Fox News Channel has apologized to veterans for a story earlier this month that profiled a man who claimed to have served in Vietnam, was a Navy SEAL and earned two Purple Hearts – none of which was true.
FNC made the correction and apology yesterday after both the story and the veteran were debunked by the Navy Times.
The FNC correction (read it below) begins, “On Sunday, Oct. 8, Fox News Channel aired a story about John Garofalo, a glass artist who created a presidential glass seal in the hopes of gifting it to President Trump. Garofalo claimed he was a Vietnam veteran, a member of the first U.S. Navy SEAL team, and a decorated war hero who was awarded two Purple Hearts. Unfortunately, all of Garofalo’s claims turned out to be untrue.”
According to the Navy Times story (“FAKER! Man admits he lied to Fox News about Navy SEAL service”), Garofalo’s bogus claims were first debunked by retired SEAL Don Shipley, who obtained Garofalo’s military records after becoming suspicious of the FNC report.
Shipley told Navy Times he approached Fox about a retraction the day after its Oct. 8 airdate, and contacted Navy Times when no retraction was made. FNC says the network has spent the last two weeks working “with Garofalo’s family and the National Personnel Records Center to get to the bottom of a military past that Garofalo had claimed to be covert.”
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“Fox News not withdrawing that story has drove me nutty,” Shipley told Navy Times, according to the military news organization.
After the Navy Times story was posted yesterday, FNC posted the correction and told the website an on-air correction will be made Sunday.
The Navy Times story is a great read, detailing Shipley’s efforts to get FNC to retract the story. Garofalo spoke to Navy Times, admitting he had been pulling the ruse for years. “It got bigger and bigger,” Garofalo told Navy Times. “What I did I‘m ashamed of, and I didn’t mean to cause so much disgrace to the SEALs.”
Navy Times says Garofalo, 72, served in the Navy from 1963 to 1967 in a job that involves “overseeing various ground-based functions involving aircraft.” Says the report, “The closest he ever got to Vietnam was a tour in Rota, Spain.”
The report goes on to quote from Fox News reporter Bryan Llenas’ now cringe-worthy segment:
“You are a hero,” Llenas told Garofalo in the segment. “But like most heroes…“
“I don’t like to hear that,” Garofalo said, cutting him off.
“Why don’t you like to hear it?” Llenas asked.
Garofalo appeared to choke up.
“Heroes,” he said, “are the ones that didn’t come home.”
Here is FNC’s full correction:
On Sunday, Oct. 8, Fox News Channel aired a story about John Garofalo, a glass artist who created a presidential glass seal in the hopes of gifting it to President Trump.
Garofalo claimed he was a Vietnam veteran, a member of the first U.S. Navy SEAL team, and a decorated war hero who was awarded two Purple Hearts.
Unfortunately, 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 is true that Garafalo is a glass artist and a veteran. He served in Spain and he gifted two presidential seals to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Over the last two weeks, we’ve worked with Garofalo’s family and the National Personnel Records Center to get to the bottom of a military past that Garofalo had claimed to be covert.
We apologize to our viewers, especially veterans and servicemen and women.
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