning provided for the individuals in attendance who were hearing impaired.”

Indeed, as I noted on Saturday, the following is what viewers watching Fox News' telecast saw when their closed captioning was turned on:

As Eric Boehlert noted, Hot Air's Ed Morrissey issued an apology after he pushed the fake story. So far, Hoft -- the originator of the claim -- has yet to do so.