A photo shows President Obama talking on a phone, apparently not realizing that he is holding it upside down. Is the photo real or fake?
The image is fake.
The photo was posted, apparently as a joke, during the 2008 Presidential Primaries, when Obama and Hillary Clinton were in a tight race for their party’s nomination. Let’s take a look at the image in question, which has been circulating since the 2008 election:
A backstory often circulated with the photo asserted that Obama was posing for a photo op and didn’t realize he was holding the receiver upside down. A popular caption reads:
When you are faking a pose for a photo opportunity with the American Flag… at least get the handset turned in the right direction!!
A clock set to 3:00am was also added to the fake photo, referencing Clinton’s commercial running at the time, which questioned who you would want to be in the White House to take a 3am emergency phone call.
The original image, however, is much less damning. It was snapped on November 28, 2007 in a story entitled “Obama and the Locals” with a caption that read, “Obama on the phone with local media in Iowa.” That story has since been removed, and is not archived.
As you can see from the Google Trends chart below, this image has circulated with occasional frequency over the years, including a significant surge in late 2015.
The photo of Barack Obama holding a phone upside down is not real. The original photo was taken back in 2007 and later altered to appear that he was holding the wrong end of the receiver to his mouth.
Updated November 19, 2015
Originally published February 2013