NYT Actually Warned Public That Pic of Trump Awarding Medal to Dog Is 'Doctored'


The New York Times doesn’t seem to think the American people are very smart.

It’s hard to come to any other conclusion after seeing how condescendingly the left-leaning newspaper handled a recent tweet from President Donald Trump.

On Wednesday, the president shared a lighthearted post about the military dog that helped take down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria on Sunday. The terrorist killed himself during a raid conducted by U.S. special operators, who were aided by a highly trained dog named Conan that chased down Baghdadi before he detonated his own suicide vest.

“AMERICAN HERO!” Trump posted to his personal Twitter page. The post included a tongue-in-cheek image of the dog receiving a medal featuring a humorous pawprint.

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It was obvious to anyone who has spent even ten seconds on the internet that Trump was sharing a meme. A blue outline around the dog in the image was an immediate tipoff that it had been pasted in.

But killjoys at The Times and several other outlets seemed to miss that. In a sanctimonious article published the same day, the newspaper went out of its way to inform readers that the canine medal image wasn’t real, all while trying to gin up outrage.

“Trump Shares Faked Photo of Hero Dog Getting a Medal,” The Times declared in its main headline. Yes, a tweet about a dog is apparently now top news.

Do you think the NYT was reaching for outrage with this piece?

“The doctored photo appeared to use an image of a 2017 Medal of Honor ceremony. The recipient had saved the lives of 10 men in Vietnam,” a subheader read.

It’s worth noting that the term “doctored” typically refers to something that is purposely meant to trick people. According to Merriam-Webster, one of the word’s definitions is “to alter deceptively.”

The Times reported that “the image, which bears a watermark for a social media account for the conservative news site The Daily Wire, appeared to be an altered version of a 2017 Associated Press photograph.”

“In the original, Mr. Trump is seen awarding a Medal of Honor to James C. McCloughan, a retired Army medic who is credited with saving the lives of 10 men during the war in Vietnam.”

Why is that detail relevant? It could be that the newspaper was implying the president had somehow insulted McCloughan. What the paper did next seems to back up this view: The Times went out of its way to track down the Vietnam veteran for a comment.

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After the original Times story was published, its staff changed the subheader to edit out the term “doctored photo,” replacing it with the words “joke photo.” The paper also expanded the “story,” if you can call it that, to include an interview with McCloughan.

The Times may have expected the veteran to be offended by the tweet. Instead, he had the opposite take.

“In a phone interview on Wednesday, Mr. McCloughan, 73, who had not seen the image before a reporter sent it to him, said that he interpreted it as Mr. Trump recognizing the dog’s heroism,” The Times reported. “He certainly was not offended and laughed when he compared the two images.

“After all, he said, Medal of Honor recipients accept on behalf of their entire teams, especially those that did not return from battle. And canines have long been part of war efforts.”

“This recognizes the dog is part of that team of brave people,” McCloughan said, failing to give the anti-Trump newspaper rhetorical ammunition.

At a glance, The Times’ reversal doesn’t seem to be much of a groundbreaking story. But when you stop to think about it, there’s a lot more under the surface.

Assigning staff members to report on the non-news of a humorous tweet and then to expend time interviewing the man in the original photo smacks of pure desperation. It seems to be about digging for outrage where none exists, all while scrambling for any angle that might make the president look bad.

And that’s to say nothing of the insulting implication that Americans don’t know humor when they see it and need everything explained to them as if they’re clueless toddlers. We’ve seen the same thing with serious fact-checking sites breathlessly “debunking” obvious satire.

More and more, it is obvious that much of the establishment media lives inside a humorless echo chamber. Swing-and-a-miss, New York Times.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.