Fact Check: Fourth Of July Event Attendees Did NOT Have Their Phones Off

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Fourth Of July Event Attendees Did NOT Have Their Phones Off Sun Reflection

Did President Joe Biden attend a Fourth of July event where every attendee had their phone off? No, that's not true: Evidence from news organization footage shows that people were recording and phones were on. It was possible that because the event was in the evening, and the sun was lower in the sky, rays from the sun blocked out the images on the phones, making them appear to be turned off.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on July 9, 2023, captioned "Staged event??" It opened:

I want you to watch this video and see if you notice anything unusual, not about Joe Biden, but about the people in attendance there.

Here is what the TikTok looked like at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-07-13 at 11.56.44 AM.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Jul 13 15:52:37 2023 UTC)

The video shows Biden at an Independence Day event at the White House on July 4, 2023. The two men speaking over the footage claim that everyone in the crowd has a turned-off phone and are not recording anything. One of the men says this looks like a staged event full of military or government employees.

Biden was in fact speaking to military families before he went over to greet them.

In PBS footage of the event on YouTube, it's clear that one phone is recording, held by someone wearing a brown hat with a dark band. Figures seen on that phone screen prove the phone was not off. Evidence of the phone screen can be seen below:

Screenshot 2023-07-13 at 12.34.48 PM 1.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Thu Jul 13 16:34:55 2023 UTC)

Another example of a phone recording is at the 12:22 mark in The Independent's YouTube video of the event. In the phone seen in the middle of the screen, a man with a tan hat can be seen on the right side in the phone screen. Unlike the man behind the phone, there are no sunglasses on the back of the cap. Lead Stories has enhanced the YouTube screenshot here:


(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Thu Jul 13 16:52:53 2023 UTC)

A few seconds later, at 12:24, the person with dark hair wearing the tan hat with no sunglasses around the back, is easier to see. His hat is the same as the one on the phone screen. Evidence here:

Screenshot 2023-07-13 at 1.51.01 PM 1.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Thu Jul 13 16:52:53 2023 UTC)

Other phones may appear to be turned off, but that's because the sun is reflecting off of them. The event was after 5 p.m. EST, so the sun was a bit lower in the sky, possibly causing the sun rays to reflect off the phones, thereby making the phone screen look inactive.

More Lead Stories articles on Joe Biden are here.

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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