USA Today was forced to issue a correction regarding a fact-check they conducted as to whether or not President Biden was caught checking his watch during a dignified transfer of military remains for 13 service members killed in Afghanistan.
Fact-checker Daniel Funke originally tackled the story, concluding that the matter was “partly false” because the President had, in fact, properly honored the fallen soldiers, only glancing down at his watch when the ceremony had concluded.
The fact-check was of a meme (yes, fact-checking a meme) that compared President Trump saluting fallen soldiers with Biden checking his watch.
Following an outcry from critics, multiple accounts from Gold Star families indicating the contrary, and a review of other photos and videos, Funke issued a correction.
“As many of you already know, this story has been corrected,” he tweeted. “Biden checked his watch multiple times during the ceremony. I regret the error.”
It’s easy to dunk on journalists when we get things wrong. I get it – to many, we’re just another name on a screen. But behind that screen is a person trying to do their best.
— Daniel Funke (@dpfunke) September 3, 2021
Biden Looked At His Watch At Least Three Times
The USA Today fact-check now notes that there are three separate photos taken of Biden during the solemn ceremony in which he is looking at his watch.
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“Associated Press photos taken 10 minutes apart show Biden checking his watch during the ceremony,” Funke now writes.
There was another distributed by Getty Images, though there is no timestamp indicating when Biden checked his watch for that photo. It could, perhaps, be the same incident taken from an alternate angle.
One father of a Marine killed during the suicide bombing outside of Kabul airport slammed the President for his behavior during the transfer of remains.
“They would release the salute and he looked down at his watch on every last one,” Darin Hoover, the father of Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, claimed. “All 13, he looked down at his watch.”
Gold Star Father Darin Hoover, whose son Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover was killed in Kabul, alleges that President Biden looked down at his watch when all 13 fallen service members arrived at Dover Air Force Base:
“That happened on every single one of them.” pic.twitter.com/PC83XWNWsx
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 31, 2021
Mark Schmitz, whose 20-year-old son, Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, who was also killed, confirmed that Biden would continually check his watch during the service.
“I actually leaned into my son’s mother’s ear and I said, ‘I swear to God, if he checks his watch one more time …’,” Schmitz alleged.
Schmitz would call Biden’s actions “the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen.”
Hannity spoke with Mark Schmitz and Darin Hoover, fathers of 2 of the Marines killed in Kabul. Speaking about Biden looking at his watch, Hoover says it happened 13x for “every single one that came out of that airplane.” Schmitz: “The most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen.” pic.twitter.com/z5ljjFLd7B
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) August 31, 2021
USA Today’s ‘Correction’
Here’s a little note about the media – even when they appear to be making an effort to get things right, there are subtle little tricks that show off their bias.
Funke, after all, didn’t change his assessment from “partly false” to true, he changed it to “missing context.”
Because the column referenced a meme circulating on social media which compared Biden checking his watch to Trump saluting a casket draped in the American flag.
The problem being, the headline to the post never mentions the meme, it simply mentions the watch incident.
Fact check: Biden honored service members killed in Kabul, checked watch during ceremony
Any reader glancing over the headline and seeing that it is “missing context” would understandably think that the story was untrue.
The problem, Daniel, is that the column only switched the fact check from “partly false” to “missing context.”
Because of a meme comparing Biden to Trump. https://t.co/EvlLKCJpgi
— Rusty Weiss 🇺🇸 (@rustyweiss74) September 3, 2021
If a conservative media outlet posted something on social media that’s been rated as “missing context” by a fact-checker, there is little doubt they’d be slapped with a warning for misinformation or be banned altogether.
Will USA Today be held accountable?
Funke whined about the criticism in a follow-up tweet, “It’s easy to dunk on journalists when we get things wrong.”
“I get it – to many, we’re just another name on a screen,” he added. “But behind that screen is a person trying to do their best.”
I rate the idea that journalists are trying to do their best rather than running cover for the President – Partly False.
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