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No, a child did not yell an expletive during Jill Biden’s book reading

Video viewed thousands of times on social media claims a child cursed at first lady Jill Biden during a book reading. VERIFY confirmed the video was edited.

Editor’s note: Video content contains profanity.

On Nov. 29, first lady Dr. Jill Biden read to a group of second grade students from Waldorf, Maryland’s Malcolm Elementary School at the White House. 

Biden read from a book she published, titled “Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops,” before unveiling the White House holiday decorations. 

On social media, several versions of a video appearing to include a child yelling profanities during the book reading were viewed hundreds of thousands of times (see archived video examples here and here). 

THE QUESTION

Did a child yell an expletive at first lady Jill Biden during her holiday book reading?

THE SOURCES

  • Michael LaRosa, press secretary to the first lady of the United States 
  • US Network Pool
  • Video keyframe analysis
  • Audio analysis

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, a child did not yell an expletive at first lady Jill Biden during her holiday book reading. The video shared on social media was edited to include audio from a child’s outburst. VERIFY could trace the child’s audio to at least 2019, when a child went viral for yelling during a preschool graduation.

WHAT WE FOUND

The 18-second manipulated video posted to Twitter and YouTube alleging that a child cursed during the first lady’s book reading was lifted from pool video, provided to television networks. 

The original video was a pool video provided to network TV stations. A clip of that pool video without a child shouting was shared by a YouTube account under the name Washington Press. A similar video, also without a child shouting, was shared to Twitter by Michael LaRosa, Dr. Biden's press secretary.

But a manipulated video that added the sound of a child cursing was posted to social media. 

Using keyframe analysis of the original and manipulated videos, VERIFY was able to pinpoint several matches in the frames between the pool video shared by Washington Press and the manipulated video posted to Twitter. This confirms the videos show the same event.

To confirm the audio was manipulated, VERIFY analyzed audio from a YouTube video with the child yelling, and compared it to the original pool footage. Audio of the child yelling can be traced back to at least 2019, when “an angry little kid” went viral for yelling profanity at his teacher during a preschool graduation.

Credit: VERIFY

The audio from the edited Biden footage matches the tones and wavelengths of the audio from the 2019 viral video of the child yelling. 

So we can VERIFY the video shared on social media was manipulated, and a child did not yell an expletive at the first lady during the holiday book reading.  

VERIFY reached out to the White House for comment and did not hear back at the time of publishing. 

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