Fact Check: The Washington Times Did NOT Run A 'PRESIDENT GORE' Headline Following The 2000 Election

Fact Check

  • by: Victoria Eavis
Fact Check: The Washington Times Did NOT Run A 'PRESIDENT GORE' Headline Following The 2000 Election Doctored

Did The Washington Times publish a "PRESIDENT GORE" front page headline on November 8, 2000, following the highly-contested and drawn-out 2000 election in which Democratic candidate Al Gore ended up losing to George W. Bush? No, that's not true: This is a doctored headline. The Times never ran this front page. In the 2000 presidential election, it came down to a recount of votes in Florida and a Supreme Court decision to declare that Bush was the victor.

The claim originated in a Facebook post (archived here) where it was published by Mathew Staver, a constitutional law attorney and chairman of the Liberty Counsel, on November 7, 2020. The caption read:

The media was wrong in 2000. I litigated for five straight weeks nonstop. 20 years ago they were wrong. History has a way of repeating itself.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Nov 9 14:23:25 2020 UTC)

The Times declared the claim erroneous in a tweet posted on November 8:

The following photo from the Mitchell Archives of newspaper editions is the authentic front page from November 8, 2020:

bush-president-3.jpg

The following publications also reported that the "PRESIDENT GORE" front page is fake.

The Associated Press

Snopes

Axios

The Washington Post

Buzzfeed

Mother Jones

Slate Magazine

The Hill

The doctored image took off after Tim Murtaugh, the director of communications for the Trump campaign, tweeted a photo of the campaign headquarters seemingly plastered with the fake front page:

Screen Shot 2020-11-09 at 11.20.48 AM.png

Since Gore ended up losing to Bush in 2000, Murtaugh was apparently using the fake front page in an attempt to make a commentary on how Trump could still clinch the presidency even though it has been called for Biden.

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  Victoria Eavis

Victoria Eavis is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She recently graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. In her last few months at Duke, she was a reporter for a student news site, The 9th Street Journal, that covers the city of Durham, North Carolina. 

Read more about or contact Victoria Eavis

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