Fox wants to use that old Biden video again…

A very blurry Sen. Joe Biden, in Columbia in 2006.

A very blurry Sen. Joe Biden, in Columbia in 2006. Click on the image if you must watch the bad video.

It’s probably the worst video I ever shot, technically speaking. It’s horrendous. You can hardly make out what’s going on. I didn’t have my little digital camera I used in those days, so I shot it with my phone. We’re not talking iPhone here — no HD or anything. It was 2006. I shot it with a Palm Treo, if I remember correctly. That’s even worse than my old Blackberry.

But it’s been popular, particularly among people who want to take a dig at Joe Biden — or, worse, support Trump. So popular that, as bad as it is, it’s garnered 111,000 views, I just saw from glancing at YouTube. (I think that’s a record for me, although it’s been so many years since I checked to see which of my vids were most popular, that I’ve forgotten how to do it.)

I wish, if people were going to make such a fuss over it, they’d have chosen something that makes me look like I can handle a camera. But such is life.

This was shot at a Rotary meeting on Nov. 27, 2006. Joe Biden was our speaker, and while I had heard Joe speak, energetically and at great length, before, he was outdoing himself that day. When he got so worked up that he left the podium and started wandering about among the tables of Rotarians, I thought, “I’ve got to get some video of this for the blog,” with or without a decent camera.

Here’s the resulting post, in its entirety:

South Carolina, Joe Biden really, really wants you to help him get to the White House. I’ll write about this more later in the week, but for now I’ll refer you to this video clip I shot with my PDA (meaning it’s even lower quality than MOST of my videos) at the Columbia Rotary Club.

The clip begins right after he left the rostrum and waded into the crowd to answer a one-word question: “Immigration?” Note the passion, the waving arms, the populist posturing, the peripatetic delivery. Joe Biden has always loved to talk, but this Elmer Gantryesque performance went far beyond his routine style.

Most of his speech was about Iraq, by the way. And it went over well. This Rotary Club never goes past its 2 p.m. ending time, but he had the audience still sitting politely listening — some of them truly rapt — past 2:30.

It was quite a performance. You may think politicians act like this all the time, because of stuff you  see on TV and in the movies. But I have never, in real life, seen a national candidate get this intense seeking S.C. votes two years before the election.

That’s it. As you can see, what interested me the most was the Iraq stuff (although after all this time, I can’t tell you what he said about it now). But that’s not what has drawn attention since then. It has been passed about, and used on FoxNews and elsewhere, because of what Joe was talking about during those two minutes and 51 seconds that I captured on the Treo.

That was about immigration, and Joe was trying to win over that conservative crowd by persuading them of how tough he was on controlling the border. He talks about having voted for a fence, for instance. And he does so with the same intense animation that he used in talking about other things (I suppose — it’s been a long time). That, of course, is why Trump fans love the video.

Being me, I wasn’t interested in the immigration stuff. I was interested in showing people how pumped up Joe had been at Rotary.

Others, of course, have been more interested in the immigration stuff.

I’ve been vaguely aware of the video cropping up from time to time — cropping up, I mean, somewhere other than the blog, where it has sat for all these years. Back in the fall of 2019, I was more aware than usual, because Erik Wemple at The Washington Post reached out to me to talk about it. He wanted to talk to me for a piece he was writing that criticized Fox for failing to credit the source of material they used. And in this case, they had apparently become aware of my video not from my blog (which is a shocker, right?), but from this CNN piece by Andrew Kaczynski.

“Acute stinginess in terms of crediting CNN is something of a pattern at Fox News,” Wemple wrote — and my video was the first of several instances he offered.

The part of the video that seems to fascinate everyone, especially the folks at Fox, is when Joe says, as his blurry, low-res image moves about the room, “Folks, I voted for a fence, I voted, unlike most Democrats – and some of you won’t like it – I voted for 700 miles of fence.”

