Fox News is under fire for running a story about a fake Vietnam War Navy SEAL who had created an enormous glass seal which he hoped to gift to President Donald Trump, according to the Washington Post.
Earlier this month on October 8, Fox News ran a story about glass artist and a supposed Vietnam War Navy SEAL, John Garafalo, who claimed to have won two Purple Hearts and more than two dozen other medals for his seven-year-long service in Vietnam as a member of the U.S. Navy SEAL. Fox News, apart from broadcasting Garafalo’s interview, also ran the story on its social media pages, including Facebook, where it went on to generate millions of views.
But as it turned out, John Garafalo’s claims were a complete fabrication. Not only had the man never won any medals, his records showed that he had never served as a member of the U.S. Navy SEAL, or in Vietnam. Despite all this, Fox News anchors heaped praise on Garafalo, calling him “a hero” and a “tough, tough man” during the segment.
“Garofalo is used to working under pressure,” Fox News reporter Bryan Llenas told the viewers.
“The Vietnam War veteran served seven years as a member of the nation’s first Navy SEAL team. He was awarded 22 commendations, including two Purple Hearts. You are a hero.”
“God bless John Garofalo,” the anchor chipped in. “We certainly hope maybe the president is listening.”
A day after Fox News ran the story, Don Shipley, a retired SEAL who tracks down fake claims of military service, called the media organization and informed them about Garafalo’s fabricated claims. Even Garafalo’s own family contacted Fox News, contradicting and exposing the man’s claims as bogus. Despite this, Fox News continued to run the story on its pages, angering Shipley.
“Fox News not withdrawing that story has drove me nutty,” Shipley said, adding, “I don’t know who has the balls in this day and age to do something like that.”
He was the first to track down official documents which disputed Garafalo’s claims about his service. Seeing as he did that Fox News was not retracting the story, Shipley contacted Navy Times with all the relevant documents. Navy Times cross-checked the authenticity of the documents with the National Personnel Records Center and Naval Special Warfare Command, and found that they were credible.
When Navy Times confronted Garafalo about his bogus claims, he admitted the truth.
“It got bigger and bigger. What I did I’m ashamed of, and I didn’t mean to cause so much disgrace to the SEALs,” he said.
Fox News finally corrected the story after Garafalo’s bogus claims were debunked, and released the following correction.
“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 of the other nearly two dozen commendations he claimed to have received, except for the National Defense Service Medal,” it read.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]