Did Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer violate the state's social distancing order at the same time she was signing the stay-at-home orders? No, that's not true: A TV news report used file footage from January 2019 of a completely different bill signing during a story about the new order.
Shes signing this order as there's 9 other people behind her standing shoulder to shoulder. And who knows how many camera men are on the opposite side... Hmph should they also get that $1000 fine? Or na?
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
The post is being shared to suggest the Michigan governor was being hypocritical and practicing the old adage, "Do as I say, not as I do."
However, the photo was more than a year old, as FactCheck.org first reported. It did not show Whitmer signing the actual emergency order on April 2, 2020, which called for a fine up to $1,000 for people who violate the state's social distancing requirements due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had shared the falsehood on Twitter, prompting Whitmer to issue her own response:
Hello Senator! This photo is from January of 2019, and is being misused to spread fear and anger. I know you would never intentionally mislead the public during a pandemic, so I'm hopeful you'll correct this mistake as soon as possible. Stay safe, & happy Easter from Michigan 👋-- Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) April 13, 2020
Cruz later deleted the tweet and offered this explanation:
I RT'ed a former LA Times reporter who had tweeted pics that mistakenly ran on the ABC local news broadcast. When I found out the story was erroneous, I deleted the tweet. Gosh, Brian, why does your tweet omit the MSM error that started it? Or does CNN only exist to attack GOP? https://t.co/ehvPHPMrGh-- Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 13, 2020
The station at the center of this imbroglio, WXYZ, published an explanation on its website, but it did not explicitly offer an apology:
We recognize the decision to use the video has caused confusion, and WXYZ has internally addressed what allowed it to happen in the first place.
(WXYZ) - A viral photo being shared across social media of Gov. Whitmer, purportedly showing her not following her recent executive order on social distancing, features a bill signing that is more than a year old and is in no way related to the COVID-19 outbreak.