At 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, a member of the right-wing message board Free Republic posted a Reuters photo that the news wire captioned as "U.S. President Barack Obama (C) and France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (R) take their places with junior G8 delegates for a family photo at the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy." The Free Republic member invited other members to submit alternative captions for the photo, resulting in dozens of sexually suggestive replies, some using racist epithets.
Thirty minutes later, Internet gossip Matt Drudge promoted the same photo with the headline "Mr. President!" Drudge later revised his headline to read "Second Stimulus Package!"
About two hours later, at 5:12 p.m., the Fox News website The Fox Nation posted the picture along with the headline "Another Stimulus?" It later revised the title to read "Busted?"
Just minutes after Fox Nation's mocking of the photo, ABC News' Jake Tapper posted the photo with the headline "When In Rome...?"
Around 4 a.m., almost 12 hours after he first posted the photo, Tapper posted this message on Twitter: "that foto of POTUS seeming to be sneaking a leer is misleading, im told - video shows the moment was completely innocent." He also updated his blog post by adding "Actually, not so much" to the headline and including video of the incident. Tapper wrote in the updated post, "On first glance, the snapshot appears to show President Obama caught in a moment of less than lofty analysis. But upon looking at the video, the moment might seem to appear quite innocent -- one of those times when a picture can be misleading. The president was on a higher step and was stepping down -- so he looked down to assure his footing as the woman was walking up the stairs." He concluded: "Although: not everyone agrees. Judge for yourself."