As the Biden administration's response to the war between Israel and Hamas divides voters, social media posts claim a video of a fire engulfing a large Christmas tree in New York was set by pro-Palestinian demonstrators. This is false; the images are from a 2021 arson outside the Fox News building in which a homeless man was arrested.
"Biden failed America PRO PALESTINIAN DEMONSTRATORS SET CHRISTMAS TREE ON FIRE OUTSIDE OF FOX NEWS HQ IN NEW YORK," claimed a December 24 post on X, formerly Twitter.
A separate post with thousands of interactions said: "Just your standard Biden voters burning down a Christmas Tree in NY," suggesting the actions were in support of President Joe Biden.
The posts come as Biden gears up for his 2024 re-election bid that could be a rematch of the 2020 race against Donald Trump, with the Democrat facing pressure over his handling of the Israel-Hamas war.
But the posts about the fire are false.
A reverse image search on Google of a screenshot from the post found several articles and videos matching the footage to the fire destroying the 50-foot tree outside the headquarters of Fox News near Rockefeller Center on December 8, 2021 (archived here and here). The incident was also widely shared on social media (archived here).
The blaze garnered considerable media coverage at the time including on Fox News itself. Police told local media they had arrested a homeless man with prior criminal offenses and that he had been thinking about lighting the fire the whole day. AFP reported the 49-year-old man was charged with arson.
Fox News host Shannon Bream covered the story live.
AFPTV also carried Fox News Channel footage of the 2021 fire.
AFP has fact-checked other stories about US politics here.