Fox News published a story, "Family forced to pay to ship body of Marine killed after Pentagon policy change: 'Egregious injustice', claiming that the family of a dead U.S. Marine had to pay for the body's repatriation. The sole source of the story was Cory Mills, a Republican U.S. Congressman representing a district in Florida. The story was completely false and the Pentagon complained both about that and the failure to contact it for comment–a failure that a Pentagon spokesperson suggests shows the congressman and Fox News knew the story was untrue but expected it to be beneath the military to react. When the complaint came, the story was first silently edited [archive.org has only this version] and then finally taken down–with no correction, apology or explanation forthcoming.
(UPDATE: An apology finally emerged )
"This headline correction is still misleading and your story is still false," Maj. James Stenger, the lead spokesperson for the Marine Corps, wrote to Fox News in an email after the publication changed the headline and body of the story in an attempt to soften the accusation.
"Using the grief of a family member of a fallen Marine to score cheap clickbait points is disgusting," Stenger wrote. The spokesman was one of several military officials frustrated with the story, according to the documents.
The email from the Marine Corps came a day after the service requested a full retraction of the story, an apology to the family from Fox News, and a public explanation for any corrections, according to the emails provided by the service through the FOIA process.
Jay Wallace, president and executive editor of Fox News Media, at least one other executive and other Fox News staff members were included in the emails.
Fox News spokesperson Ali Coscia declined to answer Military.com's questions sent Monday to staff. The network also did not answer inquiries last month when the story was taken down.
Makes you wonder what else in reporter Michael Lee's stories might be fabricated, not that anyone at Fox News does.
A final insult for the Marine's family: in a Tweet, congressman Mills blamed them for the controversy, suggesting that they misled him.
As for the Marines: you're still going to have this blaring on every TV on the base 24/7 though, ain't ya?