The video, taken from Mr. Biden’s speech at Arlington National Cemetery this week, included a section where the president talked about Satchel Paige, a baseball player known for breaking down racial barriers who played in the Negro leagues before they were finally dissolved in 1962.
In his speech, Biden says: “I adopted the attitude of the great negro, pitcher in the Negro Leagues at the time, became a great pitcher in professional and Major League Baseball after Jackie Robinson. His name was Satchel Paige “.
The full clip was shared and criticized by some blue-ticked conservatives on Twitter, including former President Donald Trump’s son Eric Trump, though most dismissed it as a little stumble on words.
But a clip of the speech aired by Fox News removed the context provided by the middle section of the quote, so that it appeared that Mr. Biden said he had “adopted the attitude of the great negro of the time, pitcher, the name was Satchel Paige ”.
Fox host Sean Hannity called the incident “one of the [Biden’s] most disturbing and worrying moments to date ”.
On Friday morning Fox & Friends discussed the edited version of the video, with guests saying that Mr. Biden’s choice of words was “to land him in hot water.”
Many reporters have tried to question this interpretation online. “I missed this last night, but what Hannity calls one of Biden’s most ‘disturbing’ gaffes is totally false news,” tweeted former Vox editor Aaron Rupar. “When Biden referred to Satchel Paige as a ‘big nigger’ he was clearly referring to Paige pitching in black leagues. Watch the clip yourself “.
However, the damage appears to have been done, and late Friday evening #RacistJoeBiden started trending on Twitter.
A Fox News spokesperson admitted he brought the edited video, but said that Guardian this was done only for reasons of time, and subsequent broadcasts, including on Fox & Friends, carried the president’s full remarks. A report on the incident on the Fox News website called it Biden’s “latest gaffe,” but put the full quote into context.
Media ethicists have stressed the essential responsibility of journalists as they cut videos to ensure that by doing so they do not change the meaning of what was said or leave out the essential context.
“When editing videos, reporters have an obligation to keep statements in the context in which they were delivered or to explain to viewers why a change was made. In the video presented by Fox & Friends, the change wasn’t clear at all, “said Al Tompkins, a faculty member at Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank.