• Wed. Mar 3rd, 2021

RNC airs video clip of ‘Biden’s America’ — it was actually Barcelona

The Republican National Convention aired a video on its first night decrying protests in the United States and citing potential chaos in the streets if Democratic nominee Joe Biden is elected president.

One problem with the video? One part showed a different protest, in a different country, in a different year.

NBC News’ Social Newsgathering team was able to identify that a portion of the video was in fact taken during Catalonia independence protests in Spain in October 2019 and not during recent protests in the United States over racial injustice and police brutality. Catalonian public broadcaster, CCA, was first to report on the misinformation on Aug. 25.

The video, which has since been posted on President Trump’s official YouTube account, is titled “Catalina and Madeline” and features two Chicago-area sisters, Catalina and Madeline Lauf, who discuss their conservative beliefs and their support for the president.

“This is a taste of Biden’s America,” one of the sisters narrates as photos and videos of protests flash on screen. “The rioting, the crime. Freedom is at stake now and this is going to be the most important election of our lifetime.”

While the imagery appears to allude to the recent American protests after the fatal encounter of George Floyd with Minneapolis police in May, the 4:16 mark of the video shows cars, street signs, and trash on fire in the middle of the street as people run by the blaze — in Barcelona.

A screengrab of the video aired during the RNC segment actually shows 2019 protests in Barcelona.Republican National Convention

That segment of the video aired by the RNC matches an undated video from Shutterstock, titled “Young rebel riot revolutionary anarchist.” Shutterstock is often used as a source for stock photos and videos.

While the Shutterstock video doesn’t specify the location or date it was taken, Getty Images, a photo and video agency, captured a video of the same incident from a different angle. Getty’s description of their video states that the demonstrators clashed with police on Oct. 16, 2019, in Barcelona, Spain, after nine Catalan separatist leaders were sentenced for their involvement in the province’s 2017 failed referendum on independence.

NBC News’ Social Newsgathering team geolocated the specific street in Barcelona where this clash with police occurred. In the Google Maps street view of the location, 113 Carrer de Roger de Flor, numerous doorway arches and balconies can be seen, which match those seen in the segment of video used in the RNC video.

A Google Maps street view shows the area where the protests in Barcelona occurred.Google Maps
A Google Maps street view shows the area where the protests in Barcelona occurred.Google Maps

The Trump campaign and the RNC did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

Most Americans believe that fabricated news and misinformation are having an impact, according to the Pew Research Center. The survey, conducted shortly after the 2016 election, found that 64 percent of U.S. adults surveyed believe that fake news stories cause a great deal of confusion.