Reporters debunk a new Biden conspiracy theory that has Republicans and right-wing media 'running wild'

biden laughing
(Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith)

President Joe Biden talks with Vice President Kamala Harris and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) following his signing of the Victims of Crime Act Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund on Thursday, July 22, 2021, in the East Room of the White House.

When Sen. James Risch of Idaho questioned Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week during a hearing on the United States' withdrawal from Afghanistan, he promoted the latest far-right conspiracy theory: that members of the Biden White House are controlling when the president does and doesn't speak — a claim that is being promoted by Fox News but is being debunked by reporters at more reliable media outlets.

Risch told Blinken, "Somebody in the White House has the authority to press the button and stop the president, cut off the president's speaking ability and sound. Who is that person?" And Blinken, who found the question bizarre, responded, "I think anyone who knows the president, including members of this committee, knows that he speaks very clearly and very deliberately for himself. No one else does."

On Fox News, anchor Sandra Smith asked, "Is somebody telling (Biden) he can't continue, and are they now to the point where they are controlling when he has to end his speaking?"

The Daily Beast's Justin Barragona observed:

In response to Barragona, Twitter user Sarah Margaret Smith noted:

Some of the most aggressive debunking of the conspiracy theory is coming from CNN's Daniel Dale. This week on Twitter, Dale explained how the idea was picked up by the GOP and funneled into right-wing media. It then continued into a "Fox News-GOP feedback loop," as Baragona explained.

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