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Fake snooze

Fact checkers debunk MK’s claim that Biden fell asleep in Bennett meet

Clips widely shared on social media, including by Likud’s Galit Distel Atbaryan, were altered to cut out the president’s response in order to deliberately mislead, Reuters notes

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meets with US President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House, August 27, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meets with US President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House, August 27, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

US President Joe Biden did not fall asleep during a meeting last week with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, according to a Reuters fact check of the incident.

The false claim was widely disseminated on social media, in the US and Israel, including by a Likud MK.

Biden and Bennett met on Friday morning at the White House, after their planned meeting was delayed 24 hours following the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport on Thursday which killed 13 US military officers.

In clips shared on social media, Biden appears to have fallen asleep as Bennett is speaking. But those clips have been altered to cut out Biden’s remarks made immediately after he briefly lowered his eyes while listening, Reuters noted.

Observers also noted that Biden’s remarks immediately after Bennett stopped speaking — “You’ve given me credit, much of which should go to Barack Obama, for making sure that we committed to the qualitative edge you would have” — were a direct response to the prime minister’s comments.

Likud MK Galit Distel Atbaryan, who was among those to share the misleading clip, accused the Israeli media of “falling asleep itself and not paying attention to this historical moment.”

Distel Atbaryan’s tweet accumulated more than 5 million views.

It was also flagged with a warning from Twitter for sharing “manipulated media.”

Likud MK Galit Distel Etebaryan attends the Jewish Moroccan celebration of Mimouna, in Ma’ale Adumim, on April 3, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/File)

During the 2020 presidential election, Biden was dubbed “Sleepy Joe” by his opponent, former president Donald Trump, and critics of the president have repeatedly attempted to share disinformation claiming that Biden has fallen asleep during meetings or at events.

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