For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.The Trump campaign’s latest attempt to deny President-elect Joe Biden’s victory is to claim that the media can’t call the race, and therefore it’s not over. To make this point, on Sunday the campaign’s spokesperson released an image of the front page of the Washington Times from November 8, 2000 showing the paper declaring Al Gore the winner of that contested election. “A reminder that the media doesn’t select the President,” spokesperson Tim Murtaugh tweeted. But there’s just one catch: the image is a fake.
The image was doctored to make it appear that the paper had called the race for Gore.* In fact, the front page of the Washington Times exactly 20 years ago today announced “President Bush.”
This appears to be the actual front page of The Washington Times from November 8, 2000
From the Mitchell Archives: https://t.co/334UQY9fDi https://t.co/txrK6y1iNf pic.twitter.com/PHfBaeway4
— Jason Leopold (@JasonLeopold) November 8, 2020
The Washington Times, a conservative outlet, confirmed that the image is a fake.
Those photos have been doctored. The Washington Times never ran a “President Gore” headline.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) November 8, 2020
Donald Trump and his campaign claim the election has been stolen by fraud and that the courts must determine the outcome, though they have no proof of fraud to sustain their allegations. To keep the campaign afloat (and keep GOP allies from deciding the election is over), they have begun complaining that the media isn’t the arbiter of the election. “Since when does the Lamestream Media call who our next president will be?” Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon.
According to Murtaugh’s tweet, the Trump campaign plastered copies of the doctored image all over the headquarter’s kitchen, raising the question: are they trying to fool us or themselves? Murtaugh deleted his tweet when the image was revealed to be a fake, but Mother Jones saved a screenshot of it.
It’s unclear if the image remains up in Trump HQ.
Correction: An earlier version of this article said the Trump campaign altered the image. It has in fact been on the internet for many years.