Fact Check

Viral Image of 'Statement' from Scott Perry's Office Is Fake

The image included a picture of U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and a statement about "Italian satellites" and "Chinese thermostats."

Published Dec 21, 2022

Claim:
The office of Republican Congressman Scott Perry once released a statement about "Italian satellites" and "Chinese thermostats" switching votes in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Context

The image was doctored and the statement was fake. At the same time, Perry did once send text messages to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that suggested the "Italian satellites" rumor should be looked into, according to reporting from The New York Times and Talking Points Memo.

In December 2022, an image was virally shared online that purportedly showed a statement from the office of U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa. According to the image, which showed a logo for Pennsylvania's WGAL News 8, Perry's office blamed "Italian satellites" and "Chinese thermostats" for "switching votes" from former U.S. President Donald Trump to U.S. President Joe Biden in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

This was not a real statement from Perry's office, nor did WGAL ever broadcast it. Further, such election conspiracy theories that make claims about votes being "switched" are completely baseless.

The fake statement appeared to first be shared at around the same time that members of the Jan. 6 select committee investigating the Capitol riot had recommended Perry undergo an ethics inquiry for refusing to comply with its subpoenas.

'Is This a Real Statement?'

The image was posted by several Twitter accounts, including former CNN journalist John Harwood, who asked, "Is this a real statement?"

A statement purportedly from Scott Perry's office said that Italian satellites and Chinese thermostats switched votes in the 2020 US presidential election.

The fictional statement, which also was shared on Reddit, read as follows:

STATEMENT FROM PERRY'S OFFICE

I stand by my statement that Italian Satellites controlled by our own CIA with the help of the Italian government switched millions of votes from President Trump to Joe Biden. There was even proof of this on the Internet which has since "mysteriously" disappeared. There were also credible reports on the Internet that Chinese thermostats in American homes switched votes as well which also disappeared.

Texts from Perry to Meadows

While the image was doctored and the statement was fake, it's important to note that Perry did once push the baseless rumor about "Italian satellites" in text messages to then-U.S. President Donald Trump's White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, according to Talking Points Memo. The claim "was never substantiated," The New York Times reported.

Meanwhile, the mention of "Chinese thermostats" was a reference to a claim made by a Trump-era U.S. Justice Department official named Jeffrey Clark, according to The Washington Post. The reporting said that the Justice Department later dismissed the rumor as not being credible.

A Bad Fake

The person or people who created the fake statement that wasn't sent out by Perry's office looked to have started with a screenshot from a real WGAL broadcast, just like the one below. (The context of the below example was that, previously, members of the Jan. 6 select committee said that several Republican politicians sought pardons for their efforts to try to overturn the election results. Perry denied this claim.)

A statement purportedly from Scott Perry's office said that Italian satellites and Chinese thermostats switched votes in the 2020 US presidential election.This is an example of a real statement that was broadcast by WGAL. (Courtesy: WGAL News 8)

The above screenshot from WGAL was then altered to add a fictional statement with a different font. Quotation marks were also removed. The most obvious change is circled below in red, where a diagonal line in the background was somewhat erased, perhaps with the "Clone Stamp tool" included with Adobe Photoshop.

A statement purportedly from Scott Perry's office said that Italian satellites and Chinese thermostats switched votes in the 2020 US presidential election.Compare the circled background diagonal line to the genuine WGAL graphic above.

Sources

"A Coherent Statement from Scott Perry." r/MarchAgainstNazis via Reddit.com, 20 Dec. 2022, https://www.reddit.com/r/MarchAgainstNazis/comments/zqxb6k/a_coherent_statement_from_scott_perry/.

Barr, Barbara. "Jan. 6 Committee Cites WGAL Report during Hearing." WGAL, 24 June 2022, https://www.wgal.com/article/wgal-report-cited-during-january-6-committee-hearing/40398843.

"Jan. 6 Committee Recommends Ethics Inquiry Against Congressman Scott Perry." WGAL, 19 Dec. 2022, https://www.wgal.com/article/jan-6-committee-recommends-ethics-inquiry-against-us-rep-scott-perry/42287593.

@JohnJHarwood. Twitter, 20 Dec. 2022, https://twitter.com/johnjharwood/status/1605225897321185280.

Kranish, Michael. "New Details Emerge of Oval Office Confrontation Three Days before Jan. 6." The Washington Post, 14 June 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/14/inside-explosive-oval-office-confrontation-three-days-before-jan-6/.

Pierce, Charles P. "The Republic Is Lucky to Be Alive." Esquire, 14 June 2022, https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a40290080/jeffrey-clark-trump-january-6/.

Prose, J. D. "U.S. Rep. Scott Perry Shared Plan to Seize Voting Machines Nationwide: Report." PennLive, 13 Dec. 2022, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2022/12/us-rep-scott-perry-shared-plan-to-seize-voting-machines-nationwide-report.html.

"Remove Objects with the Clone Stamp Tool." Adobe Photoshop Series, https://helpx.adobe.com/content/help/en/photoshop/how-to/clone-stamp-remove-object.html.

Schmidt, Michael S. "5 Takeaways From Thursday's Hearing by the Jan. 6 Committee." The New York Times, 23 June 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/23/us/politics/jan-6-hearing-takeaways.html.

Special to the Capital-Star. "A Timeline of Pa. Rep. Scott Perry's Texts Following the 2020 Election | Analysis." Pennsylvania Capital-Star, 15 Dec. 2022, https://www.penncapital-star.com/campaigns-elections/a-timeline-of-pa-rep-scott-perrys-texts-following-the-2020-election-analysis/.

Walker, Hunter, and Josh Kovensky. "Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry's Work To Overturn 2020 Election Included A 'Cyber Team' And An Italian Job." TPM – Talking Points Memo, 12 Dec. 2022, https://talkingpointsmemo.com/feature/freedom-caucus-chair-scott-perrys-work-to-overturn-2020-election-included-a-cyber-team-and-an-italian-job.

Ward, Myah. "Cheney: Scott Perry Sought Pardon for Role in Trying to Overturn 2020 Election Results." POLITICO, 9 June 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/06/09/cheney-scott-perry-jan-6-hearing-00038724.

Jordan Liles is a Snopes reporter with expertise in investigating misinformation, inauthentic social media activity, and scams.

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