Trump’s most-watched campaign ad on YouTube is overloaded with misinformation attacking Biden over China

New report details how president is using misinformation to become extremely popular on YouTube

Chris Riotta
New York
Thursday 17 September 2020 18:55
Joe Biden shares attack ad against Trump

Donald Trump has often espoused misinformation on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and the president's YouTube channel is no different — with a new report detailing a bevy of inaccuracies featured in his most popular video.

The video, titled “With Joe Biden, China Is In Charge” has received over 21 million views by the time of publication on Thursday. It was released in mid-August, and attacks the former vice president for his apparent record surrounding Beijing and China’s economic rise on the global stage.

But it’s loaded with the same misinformation Mr Trump has used against his 2020 opponent across other platforms, as the Washington Post reported.

Like many other videos shared on the president’s YouTube channel, his most-popular content on the site includes selectively-edited clips to make Mr Biden appear soft and weak when it comes to trade and security negotiations with China.

For example, the video Mr Trump shared shows Mr Biden saying “We want to see China rise” before the following statement is displayed: “While China was crippling America … Joe Biden was standing up for China.

In reality, Mr Biden was speaking at a 2015 State Department luncheon about the strategic relationship between Washington and China — a US policy that existed before the former vice president served in the White House and which transcended multiple administrations, as Washington Post noted in its report.

Yes, Mr Biden did in fact express support for China’s rise at that luncheon. But the full quote provides significant context left absent in the Trump campaign advertisement.

“Let me be clear: We do not fear China’s rise. We want to see China rise, to continue to rise in a responsible way that will benefit you most, China, because you have an important role to play”, Mr Biden said in the full quote that was not included in Mr Trump’s video.

He added: “A rising China can be a significant asset for the region and the world, and selfishly, for the United States.”

Perhaps ironically, many of the quotes the Trump campaign used against Mr Biden in its advertisement were actually part of speeches in which the former vice president was hitting Beijing or otherwise expressing US strength over international economic policies.

At one point the Trump campaign ad quotes Mr Biden saying: “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man.”

Again, the full quote paints a clearer picture of Mr Biden’s actual sentiments: “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man. They can’t even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the east, I mean in the west. They can’t figure out how they are going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what, they’re not competition for us.”

On the other hand, Mr Biden’s YouTube page — which has far less views and is much less popular on the video-sharing platform — does not contain misinformation and instead offers a positive view in much of its content, the Post reported. 

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