Fox News didn’t let a little thing like facts stand in its way of promoting a right-wing rumor that the Navy will charge an officer for illegally discharging his gun during the shooting attack in Chattanooga last month.
Right-wing extremist and Fox News contributor Allen West reported on his blog on Saturday that he had confirmed that “the United States Navy is bringing charges against Lt. Cmdr Timothy White for illegally discharging a firearm on federal property.” White is the commanding officer at the U.S. Naval and Marine Reserve Center who opened fire when the center was attacked by Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez in Chattanooga last month. Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb later tweeted that he had confirmed the Pentagon is “seriously considering” charging White.
The Navy posted on Facebook on Saturday, that “stories of Navy personnel being charged with an offense are not true. There is still a long way to go in reviewing the facts of this tragic incident, but at this time we can confirm no service member has been charged with an offense.”
This is not the first time West has been caught promoting false rumors. In December, he promoted the false accusation that President Obama gave more recognition to the death of Ferguson’s Michael Brown than law enforcers killed in the line of duty - in an article that West plagiarized.
But Sunday morning, Fox & Friends host Tucker Carlson did his best to suggest that the rumor was true – at the same time that he acknowledged it isn’t.
CARLSON: We want to start this morning with a shocking story. A story so shocking in fact, we weren’t certain it was true and we just confirmed that it is.
The “shocking truth” Carlson confirmed was the fact that the Pentagon is still investigating the incident.
Cohost Ed Henry explained:
HENRY: We asked the Navy, the Pentagon late last night, might he (White) face charges, because there were reports of this in Tennessee and the Pentagon told us, quote, “Still looking at tons of data, so can’t completely rule anything out.”
Henry added, “Obviously, the Pentagon’s right, that they have to do an investigation. We shouldn’t get ahead of the facts.”
But that didn’t mean they couldn’t engage in a few minutes of inflammatory speculation in the meanwhile.
Henry continued, “On the other hand, here’s someone who helped bring down a terrorist. He’s been serving in the military for over a dozen years already. As you say, father of six. He helps take down a terrorist. Instead of criminal charges, how about a medal? How about an honor?”
“This doesn’t seem like a tough call,” Carlson chimed in.
Ainsley Earhardt did her part for the cause: “If they do try to charge this guy, they’re looking at the wrong individuals. He was there defending four Marines, one sailor who were under attack at the time and he potentially saved others’ lives.”
Earhardt later acknowledged, “We don’t know if a bullet from his gun is the one that took down the suspect. The Pentagon, the Navy has not told us that information yet.”
In other words, Earhardt doesn’t know if White “potentially” saved other lives or endangered them.
Carlson even opined that it was “pretty unlikely” White will be charged. But, Carlson “asked,” “What does it indicate that they’re even considering it?”
And what good would the segment be to Fox if someone didn’t use the subject to suggest that Obama doesn’t really want to defend America?
CARLSON: If you think of all the time they have spent, the Obama administration, responding to demands from various lobbies about how to change the military, how to impose social engineering on the military, with no regard for how those changes will affect its ability to fight wars, it really gives you the sense that they’ve lost sight of the mission, which is to defend America. There’s no other point of having a military. That’s the only point.
Watch it below, from the August 2 Fox & Friends.
(Many thanks to NewsHounds' Richard for his assistance in writing this post.)