Tag Archives: YouTube

Did MSNBC Reporter Say ‘I Hope Coronavirus Kills People and Hurts Trump’s Reelection’?

Did MSNBC Reporter Say ‘I Hope Coronavirus Kills People and Hurts Trump’s Reelection’?
This false rumor demonstrates how one subtle video edit can achieve a huge deception.
By Dan Evon


Claim: An MSNBC reporter said on air: “I hope enough people die from coronavirus that it harms Trump’s reelection.”



As governments fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Snopes is fighting an “infodemic” of rumors and misinformation, and you can help. Tell us about any questionable, confusing, or concerning rumors and “advice” you encounter.

In March 2020, a message started to circulate on Facebook claiming that “MSNBC actually said” that it hoped the COVID-19 coronavirus disease would kill enough people to hurt U.S. President Donald Trump’s reelection chances:

msnbc coronavirus hurt trump

This is not a genuine quote.

The viral meme did not identify who allegedly uttered this quote nor on which MSNBC program. We attempted to find the phrase in news reports but found none on record. Our search of TV Eyes, a database of global television coverage, also came up empty-handed. 

The commentators on this Facebook post (as well as another version of this post with more than 50,000 shares) admitted that this wasn’t an actual quote from an MSNBC reporter. Rather, they claimed that this was a paraphrased version of an MSNBC clip featuring Nicole Wallace and Princeton Professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. from March 6, in which they discussed the coronavirus being Trump’s “Hurricane Katrina.” This clip, however, was discreetly edited to make it seem as if these reporters were making light of the situation.

The edited clip was created by the YouTube page The Tea Partiest and was first posted by websites such as RedState in articles that made a similar claim to the viral Facebook post. The RedState article, for instance, was headlined: “WATCH: MSNBC Host Nicole Wallace Hopes Coronavirus Tanks Trump’s Presidency.”  While Wallace and Glaude truly did compare President George W. Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina to Trump’s handling of the spread of COVID-19, they never said they “hoped” that this pandemic would worsen so that it would hurt Trump politically. 

Furthermore, the clip shared on RedState and other conservative websites was discreetly edited to make it look as if the reporters were giddy about the situation. For instance, after Glaude finishes his comments, the RedState video inserts a quick cut of MSNBC reporter Stephanie Ruhle smiling. But this smiling moment actually comes from another portion of the broadcast. In the original video from MSNBC, after Glaude finishes his comments, Ruhle gives her thoughts on the matter, asking, “Where are the grown-ups in the room?” and adding, “This may be the first time [a controversy] catches up with the president, [who has] a history of not telling the truth and surrounding himself with true Trump loyalists.” 

Here’s the version that was shared by The Tea Partiest. The deceptive edit occurs around 1:07:

Below is the unedited version from MSNBC. You’ll notice that when Glaude finishes up his remarks, around the 1:08 mark, the camera does not cut to Ruhle smiling. Rather, the MSNBC reporter takes her turn during the conversation with a follow-up observation:

While this may be a relatively small edit, it shows how a small lie can snowball into a larger distortion of the truth: The Tea Partiest shared a deceptively edited video. It was then picked up by websites such as RedState where it was presented as proof that these reporters were happy and hoping to see enough people die to hurt Trump politically. This message was further distorted when a Facebook user “summarized” this video into a quote — “I hope enough people die from coronavirus that it harms Trump’s re-election” — and then presented it on social media as if this was something an MSNBC reporter said on air.

Of course, that wasn’t the case. 

Wallace and Glaude compared Trump’s handling of the spread of COVID-19 with Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina. Wallace, who was the White House communications director under Bush, said that Hurricane Katrina was the moment that revealed “all the things that felt incredibly incompetent” about Bush’s presidency, and noted the similarities to Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wallace said:

Katrina was the moment when all the things that felt incredibly incompetent about the Bush presidency, the appointment of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, the botched attempt to privatize Social Security. I lived it, I can go through the whole list. Was realized. We gave them a proof point we were incompetent and also people died. This has the making structurally for the same kind of moment.

Trump’s handling of the spread of COVID-19 has been widely criticized, both for previous actions that hindered the United States’ preparedness (such as the disbandment of the the pandemic response team in 2018) and for not taking quick enough action when the disease first hit the U.S. 

