ABC’s late-night host Jimmy Kimmel has offered a smarmy apology after he was caught airing a deceptively edited video about Vice President Mike Pence.
Kimmel’s note of contrition arrived in a tweet on Friday afternoon. But in an indication of his true sincerity, the comedian also added sarcastic asides, including, “I know how dearly this administration values truth.”
it would appear that @vp was joking about carrying empty boxes for a staged publicity stunt. The full video reveals that he was carrying full boxes for a staged publicity stunt. My apologies. I know how dearly this administration values truth. https://t.co/hI9cO4lxcX
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) May 8, 2020
On Thursday, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! aired a video showing Vice President Pence delivering boxes of personal protection equipment to a health care facility in Alexandria, Virginia. At the end of the video, the vice president is heard saying, “Well, can I carry the empty ones? Just for the camera?”
Kimmel accused the vice president of faking the whole event. “Mike Pence pretending to carry empty boxes of PPE’s into a hospital is the perfect metaphor for who he is and what he’s doing — a big box of nothing delivering another box of nothing,” he said on air.
The spot went viral on Twitter and was retweeted by celebrities and left-wing political figures.
But C-SPAN’s longer video of the same event has since shown that the vice president never carried the empty boxes and was apparently only joking with his associates. Kimmel was slammed by reporters from NBC News and Buzzfeed, who called Kimmel’s video “misleading” and “selective” in its presentation.
Kimmel acknowledged the massive error in a tweet that he laced with sarcasm.
“It would appear that @vp was joking about carrying empty boxes for a staged publicity stunt. The full video reveals that he was carrying full boxes for a staged publicity stunt. My apologies. I know how dearly this administration values truth,” he tweeted.
Kimmel’s deceptively edited video went viral thanks in large part to a tweet by a pollster named Matt McDermott who wrote, “Mike Pence caught on hot mic delivering empty boxes of PPE for a PR stunt.”
McDermott works for the polling and political advisory firm Whitman Insight Strategies, which has close ties to Democrat candidates. He is also on the campaign board for the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a PAC dedicated to electing gay public officials.
In the past, McDermott has used his Twitter account to accuse Vice President Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, of homophobia and bigotry toward gays.
The vice president’s spokesman hit out at Kimmel on Twitter, calling the video “absolute garbage.”
This is absolute garbage spread by @JimmyKimmel. Pence is clearly joking about empty boxes & if Kimmel showed the full clip from CSPAN, not the one he selectively edited, you see and hear it. #FakeNews https://t.co/Hy2oc5xhPe https://t.co/5hFsfxKy9J
— Jon Thompson (@JonThompsonDC) May 8, 2020