Much Ado About a Checkmark
The wingnutosphere is all agog: allegedly the Dems “photoshopped” a tweet in their presentation of evidence of Trump’s criminality.
Here is the person whose tweet was presented:
I’ve never been verified on Twitter so why did my Tweet used in the fact-free impeachment include a verification badge? I’m assuming Democrats faked it like they are faking the whole case. @RepSwalwell why did you add a verified badge to my tweet in your presentation? pic.twitter.com/9Ww0TLveNA
So, gotcha? Not so fast. Look carefully at the left side of the image. It’s supposed to represent Trump’s retweet of Lawrence. But anyone familiar with Twitter knows that’s not how retweets look like. Rather, they look like normal tweets with the comment “… Retweeted”. That it was, originally, a pure retweet on Trump’s part (and not Trump quote-tweeting someone, which creates the embedding effect) is confirmed by the Trump Twitter Archive, where this tweet is marked as “RT”:
It is also confirmed by trying to paste the original URL of the retweet (taken from the Trump Tweet Archive) into the Web Archive. It redirects directly to Lawrence’s tweet:
All of this means that the picture on the left is merely a symbolic representation of a recreated Trump retweet, deliberately so and without any attempt to deceive. Remember that Trump was banned and his original tweets are no longer accessible. I, for one, could not find a copy of the retweet in question at the Web Archive or at archive.is, so that’s not always an option. So the retweet - which is documented, just not in its original form - had to be recreated due to Trump’s ban.
Recreating the tweet graphics can be done in several ways - maybe in an image editor, maybe by creating an HTML mockup. What matters is not how it looks like but whether the text is authentic.
So clearly the staffer who was responsible for the graphics of the presentation had a “tweet template” - a blank tweet-like image (or HTML code) with a checkmark, to paste the authentic Trump tweet texts from one of the online archives into it.
But in order to make a nice presentation the images have to look uniform, and if you simply make screenshots of Lawrence’s original tweets, they will look different from the recreated Trump tweets, which is not very elegant, so the staffer must have used the same template they used for the Trump tweets to recreate the Lawrence tweets so they fit with the style used in the presentation. And simply forgot to remove the checkmark.
Oversight is the simplest, most parsimonious explanation. Why would anyone deliberately add a checkmark, which doesn’t convey any incriminating information? Why would one risk being immediately exposed by the twitter user in question? It makes no sense whatsoever.
- it was a simple mistake;
- the deliberate forgery explanation makes zero sense;
- the tweets themselves are verifiably authentic and not disputed by Lawrence;
- this mistake has zero bearing on the credibility of the presentation;
- if Trump supporters use this to discredit the Democratic case, you know that they are desperate and have no real response to the presentation of the crimes of Donald J. Trump.
Update 12.02.21: the defense did indeed go there, grasping at straws, but further confirming that the tweets were recreated, which shows that my explanation was fully correct. As for the cope that “Calvary” was not a misspelling for “calvary”, you be the judge.