Biden Wasn't 'Shaking Hands With Thin Air?

'Fact Checkers' Claim Biden Wasn't 'Shaking Hands With Thin Air.' Oh, Really?

Rick Moran


Thank God for fact-checkers. Where would we be without them? Instead of believing the evidence provided by our own two eyes, we’re assured that what we see isn’t really what we thought we saw. Except when it is. But that’s another story.

Last Thursday, Joe Biden spoke to students and faculty at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro. It was boilerplate political stuff — blaming the supply chain problems on COVID-19, increased fuel prices on the Russians, and inflation wasn’t his fault.

At the end of the speech, Biden’s eyes became a little glassy and he turned around slowly and extended his hand. Except there was no one there. He turned the other way and mumbled something to himself with his hand still extended.

Original report: WATCH: Confused Joe Biden Appears to Shake Hands With Thin Air, and It’s Kind of Terrifying

That’s what I saw. That’s what you saw. But what did the “fact checkers” see?


The viral video, which is only 30 seconds, is part of a 40-minute speech. Biden’s speech was about the supply chain crisis and also appeared to press Congress to increase funding for semiconductors production.

Looking at the full video, which was live-streamed by WFMY News 2 on YouTube, gives more clarity. If you fast forward to the end of the video, it becomes clear that Biden wasn’t shaking hands with thin air. In fact, he was gesturing at the people on the right and eventually behind him who were cheering. He even gestures toward the crowd on the left side of the dais, but it is covered by a mic stand.

The relevant video only needed to be “only 30 seconds,” so who cares how long the speech was? That’s misdirection in the extreme.

But note the description of what our eyes are seeing: “… it becomes clear that Biden wasn’t shaking hands with thin air. In fact, he was gesturing at the people on the right and eventually behind him who were cheering.”

Was it “clear” to you that Biden’s extended hand was anything other than a gesture used by a human being when expecting a reciprocal hand to be offered? Or was it a gesture to the crowd? If it was a gesture to the crowd, what was the president trying to convey? Gratitude?

Sorry boys, that’s a no-go on gesture to the crowd.

An Indian website Digiteye was even more comical in its “explanation.”

Secondly, the hand extension could always be a gesture at someone in the audience for a reaction, as is the case here. Thirdly, in another video, he turned his back to the camera when another gesture with his hand is seen clearly.

See the video here which shows the angle differently as if he is gesturing about someone. Move to 1 hour 17 minutes of this video and watch the second gesture. Hence, the claim was misrepresentation of a gesture caught by camera from one particular angle.

You would think that, in order to be a credible fact-checker, at the very least, there shouldn’t be any overt bias in the analysis.

Snopes, the granddaddy of all fact-checkers on the internet, took great pains to explain why miscaptioned videos and photos cause all sorts of problems.

And then they went ahead and tried to tell their readers that what they saw was all in their head.

We naturally expect captions to accurately describe content. So when we encounter a video captioned “Biden shaking hands with thin air after finishing a speech,” we’re primed to believe we’re going to see a video of Biden doing just that.

But is that case? Does this “shaking hands” caption match the one you created for yourself above? When you watched the video when it was presented without a caption, did you see Biden “shaking hands with thin air”?

Maybe Biden wasn’t “shaking hands with thin air.” But he wasn’t “gesturing to the crowd,” either. I’d be willing to listen to a reasonable explanation of what Biden was doing with his extended hand, fingers closed, waiting for someone to grasp his hand in friendship.

But I can’t put up with groveling sycophants who try to make me think that I didn’t see what I know I saw.

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