Flailing Trump Campaign Shares Doctored Image of a 2000 Newspaper to Dispute Biden’s Victory

They’re spreading disinformation to keep Trump’s presidency afloat.

Alex Brandon/AP

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The Trump campaign’s latest attempt to deny President-elect Joe Biden’s victory is to claim that the media can’t call the race, and therefore it’s not over. To make this point, on Sunday the campaign’s spokesperson released an image of the front page of the Washington Times from November 8, 2000 showing the paper declaring Al Gore the winner of that contested election. “A reminder that the media doesn’t select the President,” spokesperson Tim Murtaugh tweeted. But there’s just one catch: the image is a fake.

The image was doctored to make it appear that the paper had called the race for Gore.* In fact, the front page of the Washington Times exactly 20 years ago today announced “President Bush.”

The Washington Times, a conservative outlet, confirmed that the image is a fake.

Donald Trump and his campaign claim the election has been stolen by fraud and that the courts must determine the outcome, though they have no proof of fraud to sustain their allegations. To keep the campaign afloat (and keep GOP allies from deciding the election is over), they have begun complaining that the media isn’t the arbiter of the election. “Since when does the Lamestream Media call who our next president will be?” Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon. 

According to Murtaugh’s tweet, the Trump campaign plastered copies of the doctored image all over the headquarter’s kitchen, raising the question: are they trying to fool us or themselves? Murtaugh deleted his tweet when the image was revealed to be a fake, but Mother Jones saved a screenshot of it. 

It’s unclear if the image remains up in Trump HQ. 

Correction: An earlier version of this article said the Trump campaign altered the image. It has in fact been on the internet for many years.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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