In a strange move that perhaps serves as an example of just how far left-leaning media outlets will go to smear conservatives, editors at Newsweek decided to retroactively edit an article the outlet published more than five years ago to bolster an attack against Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton's military record.
What's the background?
Last week, liberal magazine Salon published a bizarre hit piece against Cotton, alleging that he misrepresented his military record during congressional campaigns by falsely claiming to be an Army Ranger.
Cotton, a decorated combat veteran who earned a Bronze Star for his service in the Army in both Afghanistan and Iraq, had completed Army Ranger school and been awarded the Ranger tab, which qualifies him to serve in the elite unit.
But in the article, Salon was quick to point out that though "soldiers who complete the course earn the right to wear the Ranger tab ... in the eyes of the military, that does not make them an actual Army Ranger."
Salon even went so far as to belittle Ranger school, characterizing the grueling two-month course as something "that literally anyone in the military is eligible to attend."
In an article responding to the Salon smear, conservative outlet National Review noted that "there are many veterans, Democrats in Congress, and media outlets that do, in fact, call Ranger school graduates Army Rangers — even if they don't serve in the 75th Ranger Regiment."
Then what happened?
One of the many media outlets cited in the National Review article was Newsweek, which ran a story in 2015 about how for "the first time in the Army Ranger School's 64-year history, two women have completed the intense training program and will become Rangers."
Newsweek even decided hop on the smear campaign and run its own story about Cotton's supposed lies, after which the media outlet was summarily called out by Cotton's office. Only rather than retract the story, Newsweek doubled down by editing its old article. Here's what happened, courtesy of National Review:
Cotton's communications director Caroline Tabler tells National Review that Cotton's office contacted Newsweek this weekend to point out that Newsweek had identified the female Ranger school graduates as Army Rangers in 2015. Newsweek responded by editing its 2015 story to conform to Salon's new smear of Cotton. The 2015 Newsweek story no longer says the two women "will become rangers" — the edited version says they "will be allowed to wear the coveted Ranger tab on their uniforms." (The original Newsweek story can be viewed here.)
The new article includes an editor's note reading: "Correction: This article has been changed to note that completion of the course allows one to wear the Ranger tab, but does not make one a Ranger."
National Review writer John McCormack responded to the move by putting Newsweek on blast, calling the outlet out for "stolen valor."
Receipts: https://t.co/A2qb2BySKQ— John McCormack (@John McCormack)1611619841.0
Hot Air, reporting on the news, rightly noted that "in the end, this is less a story about Senator Cotton's service designation than it is about how the liberal media will stop at virtually nothing in their efforts to cancel conservatives."