FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show Michelle Obama Texting During The Pledge Of Allegiance?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

A meme circulating on Facebook claimed to show first lady Michelle Obama texting during the Pledge of Allegiance, sarcastically referring to her as a “class act.”

Verdict: False

The woman looking at her phone in the meme is a Washington Post columnist, not the first lady, who was wearing a different dress and sitting in a different location at the event shown in the image.

Fact Check:

The picture in question is a still image from CNN’s broadcast of the 2015 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, held in Washington, D.C., on April 25 of that year. (Video of the event can be viewed here.)

Obama was in attendance at the event, appearing many times in the video itself. However, she was wearing a different dress with a much higher neckline than the woman shown in the original image, sporting curled hair in contrast to the other woman’s straighter hairstyle.

In addition, the image actually shows attendees standing with their hands over their hearts during a performance of the National Anthem, rather than the Pledge of Allegiance. During this performance, Obama stood on the stage, not on the main floor of the event where the woman in the picture is standing. Obama placed her hand over her heart during the rendition of the anthem.

The woman in the image is actually Washington Post columnist Helena Andrews. After receiving backlash for being on her phone, she responded via Twitter, saying she had been taking notes, not texting, when she appeared on camera.

The meme has circulated on social media for years, first appearing not long after the event aired.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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