USA Today Forced to Correct ‘Fact Check’ Defending Biden over Looking at Watch During Dignified Transfer

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    In the original fact check, USA Today labeled the claim that Biden checked his watch repeatedly during the ceremony “Partly False,” arguing that images of him glancing at his wrist happened after the ceremony had ended. The fact check did not include the testimonies of several Gold Star families, who claimed to have personally witnessed Biden’s actions:

    Based on our research, we rate PARTLY FALSE the claim that Trump saluted the caskets of fallen U.S. service members, while Biden checked his watch. The pictures are real, but they don’t accurately summarize the two events. The way Biden honored the 11 caskets presented at Dover Air Force Base, with a hand over his heart, was similar to how Trump paid respects to fallen service members during his presidency. Biden checked his watch, but he did so after the ceremony had ended.

    A transfer case with the remains of Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee, are carried off of a military aircraft as US President Joe Biden attends the dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware, August, 29, 2021, one of the 13 members of the US military killed in Afghanistan last week. – President Joe Biden prepared Sunday at a US military base to receive the remains of the 13 American service members killed in an attack in Kabul, a solemn ritual that comes amid fierce criticism of his handling of the Afghanistan crisis. Biden and his wife, Jill, both wearing black and with black face masks, first met far from the cameras with relatives of the dead in a special family center at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.The base, on the US East Coast about two hours from Washington, is synonymous with the painful return of service members who have fallen in combat. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

    After significant backlash, USA Today issued a correction, admitting that Biden did check his watch during the ceremony and including Gold Star family statements. The rating was subsequently changed to “Missing Context”:

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    Several family members of the fallen service members have criticized Biden for glancing at his watch during the dignified transfer.

    “As my son and the rest of our fallen heroes were being taken off the plane yesterday I watched you disrespect us all five different times by checking your watch,” Shana Chappell, mother of Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, wrote in an Aug. 30 Facebook post.

    Darin Hoover, father of Marine Staff Sgt. Darin Taylor Hoover Jr., and Mark Schmitz, father of Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that Biden checked his watch multiple times during the dignified transfer. Hoover said it happened after each casket was presented.

    USA TODAY was unable to independently verify exactly how many times Biden looked at his watch.

    The publication explained that the “Missing Context” rating is in reference to a popular meme that compared a photo of former President Trump saluting caskets during a previous transfer ceremony with the photo of Joe Biden eyeing his watch.

    “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,” said the outlet. “The rating on this claim has been changed from partly false to missing context.”

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