Earlier today a writer for the Observer kicked off a new Trump freakout on Twitter when she suggested Donald Trump had hung a photo in the White House in which the size of his hand had been Photoshopped to make it larger. The original tweet has been deleted but here’s a screenshot of it. Note the number of retweets:
It’s all there: The scorn. The absolute confidence. The proof. Of course these are not the same photo, which makes comparisons rather pointless. But fairly quickly someone else had chimed in with a gif apparently showing the hand had been enlarged. That tweet was also RT’d thousands of times. Eventually the truth managed to get its boots on. Someone at the Verge pointed out that the image, as broadcast by ABC, hadn’t been Photoshopped at all:
The Washington Post’s Philip Bump came to the same conclusion:
And here you go: A GIF that I just made. Not aligned perfectly (my fault), but the hand is the same. pic.twitter.com/N7Zii1qRMY
— Philip Bump (@pbump) January 27, 2017
Of course the real story here isn’t that someone made up a silly story on Twitter, it’s that thousands of people jumped in on the promise of an embarrassing Trump story with no regard for the underlying facts. At the Washington Post, Philip Bump offers this explanation for why:
Why did this gain so much attention online? Because opponents of Trump — which Schwartz is, having gained notoriety last summer for writing a public anti-Trump letter to then-Observer-owner Jared Kushner — seize upon any example of Trump being vain.
As for Schwartz, she spent the last hour declaring this was never intended to get so much attention (yeah, right):
But even though she no longer stands behind the tweet (and has deleted the original) she still hopes it ruined Trump’s day:
Schwartz obviously deserved push back for her tweet but at this point she has probably gotten all of that and more. No need to pile on her at this point but I did want to preserve this passing Trump freakout for posterity.