On Wednesday, MSNBC's Morning Joe kicked off a discussion about Mitt Romney's reliance on running mate Paul Ryan to excite supporters by airing footage of an Ohio rally the evening before.
In the clip, Romney is shown taking the stage with Ryan as supporters inaudibly chant. According to the subtitle provided by MSNBC, the crowd is chanting, "Ryan!" — before Romney interjects and leads them in chanting, "Romney! Ryan! Romney! Ryan! There we go, alright, that's great!"
Host Joe Scarborough's exasperated reaction to the footage, which made Romney look hapless and a bit desperate, went viral.
"Oh, sweet Jesus!" Scarborough said, burying his face in his hands. He added, "What do the Catholics say? Holy mother of God, we pray for our sinners now in their hour of peace?"
But the subtitle in the clip misrepresented what actually took place. BuzzFeed was present at the event, and took note that the crowd was actually chanting Romney's name, before he encouraged them to add his running mate to the chant.
The New York Times story that MSNBC displayed before the clip noted the same thing. Reporter Ashley Parker wrote:
After Mr. Ryan whooped up the crowd in Vandalia on Tuesday, Mr. Romney moved to the front of the stage. As the crowd began chanting “Romney! Romney!” he cut them off.“Wait a second,” Mr. Romney said, instructing the audience to cheer for “Romney-Ryan! Romney-Ryan!” They did.
“There we go,” he said, pleased.
The discrepancy was noted on two conservative sites, The Blaze and Breitbart News — and Scarborough took issue with the posts.
A spokesperson for Morning Joe did not respond to a request for comment.
UPDATE: Morning Joe spokesperson Lauren Skowronski e-mailed BuzzFeed the following statement after publishing:
"This story is an attempt to generate a false controversy. The tape clip was untouched and was played as it was recorded. The panel was responding to Romney's playful response and having fun with it. Joe and the gang apologize for making people laugh in the morning."
McKay Coppins is a senior writer for the BuzzFeed News politics team, and the author of The Wilderness, about the battle over the future of the Republican Party.
Contact McKay Coppins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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