Fact Check: NO Evidence BBC News Made Meme Of 'Inaudible' Joe Biden Quote

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: NO Evidence BBC News Made Meme Of 'Inaudible' Joe Biden Quote Not By Network

Did BBC News make a meme from an "inaudible" quote by Joe Biden? No, that's not true: There is no evidence to support the claim that BBC News created such a meme. It appears to be a mashup that riffs on White House transcripts, which insert "(Inaudible)" when microphones don't capture clear speech, and on a line from a Biden-Harris campaign fundraising email in July 2024 in which the U.S. president said, "Let me say this as clearly and simply as I can: I'm running."

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Threads on July 8, 2024. The graphic includes a BBC News logo and the following on-screen caption over an image of Biden at a podium:

Let me say this as clearly and simply as I can: [inaudible]

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

chrome_WYa4We1dJk.png

(Source: Threads screenshot taken on Tue Jul 9 14:58:51 2024 UTC)

The post provided no evidence to substantiate its claim that the BBC ever made such an attribution to the U.S. president.

Fundraising email

The meme appears to have been inspired by a line in a Biden-Harris fundraising appeal to supporters on July 3, 2024. That came in the aftermath of the presidential debate with former President Donald Trump on June 27, 2024, in which Biden's performance raised questions about his fitness for office. The original quote from the email said:

So, let me say this as clearly and simply as I can: I'm running.

The full text of the fundraising email appeared in a July 3, 2024, tweet (archived here) on the X account of New York Times reporter Kenneth P. Vogel. This is what the post looked like on X, formerly Twitter, at the time of writing:

chrome_47LUcjJJ7p.png

(Source: X screenshot taken on Tue Jul 9 16:43:27 2024 UTC)

Google searches

Through a reverse image search with Google Lens (archived here), Lead Stories found that the meme featured in the post on social media is available in many variations in addition to the one being fact checked here. The most common version is the one featuring the original quote from the fundraising email. Three of them appear side by side below:

POWERPNT_3tKcRrKJIx.png

(Source: X and Threads screenshots taken on Tue Jul 9 2024 UTC)

While the first of the memes shown directly above accurately quotes the Biden-Harris campaign email, which was reported by BBC News on July 3, 2024, there is no evidence the network created any of the memes circulating on social media.

Lead Stories searched using keywords on Google News, visible here (archived here), and found no credible reporting as of July 9, 2024, to corroborate the claim that BBC News made a meme from an "inaudible" quote by Joe Biden.

The notation "(Inaudible)" is common in transcriptions (here's one example) of White House events, at which speakers may turn away from a microphone or be drowned out by cross-talk or room noise.

BBC News

Lead Stories reached out to BBC News for comment. When the network responds, it will be added to this story.

Read more

Additional Lead Stories fact checks on claims involving Biden can be found here.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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