Fox News pulls story about Trump-supporting “Navy SEAL” who made up military service

Fox News pulls story about Trump-supporting “Navy SEAL” who made up military service
New headlines outside Fox News studios in New York on Aug. 1. Richard Drew/AP
New headlines outside Fox News studios in New York on Aug. 1. Richard Drew/AP

Fox News has pulled a story about a Trump-supporting Vietnam War Navy SEAL after a military news website reported the man had lied about his military service.

Navy veteran John Garofalo was the subject of a Fox News report for his creation of a massive glass presidential seal he said he hoped to deliver to President Donald Trump. In the report, which was nationally broadcast Oct. 8, Garofalo was identified as being a Vietnam War veteran, a member of the first U.S. Navy SEAL team and the recipient of 22 commendation medals, including two Purple Hearts. A video clip of Fox’s interview with Garofalo was viewed millions of times online.

But Garofalo admitted to Military Times on Thursday that he did not serve in Vietnam, was never a U.S. Navy SEAL and did not receive 21 of the 22 service medals he had claimed to receive.

“What I did I’m ashamed of, and I didn’t mean to cause so much disgrace to the SEALs,” he said in the interview.

In a correction posted to its website and its Facebook page, Fox News said it had been in contact with Garofalo’s family and with the National Personnel Records Center in the last two weeks about Garofalo’s military record.

“Unfortunately, all of Garofalo’s claims turned out to be untrue,” the correction read. “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.

“We apologize to our viewers, especially veterans and servicemen and women,” the correction continued.

Fox News’ correction on its Facebook page
Fox News’ correction on its Facebook page Fox News/Facebook

A Fox News spokesperson said an on-air correction would be issued Sunday.

Retired Navy SEAL Don Shipley told Military Times he contacted Fox News on Oct. 9 about Garofalo’s claims and requested the article be retracted then.

It’s unclear why it took Fox 11 days to retract the article. A spokesperson did not respond to additional questions about Shipley’s claims that he notified Fox News the day after the story ran, or how Fox News normally checks the validity of a guest’s prior military service.