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NBC News uses old photo to 'prove' Obama's new home has no wall
When President Donald Trump compared Barack and Michelle Obama's new security wall around their new home in Washington, DC to a border wall, the ...
Monday, January 07, 2019
by Clinton Gillespie

When President Donald Trump compared Barack and Michelle Obama's new security wall around their new home in Washington, DC to a border wall, the media ran fact-check after fact-check with claims that President Trump is wrong.

In his tweet on December 30, Trump wrote "President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound. I agree, totally necessary for their safety and security. The U.S. needs the same thing, slightly larger version!"

Left-wing media such as Snopes and NBC News rebutted the President and wrote fact-checks to tell their readers and viewers that there is no wall or fencing around the Obama home. 

A neighbor of the Obamas told The Washington Post on December 31 that there is tasteful fencing along the front of the house while the back of the house is protected by a chain-link fence. Former presidents and their immediate family are afforded life-long protection by the Secret Service according to the Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012.

Snopes 'fact check'

Snopes wrote a fact-check about Trump's claim and declared it is false. Snope's writers said "The house is still clearly visible from the streets, and photographs document that the stairway leading from the main entrance of the home down to the street is not impeded by a wall, fence, or security gate."

Snopes based their information on a photograph from The Washington Post on December 30 that shows the columns are still under construction.

Photo from The Washington Post for illustrative comparison - 2017

Photo shows where construction has taken place and where it is presumed to take place - 2017

NBC News trompe l'oeil

Freelance reporter Tim Stelloh wrote for NBC News with the headline "Trump compares border wall to 'wall around' Obama home." Quote marks are by NBC News.

Stelloh characterized Obama's wall as a "fence-like barrier." He wrote, "TMZ first reported in 2017 that the couple was building a fence-like wall and published photos showing what appeared to be the construction of a few brick columns. The project has since been completed." As part of his investigation, Stelloh read Town and Country magazine that also included a photo of the contruction. "Another photo of the home in Town and Country magazine showed a metal gate and brick columns. The Obamas also added guard booths," he wrote.

Stelloh compared Trump's remarks to an embrace of "false conspiracy theories" that Michelle Obama believes places her family's security at risk. In her book "Becoming," which was published in November, Stelloh quoted an excerpt from the book: "What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington?” Ms. Obama wrote. "What if that person went looking for our girls? Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family's safety at risk."

New Construction shows Obama's new wall

Since Trump's claim about Obama's wall, many have tried to verify whether the claim is true. Spero News can confirm that a 10-foot-wall was constructed in front of the entrance to the driveway, as well as a guardbooth to house Secret Service officers. We can also confirm that there are 10-foot columns spaced periodically in front of the house that extend the fencing from the driveway. The photos of the construction have circulated since 2017 when construction began. Despite the new construction, NBC News chose to lead their story about Mr. Trump's claim with a photo of Obama's house from 2016 that shows no construction of walls or fencing or columns or guardposts.

Photo from 2016 used by NBC News to prove there is no wall surrounding Barack and Michelle Obama's new home.

In addition to the wall and guardpost, 10-foot columns were constructed in the same patterns as the completed wall in front of the driveway. The columns remain under construction according to  The Washington Post's current photo. In their photo, it shows there is no fencing material at the moment between the columns in front of the house, unlike the driveway. Reports remain conflicted whether the construction is complete. Spero News reached Obama officials for a comment but have not received a reply from them in time for publication. 

Other outlets such as The Daily Caller tried to confirm whether the wall or fence have been completed since Trump's tweet, but were blocked from access to the street by barriers installed by the Secret Service.

Clinton Gillespie is editor

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