This week, as Gold Star families mourned losing their loved ones whose lives were lost during service to the United States, USA Today felt it was necessary to fact-check the fact that President Biden repeatedly looked at his wrist watch during the transfer ceremony last weekend.
In the original news piece, USA Today labeled this claim about Biden checking his watch repeatedly “Partly False,” saying that images of Biden looking at his wrist were taken after the ceremony was over. The fact check did not have the testimonies of the Gold Star families, who also said to have personally seen Biden’s actions:
“Given our research, we rate this PARTLY FALSE that Trump saluted the caskets of fallen service members, while Biden looked at his watch. The photos are real, but they do not truly summarize the two occasions. The way Biden honored the fallen heroes at Dover Air Force Base, with one hand over his heart, was close to how Trump gave his respects to fallen heroes during his presidency. Biden looked at his watch, but only after the ceremony was over.”
After getting a lot of backlash, USA Today gave a correction, admitting that Joe Biden did look at his watch during the actual ceremony and even included Gold Star family comments. The rating was subsequently switched to “Missing Context”:
“Several of the family members of the fallen heroes have criticized Joe Biden for looking at his watch during the transfer.”
“As my son was being taken out of the plane I witnessed you disrespect all of us five different times by looking at your watch,” Shana Chappell, mother of Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, said in an August 30 Facebook post.”
“USA TODAY was not able to verify just how many times President Biden looked at his watch.”
The publication said that the “Missing Context” rating was in reference to the popular meme that compared a picture of former President Donald Trump saluting caskets during a past transfer ceremony with the picture of Joe Biden looking at his watch.
“Clarifications: This story was changed on Sept. 2 to note that Biden looked at his watch numerous times at the dignified transfer,” said the news outlet. “The rating on this claim was switched from partly false to missing context.”
Author: Scott Dowdy