The New York Times on Friday pushed an entirely unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that President Trump was actually standing in front of a “Digital backdrop” in two videos posted to Twitter Thursday showing the president addressing viewers from the South Lawn of the White House.
The New York Times published this bizarre and embarrassing conspiratorial claim that Trump was standing in front of a "digital backdrop" in a front page story this morning, then scrubbed it without noting any correction. pic.twitter.com/IXaX8KqXlU— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) October 9, 2020
The Washington Post pushed the same theory, albeit using questions raised by social media users as a scapegoat to suggest Trump had actually faked his outdoor appearance based on “the focus of the grass, the background that looks like it’s on a loop, the shadows.”
Here’s one of the videos in question:
TO MY FAVORITE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD! pic.twitter.com/38DbQtUxEu— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2020
But at least the Washington Post included this tidbit, which might explain why the NYT scrubbed the greenscreen theory from their original article (without, of course, adding a note or correction admitting the screw-up):
“I don’t see clear visual evidence that the video is shot with a green screen, the crisp shadows appear to be consistent with the sun as the light source, and the reverberation in the audio does not sound like it is indoors,” said Hany Farid, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley who researches digital forensics.
The White House has also pushed back on speculation that the film was digitally altered or occurred anywhere but on the South Lawn.