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Issue 137 - August 2012 (2nd Edition) - Page 34

Hoax Picture - Obama Holding Phone Upside Down

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Widely circulated image supposedly depicts US President Obama holding a phone handset upside down while posing for a photo opportunity.

Brief Analysis
The image is a digitally altered version of an original photograph depicting Obama holding the phone correctly. The hoax image has been circulating since 2008 but has recently surfaced once again on Facebook. An earlier hoax picture in the same vein supposedly depicted US President Bush holding a phone upside down.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: July 30, 2012
First published: July 30, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Obama Upside Down Phone Hoax

When you are faking a pose for a photo opportunity with the American least get the handset turned in the right direction!!

Detailed Analysis
This widely circulated image supposedly shows US President Barack Obama posing for a photograph while holding a phone handset o his ear upside down. The image, along with several derogatory descriptions of the depicted incident, has circulated via email, blogs and social media outlets since 2008. The image has recently resurfaced on Facebook with the caption "When you are faking a pose for a photo opportunity with the American least get the handset turned in the right direction" included as part of a single graphic.

However, the image is a hoax. In fact, it is a digitally altered version of the following original photograph which shows President Obama holding the phone correctly:

Obama Holding Phone Original Version

Many observers would quickly recognize the digitally altered version as just a political joke or visual political commentary. Nevertheless, submissions and comments indicate that there are also many people who believe that the hoax image is genuine.

Astute observers will note that the fake version includes a wall clock set to 3 o'clock. An article about the image on About Urban Legends points out that the addition of the clock is intended to reference a February 2008 TV ad campaign for Obama's then rival, Hillary Clinton:

It's 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. But there's a phone in the White House and it's ringing. Something's happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call.

The faux image was originally posted on political humour blog IMAO on March 3rd 2008.

Obama's presidential predecessor George W. Bush was targeted in a very similar - and equally fake - hoax image:
Bush Upsaide Down Phone Hoax

And yet another such fake image supposedly showed President Bush holding a book the wrong way up:
Bush Holding Book Upside down Hoax

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Obama On Phone Original
Urban Legend - Obama on the Phone
There Is an International Crisis at 3 A.M.; President Obama Answers the Call
Bush Reads Book Upside-Down

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Issue 137 Start Menu

Pages in this issue:
  1. Anti Text-Driving Message - Car Wedged Under Truck Image
  2. Nationwide Phishing Scam Emails
  3. Faux Image - Double Sunset on Mars
  4. Microsoft Cyber-Crime Department Phishing Scam
  5. Does A Photo Depict A Puppy Being Forced to Drink Vodka?
  6. Post Circulating Claims Hotel Made Disabled US Veteran Crawl Down Stairs
  7. AFL vs NRL - Wrongdoings of Australian Members of Parliament Hoax
  8. Phishing Scam
  9. Another Facebook Sick Baby Hoax - Baby With Brain Cancer
  10. Circulating Opinion Piece - 'Democratic, Republican Liberal-Progressive's Worst Nightmare'
  11. Fake Three (Or Seven) Headed Snake Image
  12. Misleading Health Advice Email - 'Mayo Clinic on Aspirin and Heart Attacks'
  13. Facebook Survey Scam - Free Argos Gift Card
  14. 'Email Deactivation Warning' Phishing Scam
  15. Anti-Obama Youtube Video Compiles Multiple Conspiracy Theories
  16. Fake AT&T Bill Emails Point To Malware
  17. Messages Claim Coca Cola to be Banned In Bolivia
  18. 'Free Apple Product' Text Message Survey Scam
  19. Circulating Warning - Facebook May Close Down Animal Rescue Account'
  20. 2012 FIFA World Cup Online Lottery Advance Fee Scam
  21. Email Claiming US Gold Medal Gymnast Gabrielle Douglas Faces Lifetime Ban Used to Spread Malware
  22. Bigpond Security Service Phishing Scam
  23. Wrestling Star John Cena is NOT Dead
  24. Hoax - NASA Predicts Total Blackout of Planet in Dec 2012
  25. Wrestling Star Undertaker is NOT Dead
  26. Colin And Chris Weir Donation Programme Advance Fee Scam
  27. US EPA Regulations Force Power Plant Closures
  28. 'View Facebook Followers' Scam Targets Twitter Users
  29. Lloyds TSB 'New Banking Authentication' Phishing Scam
  30. Faux Image - Pilots Protesting Chemtrails
  31. Telstra Bill Account Update Phishing Scam
  32. McDonald's Signboard Supporting Chick-Fil-A
  33. ABSA 'Authorized EFT Payment Received' Phishing Scam
  34. Hoax Picture - Obama Holding Phone Upside Down
  35. 'eBay Item Not Received' Phishing Scam Email
  36. Wells Fargo 'Security Check' Phishing Scam
  37. False Warnings - 'Cleaning out Friends List' Questions on Facebook Contain Viruses or are Posted by Hackers