This apparently is the bombshell. Even though it was no secret. And even though, as Kaczynski notes, “The bill was also supported by then-Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

What do I think about what Joe was saying there? Not a lot. In the end, his point was that yeah, I voted for a fence, but you can build all the fences (or walls) you want, but you’re still going to have the same problems unless a.) things get better in Mexico and b) U.S. employers stop hiring illegals.

The first of those two points is pretty much what I’ve thought for many years. The U.S. should be working to improve conditions in Mexico and Central America. That would be tough, but worthwhile. It’s rather crazy to complain about people wanting to come here when they live in intolerable conditions where they are. No, I don’t have a grand plan, but this is why I have over the years supported such things as NAFTA, so maybe things get better south of the border.

Laura Ingraham was apparently delighted by my video because “He sounds like Trump there,” according to Wemple Well, no. If it had been Trump, he’d have said his big, beautiful wall was going to solve everything. That’s not at all what Joe was saying, because Trump is an idiot and Joe is not.

But they love it nevertheless. And now, they want to use it again.

Over the last couple of days, I kind of let my email get stacked up again, and so I just saw this one from two days ago:

Hello Brad!

My name is Errin Kelly and I am a producer on Fox Business Network. I hope you are doing well! With your permission and credit to you, our show would like to use this video of President Biden at The Rotary Club in 2006.

Did you shoot this video? If so, may we please have permission to use on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Nation and all Fox News Edge affiliates across all platforms until further notice with courtesy to you? Do we also need anyone else’s permission?

Thank you for your time!

Errin Kelly

Well, at least they’re asking this time, and promising to credit me, which should please Wemple. Beyond that, I had the following series of thoughts in quick succession:

  • Here we go again. I guess this time they’re going to try to use this, somehow (it will require some gymnastics), to hammer Joe about all the kids stacking up down on the border. The Trump-lovers really think they’ve got Joe on the ropes on this one. (Here’s what I think about that.)
  • I guess I’ll tell them OK, as I pretty much always do. Let the chips fall, yadda-yadda.
  • I’ll also ask them to give me a heads-up when it runs, so I can see what they did with it.
  • Or should I say no, or ignore it? It would be interesting to see if they use it anyway. I guess that would be Wemple’s prediction. (Hey, since it’s been two days, they may have used it already.)
  • I know what! I’ll ask folks on the blog what they would do!

So here you go. Thoughts?

27 thoughts on “Fox wants to use that old Biden video again…

  1. Brad Warthen Post author


    Hey, this is fun! You know how I have all those header images that generate randomly at the top of the blog? Well, I right after I posted this, I was looking up something else, and this header popped up. It’s actually from a Rotary meeting back in the day. Only I pointed my camera at the crowd rather than the speaker.

    And there’s our friend Kathryn Fenner, giving the camera a wry look! And there’s James Smith, off to the right! And there’s his Dad, Jim Smith. I guess Jim had brought James as a guest that day…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Back when I was James’ press guy for those few months, I would hear from people who were trying to give me the impression that they were old pals with the candidate, and they’d refer — in speech or in writing — to him as “Jim.”

      Sometimes, I’d let it go. Other times, I’d do the person the favor of setting him straight: “No, it’s James. Jim is his Dad…”

      I’ve experienced the same thing over the years with regard to my old friend Robert Ariail. People assume familiarity by calling him “Bob.” Which sounds almost as alien as though they had called him “Steve.” It’s Robert. Always Robert…

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    As it is “Kathryn”—which folks down here have no problem accepting, but when I was living in Chicago, ‘twas a constant battle against nicknames

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Down here, if they had known your middle name, they’d likely have called you that, too.

