Barack Obama Laughs with George Soros?

A photograph purportedly showing former U.S. president Barack Obama and billionaire philanthropist George Soros laughing together is a composite of at least two different images.

Claim

A photograph shows President Obama and George Soros laughing together.

Rating

Origin

A photograph purportedly showing former President Barack Obama being chummy with George Soros is frequently shared on social media by individuals peddling various (and unfounded) conspiracy theories about the billionaire investor. For example, an image was posted on Twitter in August 2017 by political commentator Dinesh D’Souza along with a message labeling Soros a Nazi collaborator:

The original photograph was taken at a campaign rally on 28 January 2008 at American University and showed then-candidate Barack Obama with Senator Ted Kennedy. At some point, Soros’s head was superimposed over Kennedy’s to make it appear as if Obama was conspiring with the billionaire, who has become a boogeyman to some segments of the American right wing.

Here’s the genuine photograph (left) and the doctored image (right):

The photograph was poorly digitally manipulated, and does not actually show Obama with Soros. The first clue is the lighting: the shadows on Obama’s face (for example, beneath his earlobe) do not match the shadows on Soros’s face. Soros, too, is slightly out of focus, whereas Obama is in perfect focus. You can even see a bit of Kennedy’s hair where Soros’s head was superimposed over it, which D’Souza conveniently cropped out of the image in his tweet.

As for the claim that Soros was a “Nazi collaborator”, we investigated that rumor in November 2016 and found it to be false

  • Bondarenko, Veronika.   “George Soros Is a Favorite Target of the Right — Here’s How That Happened.”
        The New York Times.   20 May 2017.

  • Zeleny, Jeff.   “Kennedy Backs Obama With ‘Old Politics’ Attack.”
        The New York Times.   29 January 2008.

  • Elsworth, Catherine.   “Ted Kennedy Collapses at Barack Obama Inauguration Lunch.”
        The Telegraph.   20 January 2009.

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