Gallagher Not Guilty & the Liberal Media Spin Begins
Gallagher Not Guilty & the Liberal Media Spin Begins
Edward Gallagher stepped up and promised to serve this country. He swore to protect it from its enemies. Along the way, he undertook some of the most rigorous training in the military and earned the privilege, the honor of becoming a Navy SEAL. His career came to a screeching halt when he was accused of killing a 17-year-old Islamic State (IS) prisoner. After more than nine months in custody, his court-martial came to an end yesterday. Chief Gallagher was found not guilty of murder. But that’s not the end of his legal troubles and it most definitely is not the end of the media’s attempt to spin the story to fit its own narrative.
The facts, as alleged by the prosecution are simple. Gallagher pulled his knife and stabbed the teenaged prisoner multiple times, killing him. Afterwards, Gallagher posed with the body and read his re-enlistment oath. Not exactly what one hopes from one of the elite of our military.
When his alleged actions came to light, Gallagher was charged with seven criminal counts:
[P]remeditated murder, willfully discharging a firearm to endanger human life, retaliation against members of his platoon for reporting his alleged actions, obstruction of justice and the attempted murders of two noncombatants . . . [and] posing for a photo with a casualty.
The key prosecution witness, Navy medic, Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, supposedly told military investigators that he saw Gallagher kill the teen. He did not attempt to stop the Chief. But, after being given immunity, Scott testified that he–not Gallagher–killed the prisoner. Yes, he still alleged Gallagher stabbed the IS soldier, but said it was his action in blocking the prisoner’s breathing tube that was the cause of death.
In fact, he testified that he felt the prisoner would have lived had he not taken steps to prevent the prisoner from breathing.
Admittedly, Scott wasn’t the only member of Gallagher’s team to testify for the prosecution.
Nearly a dozen members of Gallagher’s platoon testified against him, revealing that nearly all the platoon members posed for photos with the dead prisoner and witnessed Gallagher read his reenlistment oath near the body, actions prosecutors said proved that Gallagher was ‘proud’ of his actions.
Gallagher’s defense counsel claimed those witnesses were younger SEALS “who are out to get their much more experienced chief.”
In the end, Gallagher was found not guilty on all counts save one: posing for a photo with a casualty. This charge, the least serious of those levied against Gallagher, carries a maximum sentence of four months in prison. Even though Gallagher has yet to be sentenced, unless the court finds some long-forgotten codicil to the Code of Military Justice and sentencing guidelines, Gallagher won’t seen the inside of prison again. He’s already served more time than he can be sentenced to.
But that hasn’t stopped the media from reacting–and you guessed it–negatively to the verdict.
White House reporter, Tara McKelvey, had this to say:
In the San Diego courtroom, I watched the seven men on the jury, knowing that six of them had served in combat. The fact that most of them had gone through battle meant they were more likely to be sympathetic to the accused, a veteran of eight deployments.
Being judged by his peers meant they were going to be more sympathetic to him. The implied “but” is that it also meant they would be less likely to be able to put aside their feelings, their “sympathy” to render a fair verdict.
McKelvey goes on to note the jury found only enough evidence to convict him of posing with the body. According to her, this reflects an understanding that combat can cause people to act in ways they normally wouldn’t. But–and you knew there had to be a but–she also notes there will be others who disagree with the verdict. To insure her readers will question the verdict, she closes by saying the case will be one studied by the military in the years to come.
But McKelvey isn’t the only media mouthpiece to have her say. ABC News, in its coverage of the story, spent little time discussing the verdict. Instead, it rehashed the testimony against Gallagher. It not only went into how Scott changed his story, framing it in a way to make it sound like Scott admitted he basically did so to keep Gallagher from going to prison (and he may have, but we don’t have the video of the man’s testimony and can only judge by what’s been reported and by whom).
Then, to make sure its viewers didn’t forget the “proper” spin on the story, ABC closed its coverage with this text message the prosecution entered into evidence from Gallagher to the rest of his platoon:
I thought everyone would be cool, next time I will do it so no one sees,” Gallagher wrote to his platoon, once they allegedly turned on him. “Ready to kill the mother —— who tells on me and I’ve got s— on all of you to bring you down.”
It is clear Gallagher was angry and felt betrayed by his platoon, or at least by certain members of the platoon. But does that make him a murderer? I wasn’t at the trial, so I don’t know. What I do know is the media, dissatisfied with the verdict, is now trying him in the press.
Something they have become very good (or is it bad?) at.
Gallagher has had his day in court. We, the general public, will never know everything that happened that day or that happened leading up to it. What we do know is that the seven members of the United States Marine Corps and Navy who made up the jury decided there wasn’t enough evidence to convict Gallagher on any charge save the least serious. Gallagher has spent nine months in custody. After being sentenced, chances are he will also face further administrative sanctions from the Navy. He will never be an active duty SEAL again. His face has been plastered all over the media around the world.
And yet the media continues to try to frame the news to fit its narrative and damn the verdict.
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Feature photo credit: Navy Seal Insignia/Wikipedia.com