A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

School Photo


Here at FactCheck.org, we’ve seen our share of fake photos of President Obama. So we were suspicious when a reader e-mailed us a silly-looking photo of the president speaking in a grade-school classroom with teleprompter, podium and presidential seal. The photo is so silly, in fact, that it was the butt of a late-night comedian’s ridicule. But this picture is real.Photo

The White House video of this event prompted Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart to ask incredulously, "You set up a teleprompter in a 6th grade classroom?" Well, yes, he did, bringing to mind such famous photo-op flops as Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis’ tank ride in 1988 and Republican President George W. Bush’s "Mission Accomplished" banner.

But Obama wasn’t actually giving a speech to 6th graders at the time, as incorrectly stated in the headline on the photo that was e-mailed to us, and in many conservative blogs. The picture (taken by Associated Press photographer Alex Brandon) actually shows Obama speaking to reporters in a classroom at the Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, Va., on Jan. 19. Obama had spoken to the students themselves earlier, and he did not use a teleprompter then. This photo from the official White House blog shows that clearly.