Here is a link to the psychotic Tea Partiest You Tube Channel. Time to report these assholes to YouTube for their lying, edited videos.


Project Veritas’ YouTube sting was deeply misleading — and successful

Project Veritas’ YouTube sting was deeply misleading — and successful
James O’Keefe’s stunt playbook keeps giving conservative lawmakers ammunition, even if the evidence is all phony

By Casey Newton and Russell Brandom

My esteemed colleague Russell Brandom leads our policy team. He was struck by the disingenuous response from conservative lawmakers to the most recent video sting from Project Veritas, which presented YouTube employees in an unfair light. Russell asked if he could take over the column today, and I was happy to oblige. I’ll be back tomorrow with thoughts on Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance at the Aspen Ideas festival.

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has been on a tear against Google lately, with the most recent salvo coming this Monday. Like most of O’Keefe’s work, it’s deceptively edited and doesn’t add up to much, but he managed to catch one executive in a pretty poor choice of words. In a hidden camera conversation with Jen Gennai, Google’s Head of Responsible Innovation, the executive is caught saying the following:

Elizabeth Warren is saying we should break up Google. And like, I love her but she’s very misguided, like that will not make it better it will make it worse, because all these smaller companies who don’t have the same resources that we do will be charged with preventing the next Trump situation, it’s like a small company cannot do that.

If you substitute “Cambridge Analytica” for “Trump Situation,” it’s more or less the argument Facebook and Google have been using to fend off antitrust proposals all year. But if you’re inclined to think the whole media is biased against the president, it was exactly what you’d been waiting to hear. When the video was pulled off YouTube for “privacy violations” the next day, it only fueled the paranoia.

The whole situation would probably have stayed quiet if it weren’t for Ted Cruz, who called out the video in an uncomfortable moment at the Senate Commerce hearing the following day. Cruz was questioning Google UX Director Maggie Stanphill, who was nominally there to speak about dark patterns in interface design. Cruz took her to task for the quote in the video, and then again when he realized she hadn’t actually read the report.

“I would recommend people interested in political bias at Google watch the entire report and judge for yourself,” Cruz said. The clip was then circulated on the usual right wing outlets (Town Hall, Breitbart, PJ Media), and got a minor replay from the Homeland Security Committee the next day. After that last hearing, the scandal grew big enough that YouTube decided to issue an official denial, saying simply “we apply our policies fairly and without political bias.”

It’s embarrassing that Congress took this so seriously, and no one wants to give it any more attention than it deserves. But O’Keefe has played this trick over and over, so it’s worth breaking down exactly what’s happening here.

To start with, there’s a fairly straightforward reason why the Veritas video was banned. YouTube’s privacy guidelines ban videos that identify people who don’t want to be identified. There are exceptions for newsworthiness and public figures, but the Veritas video is clearly on the wrong side of the rule. The offending footage is the hidden-camera video of Gennai, who is no one’s idea of a public figure, and obviously didn’t consent to be in the video.

Even if you see Veritas as making a newsworthy point about platform bias, it’s hard to argue that including Gennai’s name and face was necessary to make that point. (Hidden camera footage used on broadcast news typically blurs out faces for exactly this reason.) Given the general temperament of Veritas subscribers, one can only imagine the kind of abuse that’s been pointed at Gennai in the days since the video went live.

This sort of takedown happens often enough that we can assume most YouTubers are aware of them, to say nothing of reporters covering YouTube moderation issues. It’s hard to believe O’Keefe was walking into this blind — just like it’s hard to believe he wasn’t aware that YouTube was scheduled for a run of congressional hearings in the days after the video posted. He was daring YouTube to ban him, knowing that it would elevate a mediocre scoop into two days of congressional berating.

The point wasn’t to force YouTube into better policies or more consistent enforcement. It was simply brute force, letting executives know that every time someone in the conservative clique has trouble with YouTube, there will be a lawmaker ready to sweat them over it. Each time it happens, Google gets a little more gun-shy dealing with high-profile policy violations, whether it’s Alex Jones or Steven Crowder. And as long as the trick keeps working, O’Keefe and Cruz will keep doing it.