Photojournalist Catches the Truth Behind Trump’s TelePrompter Flub

Photojournalist Catches the Truth Behind Trump’s TelePrompter Flub

President Trump stepped up to the podium last Monday to read prepared remarks about the shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. Except that in the final blessings of the speech, he named Toledo instead of Dayton, a different city about 150 miles away.

While many in the media were quick to blame a staffer or a teleprompter error, as is often the case, it took a photojournalist to provide a definite answer. Leah Millis, a photographer for Reuters, tweeted out a photo that clearly showed the president’s teleprompter during the part of the speech in question:

In the text, the words “Texas and Ohio” are clearly visible with Toledo nowhere to be found.

The White House, in what seemed to be a moment of self-awareness, did make a note of the error, which seemed to be entirely on Trump, via a strikethrough in the official transcript that was released to the media later on Monday.

It’s unclear if that would have been the case if the Millis photo had not been widely circulated after the statement.

This isn’t the first time Trump has been held to account by eagle-eyed photographers. Washington Post photographer Jabin Botsford has previously captured Trump’s notes about Ilhan Omar and some really egregious spelling errors in remarks about democrats in the past.

It’s a bit of a sad commentary on photojournalism today when photographers have to worry equally about capturing the moment and surreptitiously capturing the president’s notes at the same time, just to make sure that they can prove their case if the president attempts to label their reportage as “fake news.”

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69 Comments

Arthur Morgan's picture

What does this have to do with photography?

Broken Canon Art & Photography's picture

I agree.. Contributors feel that once they have you reading their topics, they can start voicing their political, social or sexual views on those reading. Keep the topics relevant and keep your views out of these communities.

Matt Williams's picture

"Keep you views out of these communities"

Why? Because some people get upset when they are apparently forced to read an article about their dear old white supremacist?

This idea that a photography website should be devoid of politics or opinions is incredibly stupid.

Not really. It' just more prevelant unfortunately than some people would care to believe. Also, White supremacy isn't just guys with white hoods and swastikas.

Robert Nurse's picture

If I give gasoline and matches to known arsonists and they burn down the joint, have I set any fires?

Robert Nurse's picture

You didn't read that he started/originated anything in my post. What I said was he knows how to push their buttons without getting his hands dirty. Which is just as bad.

Spy Black's picture

"If I give gasoline and matches to known arsonists and they burn down the joint, have I set any fires?"

Yes, it's called aiding and abetting.

Curious. How do YOU know if something is racist? You act like knowing something is racist is a forgone conclusion yet you act as if it's obvious that trump ISN'T racist. Is it possible that someone might have a more informed perspective on the subject than you? Just askin'.

Matt Williams's picture

People of color, maybe? People who have always been - and still are - victims of racism? They know what it looks like pretty damn well.

A vast majority of black Americans believe Trump is a racist. So that's one informed perspective.

Matt Williams's picture

You asked a question. I answered.

And you SHOULD give a shit about the US, just like I give a shit about other countries. Each country isn't an isolated bubble. The U.S. affects the entire global economy, for starters.

But you do you.

Trump is hard at work demonizing Canadians already. I might note that the misfortune we suffer here greatly redounds to the Canadian economy.

JetCity Ninja's picture

so does the word "duck" when there's a lot of them around.

Why do we have to listen your views?

Broken Canon Art & Photography's picture

For the record, I'm not a trump supporter, nor do I like Dems.. I'm merely here (Fstoppers) to teach and learn from others. But when articles like this interfere with my pleasure of being here & seeing your works has no bearing on what I want to know, learn and see. It makes no senses to see these types of posted on Fstoppers because the author adds his own opinion to these topics. Give me a topic I want to read & enjoy without adding your political, social or sexual views.

Robert Nurse's picture

Photographers doing something seems to be the source of this article.

Good question! Zero. Photography is not the gold standard of truth when it can be so easily manipulated anyway.

Robert Nurse's picture

Photography, audio and print can all be manipulated. Therefore, when "truth" is presented in these categories, what do we do?

It has to do with photography in that it illustrates the role actual PHOTOJOURNALISM works. Had we not had this photo every one would speculate as to why Trump misspoke. HE claimed it was the Teleprompter. Thus he was caught in yet another lie. Whether that is news worthy with a person whose life is nothing but lies is arguable. OTOH as it is the President, it used to be a big deal when one did lie.
As to whether it was manipulated, the WH transcript confirms it was an accurate representation of the text.

Kind of a lot of outrage in your comment. Trump said Toledo and the world is wondering if his staff of writers is incompetent as he seemed to imply (Quelle Surprise!) or does he have Alzheimers?
Just because you may support him doesn't mean he is above scrutiny. IIRC the right went wild when Obama wore a brown suit. Yet paying off porn stars, yapping secrets to Russians in the Oval office and generally debasing the office is no reason for criticism as far as the right is concerned.
Sounds a lot like a fascist state to me.

Thomas H's picture

Agreed, please let move it to RealClearPolitics or Twitter.
On a merit: If the transcript showed stricken word "Toledo" and below stands Texas and Ohio, a perceptual confusion is possible. Look as the amount of errors made by Joe Biden. I by myself am not able to see a typo in my own text, or even missing words, unless I re-read the text at the least 15min later. Prior to that my brain "manufactures" the missing parts. I have always my papers and other official texts proofread by technical writers. Is it related to photography? Not directly, unless we would compare it to image review with similar repercussions.

Dave Ingraham's picture

With the climate around FAKE NEWS and the current administration's open distain for journalism, I think this article is quite appropriate.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

It's some of these so called "journalism" is what brought about the disdain, distrust and the term "fake news". One would have to be increbily pc and an enabler and who's got their head in sand to think some of these journalists didn't have an agenda. Or, just hates Trump. You know, kinda like the author of this article.

Dave Ingraham's picture

Can you cite any specific examples of this "so called" journalism? I'm honestly curious to read any and all justifications for Trump's open distain for journalists.

Jesus Christ enough with these articles! You just cant help yourself, can you?

user-248633's picture

Wasim Ahmad is just demonstrating his TDS

Marc Perino's picture

I thought it was interesting. 🤷‍♂️

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Lol, sounds like you're trying to make this honest mistake an excuse to dispel all the fake news. Just another Fredo.

Michael Aubrey's picture

What's the fake bit?

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Seriously? Either you're being coy, turned a blind eye, or really don't know. If the latter, maybe you shouldn't be commenting until you read up on some stuff. Good idea?

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