Left-leaning news site USA Today was forced to issue a correction on a fact-check concerning President Joe Biden checking his watch during the dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base of 13 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan.
Originally, a USA Today “fact-check” seemed to run cover for Biden by stating that POTUS did check his watch, but only after the ceremony:
“[Biden] did appear to check his watch during his visit to Dover Air Force Base. But he did so after the dignified transfer ceremony was over. Footage leading up to the moment shows Biden with his hand over his heart for about 30 seconds as vans carry the service members’ remains off the tarmac. After the vans had left, Biden closes his eyes briefly before dropping his arms and glancing down at his watch.”
After much backlash, however, the story had to be updated to admit Biden checked his watch “multiple times” during the dignified transfer.
“Corrections & Clarifications: This story was updated Sept. 2 to note that Biden checked his watch multiple times at the dignified transfer event, including during the ceremony itself,” the correction read. “The rating on this claim has been changed from partly false to missing context.”
USA Today fact-checker Daniel Funke noted the correction Friday, posting to Twitter: “Journalists and fact-checkers are human (yes, even me!) We make mistakes. When we do, we correct them and try to make it right.”
As highlighted by Fox News, the USA Today “fact-check” headline changed from “Fact check: Biden honored service members killed in Kabul, checked his watch only after ceremony” to “Fact check: Biden honored service members killed in Kabul, checked his watch during ceremony.”
Notably, on Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about Biden checking his watch during the transfer and refused to give a direct answer.
“Some of the Gold Star families have criticized the president’s conduct at the dignified transfer,” Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich told the press secretary. “There was a father of one Marine who said the president shouldn’t be checking his watch every time a flag draped transport case came by the plane. And a sister of another Marine said that it felt like a fake and scripted apology.”
Emphasizing her question, Heinrich asked, “Was the president looking at his watch and does he have a message for those people who felt that they were offended?”
Psaki side-stepped the criticism and refused to address the question relating to Biden looking at his watch.
“Well, I would say his message to all of the family members, who were there, those who were not even in attendance, is that he is grateful to their sons and daughters, the sacrifice that they made to the country,” Psaki responded. “That he knows firsthand what it’s like to lose a child and the fact no one can tell you anything, or say anything, that there’s no words that are going to fill that hole that is left by that.”
“He’s not and I’m not going to speak to the private conversations, of course, they have the right to convey whatever they would like,” Psaki added. “But I will tell you, from spending a lot of time with him over the last couple of days, that he was deeply impacted by these family members who he met, just two days ago. That he talks about them frequently in meetings and the incredible service of their sons and daughters. That is not going to change their suffering, but I wanted to convey that still.”
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‘Fact-Check’ Corrected: Yes, Biden Checked Watch Multiple Times During Dignified Transfer Of U.S. Troops
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