      Now we know the explanation for your expression in the photo: Someone just called you “Kate”…

  3. Randle

    Do you think they will run the part where he explains why a wall won’t work? Or just the part where he says he voted for a wall? Fox doesn’t do nuance. Or accuracy. See Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head. Or women in the military, to name a recent few. They and the GOP are going to focus on culture wars in the next elections, looks like, and they can win on that. Kevin McCarthy recently said Democrats are trying to take away Dr. Seuss — in a speech in the House of Representatives —
    which is a preposterous lie. And he knows it. And it’s on some of my family members’ Facebook pages. Where it will live forever.
    Your video will be run everywhere and probably become yet another misleading meme. And all the clarification and contextualizing in the world won’t change that, because the people it’s directed to will either never see the explanation or choose to ignore it.
    The article about the ex- president and Charlottesville I posted on another thread shows how politicians’ statements are cherry-picked and repackaged as disinformation and then readily accepted and regurgitated, and become the reality.
    So what does a journalist — just the facts, ma’am —do, when facts no longer matter?
    Hard call.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    Anybody else have an opinion?

    I should probably respond to Fox at some point. The one thing I know I’ll do when I do so is share this post…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You know, I thought of that: If they’re going to just keep doing this, just charge a big fee.

      But I wouldn’t want to seem to be profiting from it. Especially if it poses problems — stupid problems from stupid people who don’t understand what’s going on, but still problems (look at the trouble we all had over the last four years due to that kind of problems) — for Joe.

      Joe’s job is hard enough…

  5. Bryan Caskey

    To change the subject a little, the “key indicators” from DHEC are all going in the right direction for COVID-19. Feels like we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Just a little good news. This is now officially my favorite time of year. Sunlight late into the after work hours, warmer days, and baseball is cranking up. My son’s little league team is 1-1 on the season with a tough test tonight. Coaching little league is about 75% child psychology. Yogi wasn’t lying when he said 90% was half mental. 🙂

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Well, you know me — I think people who like Daylight Saving Time ARE mental…

      But I limited my grumbling about that to a couple of Tweets, and didn’t bother y’all with it…

      But before you get away — what do you think I should say to Fox?

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    Hey, did y’all notice that, in that old blog post from 2006, I called my Palm Treo my “PDA” instead of my phone?

    Looks weird from 2021, but back then, it still WAS a PDA. A phone was just a thing you made phone calls on. In fact, I carried a plain flip phone as well as that at the time. (Picture this, which was often the case: Me with the Treo, the flip phone AND my little digital camera all attached to my belt. SuperGeek…)

    I had already had a Palm Pilot (the ultimate PDA), and used it for several years. So when the Treo came along, to me it was a Palm Pilot that connected to the internet, and that you could use as a phone…

    1. bud

      If you ever get a chance to watch The 21st Century hosted by Walter Cronkite by all means do so. This was a serious predicting what our world would look like by the year 2000. Nothing exotic like flying cars or Mars colonies but more realistic stuff like huge TVs with numerous programming options. Pretty much like streaming services today. They also predicted paper maps would become obsolete. Also, they predicted a crude version of the internet and home schooling via computers. It did have a cringe worthy moment when it suggested the “man” of the house would be able to work from home.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Not that I’m complaining. On the whole, I find Facetime and Zoom calls preferable to going somewhere and meeting with actual, 3D people in Meat World…

  7. Sue Summer

    What if the video were licensed to a charity that helps kids at the border—
    Then you wouldn’t profit, and fox would be doing something good for immigrants every time the video ran. Might discourage fox from using it, or might make you feel ok when you see it. Found this list on-line. Guess you can pick one of these, or set up a fund at your church that sends donations directly to a border ministry.
    Good luck, and do have fun with it.

  8. Barry

    It’s Fox News. They will play it regardless. They aren’t exactly the type to follow rules.

  9. bud

    As of 10:12 am today (March 16, 2021) I became a member of the COVID 19 vaccination club. I received the Moderna at the Walmart on 378 in Lexington. Only a couple other people there. No anaphylactic shock issues. Probably too soon to feel other symptoms.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      Nice. I think I’m going to have to wait until they make it generally available to all. I’m in the lowest priority.

  10. Brad Warthen Post author

    Maybe I’m off the hook on this.

    Maybe Fox forgot about it, or just went ahead and used it without permission.

    Anyway, I haven’t heard from them any more…

Comments are closed.