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'Fox and Friends' Still Spreading Suspicious Spitting Story

Reported by Judy - January 31, 2007 -

The story about an Iraqi veteran being spat upon at Saturday's anti-war rally in Washington was still flying on "Fox and Friends" on Wednesday (January 31, 2007) without any questioning of whether the incident actually occurred as the veteran says it did.

Cpl. Joshua Sparling appeared on "Fox and Friends" on Tuesday, repeating his story and adding the new information that anti-war protesters tried to club him afterwards.

But as Media Matters has pointed out, Sparling's story is suspicious. The New York Times, which carried an account of the alleged spitting, says that one protester spat on the ground near Sparling and that Sparling spat back. "Fox and Friends" did not ask Sparling about spitting back, but he did deny it on his appearance later on "Hannity and Colmes."

Media Matters is suspicious of the incident because The Times reporter describes the incident as if he saw it himself, rather than attributing it to Sparling or someone else, yet the reporter does not offer a description of the person allegedly doing the spitting. As Media Matters notes, the entire incident has echoes of the stories that veterans of the Vietnam War were spat upon, which themselves appear to share many of the attributes of urban legends -- unconfirmed incidents that began to be discussed years after they allegedly occurred.

TPM Cafe raises even more questions about the Sparling incident. Turns out Sparling is not only the meek injured soldier who proposes to his girlfriend on television, but a regular participant in pro-war events, appearing with Oliver North, on "Hannity and Colmes," and at a State of the Union speech as a guest of former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

"Fox and Friends" mentioned the fact that Sparling received a hate letter while recuperating from injuries received in Iraq (he lost a leg). The hosts left the impression that the letter was from someone opposed to the war, but in fact a white supremacist has taken responsibility for the letter.