KJP Tells CBS’s O’Keefe Team Biden Doesn’t Alter Photos. The Facts Are…Complicated.

News & Politics

Amid the questions during Tuesday’s White House press briefing about the border crisis, TikTok, and the war in Gaza, CBS’s Ed O’Keefe had a brief exchange with the ever-inept Karine Jean-Pierre about a topic that might have seemed silly on the surface, but was worth asking, which was whether the White House has digitally altered photos like the British royals were caught doing with Princess Kate in what’s become what the Brits call a row.

But, thanks to work in the last year by our friend John Hasson at Townhall, we know Jean-Pierre’s answer was, at best, misleading.

O’Keefe drew laughs from both Jean-Pierre and other reporters while delivering his question: “Does the White House ever digitally alter photos of the President, Vice President — [LAUGHTER] — First Lady, or Second Gentleman before they’re released?”

Jean-Pierre seemed exasperated he’d even ask: “Digitally altered? Not that I know of. I would say no. Why would we digitally alter photos?”

“Are you talking about — are you — are you comparing us to the — what’s going on in the UK,” she added, to which O’Keefe said to even more mocking laughter from others that he was merely “doing due diligence to ensure that the leader of another country wouldn’t alter photos of themselves before released.”

Jean-Pierre finally answered: “[W]hy does the monarch have to do anything with us? No, that is not something that we do here.”

Only then did O’Keefe let up: “Okay. That’s why I asked.”

Fact-check: False.

In a September 6 post, Hasson took notice of a tweet from Joe Biden’s X account on the same day with a photo of Trump on the left and Biden on the right, alongside a headline from each man’s presidency on infrastructure. 

Hasson observed that, upon closer examination, “Biden’s altered appearance looks practically cartoonish” with his face appearing to have been made “thinner, and the wrinkles on his forehead, cheeks, and neck have been drastically reduced, smoothing his complexion” to help “mak[e] Biden seem younger and healthier than he really is.”

And it’s not just the White House. On August 1, Hasson called out numerous Biden allies on social media for making their elderly President appear younger:

Since Biden launched his re-election campaign on April 25, White House allies have shared the same four digitally altered photos of Biden repeatedly—without acknowledging that the photos have been edited. One edited photo even retained its original Getty Images watermark, adding to its supposed authenticity. 

(….)

Their posts have been amplified by A-list Democrats, including Malcolm Nance, Jon Cooper, and former White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, who promised in his resignation letter that he would do whatever he could to help Biden’s reelection campaign. 

The most widespread photo appeared on July 8, when Democrat strategist Chris D. Jackson tweeted a picture of Biden vacationing in Delaware, contrasted with a picture of Trump golfing. 

(….)

Originally from Getty Pictures, the photograph had been altered to make Biden appear younger. The edits become abundantly clear when you compare the image’s original Getty copy…with Jackson’s image[.]

While Jackson’s July 8 tweet featured the most drastic edits compared to the other photoshopped images, the other edited pictures all follow the same pattern: they add color to Biden’s face, smooth his wrinkles, and exaggerate Biden’s smile (or as shown, add a smile where none exists). In each case, the result is a version of Biden that seems more youthful and ruddy compared to the president’s actual appearance.

So, while none of those came from the @WhiteHouse X account, Jean-Pierre certainly can’t say the regime’s hands are clean.

To see the relevant transcript from the March 12 briefing, click “expand.”

White House press briefing [via ABC News Live subfeed]
March 12, 2024
2:36 p.m. Eastern

ED O’KEEFE: Does the White House ever digitally alter photos of the President, Vice President — [laughter] — First Lady, or Second Gentleman before they’re released?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Digitally altered? Not that I know of. I would say no. Why would we digitally alter photos? 

O’KEEFE: I mean, it —

JEAN-PIERRE: Are you talking about — are you — are you comparing us to the — what’s going on in the UK?

O’KEEFE: I’m doing due diligence to ensure — [LAUGHTER] — that the leader of another —

JEAN-PIERRE: Well, wh- —

O’KEEFE: — country wouldn’t alter photos —

JEAN-PIERRE: Wh- — why does the monarch —
    
O’KEEFE: — of themselves before released.

JEAN-PIERRE: — have to do anything with us?  No, that is not something that we do here. 

O’KEEFE: Okay. [JEAN-PIERRE LAUGHS] That’s why I asked.

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