Jimmy Kimmel's fake news about Mike Pence went viral thanks to blue check progressives (Update: Kimmel apologizes)

So the story here is that Mike Pence gave a speech at a rehabilitation center in Virginia and, before the speech, he was part of a photo op unloading some boxes of PPE from a van and bringing them to the door of the center. At one point after unloading the van, he returned and there were still several boxes inside. Before Pence reached for them, someone there with him said, “Those are empty, sir. We’re good to go.”


Pence replied, “Well, can I carry the empty ones? Just for the camera?”

“Absolutely, they’re a lot easier,” came the reply.

Jimmy Kimmel took that part of the clip and made it part of his online show saying, “Mike Pence pretending to carry empty boxes of PPEs into a hospital is the perfect metaphor for who he is and what he’s doing: A big box of nothing delivering another box of nothing.” The clip of the Kimmel segment was then shared by a pollster named Matt McDermott. As I write this, the clip has been liked more than 105,000 times and retrweeted nearly 50,000 times.

McDermott really piled on this claim that Pence was delivering empty boxes for show:

Raw Story devoted a whole post to this titled, “BUSTED: Mike Pence caught on hot mic asking to deliver ’empty’ PPE boxes into a nursing home ‘for the camera’.”

And it wasn’t just random people on the internet liking and sharing this, it was blue-checkmarked journalists and progressives: MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Aaron Rupar and Matt Yglesias from Vox, Tommy Vietor, NY Times columnist Jamelle Bouie, expert Tom Nichols, etc. This clip was very, very popular with the same set of people who were certain that high school kid Nick Sandmann was a villain.


But just like the Nick Sandmann situation, it turns out they all jumped on this without seeing what really happened. If you watch the full clip, you’ll see that immediately after making the joke about carrying the empty boxes (you can hear people laughing), Pence closed the doors of the van and then moved on with the event. Several people pointed this out, including David Mack of Buzzfeed.

VP Pence’s communications person:


CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski:


And Jerry Dunleavy from the Washington Examiner posted a video (apparently pulled by Breitbart) showing what really happened:

So you have people left, right, and center saying this is bogus. Kimmel apparently pulled down his copy of the clip but hasn’t apologized yet. Pollster Matt McDermott whose tweet of the clip went viral added this “additional context” after learning it was bogus:

Andrew Kaczynski pointed out that McDermott had a similar viral tweet about President Trump back in 2017. Back then he claimed Trump hadn’t spent Easter at church. It turned out that Trump had gone to services that same day but McDermott refused to delete his inaccurate tweet because “it wasn’t factually inaccurate when it was posted.” What he meant was, he didn’t know he was wrong at the time.


Bottom line, this guy is a hack’s hack and is not going to delete his Pence tweet even though it’s clearly wrong. Just since I started writing this it has racked up another 23,000 likes and 5,000 retweets.

Finally, here’s the C-Span coverage of VP Pence’s appearance at the rehab center.

Update: Oops!

Her original retweet with comment has itself been retweeted 4,400 times and liked 13,000 times. The correction will get a tiny fraction of that.

Update: Here’s Kimmel’s snarky correction.

Notice that the clip of Pence Kimmel used had the C-Span logo. He or his staff must have had the full clip all along (or known where to find it). They cut it before Pence closed the van doors on purpose. Now they’re pretending to be surprised by the truth. He’s lying and he’s not sorry.


Update: Joe Scarborough just retweeted the bogus video.


Update: The retweet above is missing because Joe finally figured it out.

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