Fox News has been criticised after it featured a fake retired ‘Navy SEAL’ who praised President Donald Trump on its 24-hour news channel.
On 8 October 2017 the popular Fox News network ran a story about John Garofalo, a 72 year old retired Vietnam Navy SEAL veteran. On the show, Mr Garofalo showed a glass presidential seal he was hoping to give to Mr. Trump.
11 days later, Fox News retracted the story, after the network learned that Mr Garofalo had never served as a Navy SEAL, nor in the Vietnam war at all, let alone earned service commendations. His claimed record, it turns out, was a fabrication. Former Navy SEALs and Mr Garofalo’s own family members contacted Fox News regarding the inaccuracies in the story.
Despite Fox News being contacted by retired Navy SEAL Don Shipley on October 9, the network continued to run the story on social media until 19 October, by which time it had been viewed more than 1.5 million times.
In a correction published by Fox on Thursday, they stated “All of Garofalo’s claims turned out to be untrue…The fact is that he did not serve in Vietnam. He was never a U.S. Navy SEAL. Even though he showed us medals, Garofalo was not awarded two Purple Hearts or any other of the nearly two dozen commendations he claimed to have received, except for the National Defence Service Medial.”
Fox News plans to run a correction on-air this Sunday.
Don Shipley was one of the first people to contact Fox News about the story’s inaccuracies. While tracks and exposes false or bogus military service claims he told reports “Fox News not withdrawing that story has drove me nutty”
John Garofalo had been praised as a “hero” by the reporter in the redacted segment. “God bless John Garofalo” claimed one of the anchors. “We certainly hope maybe the president is listening,” they continued.