Two sources offer differing versions of same story


Two Internet websites are reporting something about an American war hero that differ in their emphasis.

One of them leans left; the other leans right. The specific subject of their analyses is an essay by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who’s challenging contentions by yet another source about the veracity of a former Navy SEAL’s account of his battlefield exploits.

Here’s the right-leaning site:

Perry questions doubts raised about the late Chris Kyle’s medals. Kyle, who was shot to death after returning from multiple deployments to Iraq, reportedly fudged the number of Silver and Bronze stars he received for his work as a SEAL sniper. sides with Perry’s accusation that the doubts have served to smear the memory of Chris Kyle, whose military career was the subject of an acclaimed film “American Sniper.”

Here’s the left-leaning site: says the report reflects journalists doing actual journalism.

Gov. Perry, quite naturally, disputes that side of the story.

Perry said the DD-214 — the Defense Department official record of every person’s military service — is the definitive source for this information.

Here’s my take.

I don’t particularly care whether Kyle received two Silver Stars or “merely” one of them, or that he received six Bronze Stars instead of just four, or five.

The man is a hero, no matter how you slice it.

As for whether the report constitutes a “smear,” and has “libeled” a dead man, I’ll make two quick points.

One is that you cannot libel someone who’s dead. The other is that the truth has yet to be determined. If the reporters who dug up the discrepancy in Kyle’s record have done so accurately, well, you cannot libel anyone by telling the truth.

I’m not going to obsess over the number of medals for valor Kyle earned while doing his duty.

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