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Newsletter: A tree-based Biden conspiracy

In today's 'Internet Insider' newsletter, we take a look at a Biden conspiracy theory and today's top stories.


Andrew Wyrich


Mikael Thalen

Internet Culture

Posted on Mar 28, 2022   Updated on Apr 11, 2022, 2:17 pm CDT

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Hello fellow citizens of the internet! Andrew here. Welcome to today’s edition of Internet Insider

I hope you had a relaxing weekend! We start off our week with “One Dumb Conspiracy” by our Tech Reporter Mikael. This week’s conspiracy making waves online is all about President Joe Biden

Plus, we’ve got some key reports you may have missed over the weekend. 

Let’s dive into the news. 



TIZZY: A tweet from the Selective Service, the U.S. agency tasked with conscripting people into the military in a draft, has conspiracy theorists online believing that the U.S. military is preparing to reinstate the draft as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues. You can read more about the tweet that has them riled up here

REVIEW: Our Culture Reporter Gavia reviewed the new HBO Max miniseries DMZ. Gavia notes that the series, which is based on an acclaimed comic book series, “suffers from poor pacing and radical departures from its source material.” You can check out all of her review here

ICYMI: We recently published a feature that dives into how misinformation has become an essential tool of control in Morocco. The story dives into how the country has weaponized fake claims and helped them explode online. You can check it out here

In Body Image
Joe Biden saluting near the White House.

Conspiracy theorists think Biden shared a staged photo

Conspiracy theorists are convinced that President Joe Biden shared a staged photo on Twitter based on what they believe to be suspicious-looking trees.

But, as is nearly always the case, the claims aren’t true.

The debacle unfolded last Wednesday when Biden announced on Twitter that he was on his way to Europe “to rally the international community in support of Ukraine and ensure Putin pays a severe economic cost for his war of choice.”

The tweet was accompanied by a photograph of Biden saluting a U.S. marine while preparing to board Marine One outside of the White House.

Yet conspiracy theorists argued that the presence of both green trees and green grass in late-March was evidence that the photo was either old or digitally manipulated. Many even claimed that a “green screen” was used in the creation of the photo. There have long been claims that Biden uses a “fake” Oval Office. 

The image was quickly retweeted more than 13,000 times, with a huge number of users agreeing with the conspiratorial claims.

“Weird. There were no leaves on those trees yesterday,” conservative journalist Jon Nicosia tweeted. “My god everything is staged and fake with these people.”

Others shared current photos of the White House as well while noting that the trees and foliage did not appear to be green.

Unsurprisingly, the conspiracy theory was also widely promoted on Twitter by a producer for the YouTuber Tim Pool.

“This picture is staged. The trees in DC do not look like that right now,” they wrote. “Why? Why is it staged. Why is everything a fucking lie with these people.”

It should come as no surprise that 10 minute of basic research shows that the wild allegations are untrue.

Despite user’s arguing that no green trees could be seen in front of the White House, the photo released by Biden was taken on the opposite side of the building.

As noted by Snopes, the two large trees on the south side of the building are historic magnolia trees that have evergreen leaves. But that’s not all. Countless pictures and videos captured by reporters that day clearly showed the green foliage.

photo uploaded by Getty Images photographer Alex Wong clearly shows one of the trees behind Biden as he stands near the press. Other pictures taken by Reuters photographer Leah Millis show the same.

Video uploaded to YouTube by Sky News of Biden’s departure from the White House also clearly shows one of the magnolia trees as well as the green grass on the south side lawn. Other media outlets such as USA Today were also filming as Biden left for Europe.

The incident once again highlights how conspiracy theorists are quick to spread outlandish claims that conform to their worldview instead of seeking verification.

Allegations of president’s using “green screen” to stage photographs or video appearances have been rampant in recent years. Conspiracy theorists also claimed in 2020 that former President Donald Trump had stood in front of a green screen while filming an address on the White House lawn.

— Mikael Thalen


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A TikToker says that she discovered that her father subscribed to her OnlyFans

A TikToker went viral for posting a video of him cheering with the caption “when a table doesn’t order any salads or soups.” He goes on to say the reason that is a problem is due to understaffing

It’s the aesthetic for me.* 

To mark the fourth anniversary of the first QAnon drop on 4chan, the Daily Dot told stories about Q that haven’t been looked at. 

*The Daily Dot may receive a commission in connection with purchases of products or services featured here.


A TikToker went viral after sharing a peculiar life hack. When ordering something online, the user said to try inputting “common girl names” into the coupon area. Why does that work? Well, according to the user: “that’s on ~influencer culture~.” 

Browser screen with caption 'inputting common girl names until I find a discount code. And that's on influencer culture lol' (l) Discount code KATIE20 applied to order (r)

Now Playing: 🎶 I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire” by The Ink Spots 🎶

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*First Published: Mar 28, 2022, 12:00 pm CDT