Credit: Screen grabs
Trump ‘Fact-Checked’ for Photo Honoring Hero Dog: ‘Impossible to Take the Media Seriously’

Trump ‘Fact-Checked’ for Photo Honoring Hero Dog: ‘Impossible to Take the Media Seriously’

A number of journalists and news outlets felt the need to make clear Wednesday that President Donald Trump had not actually awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor to a dog. 

In an afternoon tweet, Trump shared an altered photo that showed him honoring Conan, a U.S. Army dog that was hurt Saturday in an U.S. operation that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in his Syrian compound.

“AMERICAN HERO!” the president declared, setting off a flurry of memes on the political left and right

MORE: Declassified Video Shows US Troops Storm ISIS Leader’s House — Leave Behind Smoldering Ruins

In a followup tweet that evening, Trump thanked The Daily Wire for the “recreation” of the Medal of Honor ceremony and announced that Conan would be visiting the White House next week.

MORE: Declassified Video Shows US Troops Storm ISIS Leader’s House — Leave Behind Smoldering Ruins

However, in between the two tweets, would-be fact-checkers pounced.


 

Voice of America’s White House bureau chief Steve Herman announced on Twitter that he had launched a full-blown investigation into the matter.

The New York Times ran a story headlined, “Trump Tweets Faked Photo of Hero Dog Getting a Medal.”

The two-person reporting team found that the Daily Caller had edited a 2017 photo of Trump “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.”

“Trump tweeted a photo of a Medal of Honor recipient — who was edited out and replaced by Conan the dog,” the Washington Post blared.

“The distinctive star of the medal was replaced with a paw print,” the article added.

Twitter critics expressed outrage that Trump had supposedly disrespected McCloughan — a 73-year-old retired Army medic who was wounded in action — by replacing his likeness with that of a dog.

Mother Jones editor-in-chief Clara Jeffrey accused Trump of “S—ting on the vets again, but in a whole new way.”

However, when the Times reporters contacted McCloughan and showed him the meme for the first time, they found he was “certainly was not offended and laughed when he compared the two images.”

“After all, he said, Medal of Honor recipients accept on behalf of their entire teams, especially those that did not return from battle,” The Times reported. “And canines have long been part of war efforts.”

In defense of giving Conan the Medal of Honor

The backlash to the backlash was swift. Pro-Trump meme-maker Carpe Donktum joined a dog pile on Voice of America’s Herman.

Townhall writer Julio Rosas named and shamed Mother Jones’ Jeffrey and other “offended” Twitter users.

Allah Pundit was in disbelief.

Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro compared the Times article to previous media scandals over conservative satire.

“There is simply no way to take the media seriously when they fact check obvious jokes,” he said.

Even left-wing journalist Yashar Ali called the fact-checkers “ridiculous.”

Trump’s most diehard critics have long faulted him for allegedly not liking dogs. They have cited as evidence his lack of a family pet and his use of canine-themed insults, including during Sunday’s White House address announcing Baghdadi’s death.

“He died like a dog,” Trump said of the terrorist. “He died like a coward.”

However, on Sunday, the president repeatedly credited the real-life dogs who helped U.S. troops pull off the raid. He said they had “chased down” Baghdadi, forcing him to detonate a suicide vest. While no U.S. personnel were wounded, Trump said, one “beautiful” and “talented” service dog had been injured.

On Monday, Trump tweeted a declassified picture he said was of the “wonderful” dog that did “such a GREAT JOB” in Saturday’s mission. It was only on Wednesday that he revealed the dog’s name is Conan.

Citing a senior Pentagon source, Newsweek reported Thursday that Conan was named after talk show host Conan O’Brien. The dog was hurt after being exposed to live electrical cables but has returned to active duty, according to the Pentagon.

Cover image: Conan in a meme./President Donald Trump. (Screen grabs)



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