The Washington Post's reporting of Donald Trump's statement
saying that Arizona Sen. John McCain is "not a war hero" miscast the GOP presidential candidate's words, investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson
Attkisson, the former CBS News reporter, posted a fact-check of the Post's report on her website, saying that the newspaper had left out the context of Trump's remarks, including the ongoing feud between him and McCain. McCain called Trump supporters at a recent anti-illegal immigration rally "crazies."
Attkisson also noted that although the Post reported Trump's initial statement that McCain was not a war hero, it did not report four instances immediately following in which Trump said that McCain was a war hero:
"He is a war hero."
"He's a war hero because he was captured."
"He’s a war hero, because he was captured."
"I believe, perhaps, he’s a war hero. But right now, he’s said some very bad things about a lot of people."
Attkisson asks, "Did Trump say McCain is not a war hero because he was captured? No, not in the exchanges represented in the Post."
Attkisson said the Post's characterization did not appear to be an accident because it was repeated in a caption of the accompanying video clip, which read, "Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a decorated Vietnam war veteran, was not a war hero because he was captured by the North Vietnamese."
"Trump actually said the opposite of what the Post lead sentence and video caption claim," Attkisson wrote. "The Post might have been able to get away stating that Trump 'implied' McCain was not a war hero because McCain was captured, but even that would have been a subjective interpretation since Trump had actually stated the opposite."
She gave the post "Two Little Devils," which on her scale means the story had "fact errors, misimpressions and/or mischaracterizations."
In addition to Attkisson's piece, Trump also found defenders among his plethora of detractors.
Most of Trump's 14 declared Republican presidential rivals said he was wrong, but there was one notable exception: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Cruz didn't defend Trump's words
, and was quick to say that McCain is a "hero and a friend." But he also said he refused to play what he termed a "media game" of getting Republicans to attack each other.
"I'm not going to go into the gutter with personal attacks impugning character," Cruz told Bloomberg Politics at the Family Leadership Summit after Trump had made his controversial statement there.
Trump started the firestorm on Saturday when he took his turn onstage at the Iowa meeting and was asked by moderator Frank Luntz if it was right of Trump to call McCain a "dummy" when he is a war hero.
Trump responded that McCain is not a war hero, and is considered one by some "because he was captured," adding, "I like people who weren't captured."
McCain, a Navy pilot in the Vietnam War, was shot down and taken captive, where he was tortured in the "Hanoi Hilton" prisoner of war camp for more than five years.
Many critics said Trump's words were insulting not only to McCain, but to any member of the service who has been captured during wartime.
But Veterans for a Strong America
, an Iraq and Afghanistan veterans organization, defended Trump's words, issuing a statement that the Trump-McCain feud did not indicate a lack of respect for the military.
"It is well known that when Mr. Trump is attacked by a detractor, he swings back," the statement read. "As veterans, we do not hide behind military service to deflect criticism, and when Senator McCain attacked, Mr. Trump hit back."
Author Ann Coulter also joined the Trump defense, saying on Twitter, "Trump was being flip and misspoke in 3 seconds. The rest of our guys, with conscious deliberation, sell out the voters and the country."
She also added:
Trump is leading in many of the latest GOP polls, but has lost some people who were willing to defend him on his immigration comments.
Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol on Sunday declared Trump "dead to me" less than 24 hours after saying Trump was "older, wiser and richer" than Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Trump is still older and richer, Kristol said on ABC's "This Week,"
but added, "He jumped the shark yesterday."
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