Obama With Upside Down Phone on Tablet
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Hoax Picture – Obama Holding Phone Upside Down

by Brett M. Christensen


Widely circulated image supposedly depicts US President Obama holding a phone handset upside down while posing for a photo opportunity.

Brief Analysis

The image is a digitally altered version of an original photograph depicting Obama holding the phone correctly. The hoax image has been circulating since 2008 but has recently surfaced once again on Facebook. An earlier hoax picture in the same vein supposedly depicted US President Bush holding a phone upside down.


Obama upside down phone hoax picture

When you are faking a pose for a photo opportunity with the American Flag…at least get the handset turned in the right direction!!


Detailed Analysis

This widely circulated image supposedly shows US President Barack Obama posing for a photograph while holding a phone handset o his ear upside down. The image, along with several derogatory descriptions of the depicted incident, has circulated via email, blogs and social media outlets since 2008.

The image has recently resurfaced on Facebook with the caption “When you are faking a pose for a photo opportunity with the American Flag…at least get the handset turned in the right direction” included as part of a single graphic.

However, the image is a hoax. In fact, it is a digitally altered version of the following original photograph which shows President Obama holding the phone correctly:

Obama on Phone

Many observers would quickly recognize the digitally altered version as just a political joke or visual political commentary. Nevertheless, submissions and comments indicate that there are also many people who believe that the hoax image is genuine.

Astute observers will note that the fake version includes a wall clock set to 3 o’clock. An article about the image on About Urban Legends points out that the addition of the clock is intended to reference a February 2008 TV ad campaign for Obama’s then rival, Hillary Clinton:

It’s 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. But there’s a phone in the White House and it’s ringing. Something’s happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call.

The faux image was originally posted on political humour blog IMAO on March 3rd 2008.

Obama’s presidential predecessor George W. Bush was targeted in a very similar – and equally fake – hoax image:Bush upside down phone

And yet another such fake image supposedly showed President Bush holding a book the wrong way up:
Bush upside down book

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,