What a difference ideology makes. Barack Obama is too busy campaigning to respond to an urgent call for backup from the American consulate in Benghazi, which is under siege, aftetwards lies about who was responsible for the death of four Americans, and goes unchallenged by the media four years later when he declares in retrospect that his administration was scandal-free. But serve Donald Trump a second scoop of ice cream to reporters’ single scoop, and you’ve got a regular Sundagate on your hands.
Or to take a more recent example, on Wednesday the president tweeted a faked photo of Conan, a military working dog, receiving a medal for his heroism. Conan, you may recall was the German shepherd who chased Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi down a tunnel and was injured when the now-defunct ISIS leader became defunct. Here’s the tweet:
AMERICAN HERO! pic.twitter.com/XCCa2sGfsZ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2019
Here are the two source photos from which the composite was rendered:
Leave it to the journalistic sleuths at the New York Times to expose this glaring fraud for what it is:
President Trump on Wednesday shared an altered photograph of himself placing a medal around the neck of the dog injured in the raid last weekend that led to the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s leader.
The image, which bears a watermark for a social media account for the conservative news site The Daily Wire, appeared to be an altered version of a 2017 Associated Press photograph. In the original, Mr. Trump is seen awarding a Medal of Honor to James C. McCloughan, a retired Army medic who is credited with saving the lives of 10 men during the war in Vietnam.
Niraj Chokshi and Karen Zraick, the Times authors who broke the story, didn’t just stop at reporting this outrageous hoax. They actually reached out to McCloughan, now 73, to get his take on the scandalous photo. Unfortunately, he told the young reporters:
Medal of Honor recipients accept on behalf of their entire teams, especially those that did not return from battle. And canines have long been part of war efforts.
“This recognizes the dog is part of that team of brave people,” he said.
Rats! There goes their almost-certain nomination for a Pulitzer.
In 2018, Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger met privately with Trump at the White House, where he urged the president to stop using the phrase fake news, which he said is harmful.
If this latest oeuvre is indicative of what the Times is now churning out, Sulzberger can sleep soundly tonight. This story is not fake news. It’s not anything.