The conservative "media monitoring" site Newsbusters is busily swiftboating John Weiler, a lifelong Republican who appears in the MoveOn.org sponsored Obama TV ad competition winner. It looks to me like they may have gotten this one wrong - dead wrong, and deserve the proverbial pie in the face because of it.
Here's the ad, which I posted last night:
Less than 12 hours later readers are responding in the comment section of the post. First we hear from Ron:
As a Air Force 30 year old enlisted retiree I think he is a fake. He said he was in the Air Force for 6 years, 1983-1989 and made MSgt in 6 years. It just doesn't happen. Newsbusters.com said the same thing.
And then JLawson adds his concern:
Ditto on the time in rank/time in grade thing. MSgt in 6 years? He'd be doing good to have been selected for WAPS testing and done well enough to make Staff Sergeant - E-5, and there's no way he could have been bumped to E-7. (Actually, there's one way. But he wouldn't have wanted to do it, and it's pretty unlikely.)
Minimum MSgt eligibility requirements are 8 years Time in Service, 24 months Time in Grade, and finishing Supervisory Level (7-level) training. Minimum Tech Sergeant (E-6) Time in Service is 5 years, Time in Grade is 23 months. Virtually nobody makes the minimums, no matter how much of a star you are. You've got promotion cycles to consider (which are usually annual) and you DON'T get to test before you're eligible.
So overall? Smells bogus to me on the rank...
So I fact checked the fact checkers, and found that there is a bit of a spin going on by Newsbusters - they write:
"He served in the Air Force from 1983 to 1989, leaving the service as a master sergeant," according to the AP. Is that not amazing? The Air Force Enlisted Promotions Fact Sheet shows promotion to Master Sergeant (E-7) requires eight years in the service. According to Military.com, "The average service wide active duty time for advancement to the rank of Master Sergeant is 17.06 years."
"Master Sergeant" isn't what the AP story says at all:
He served in the Air Force from 1983 to 1989, leaving the service as a staff sergeant. He said he has two nephews in the Air Force and one nephew attending Army tanker school and has grown to oppose the war in Iraq.
It appears that Newsbusters misquoted - flat out misquoted -- the AP story, then proceeded to swiftboat this veteran across the blogosphere. Why? Because he's a Republican veteran who plans to vote for Obama. They appear to be desperate in their attempt to discredit Weiler - and look at the speed with which their lie spreads....
Here's what the Air Force chart linked to in the Newsbusters post says about the time required to reach the grades in question:
It appears from this that Staff Sergeant (SSgt) only requires three years, and Weiler served for six.
Why would Newsbusters spin this -- blatantly misquoting an AP story?
Update: Commenter Eric points out that the AP story lists a correction at the bottom of this version stating that they had previously listed Weiler as Master Sergeant, and correcting the story to indicate that Weiler was a Staff Sergeant.
And I found a comment by JeffWeimer in the Newsbusters thread timestamped 10pm ET last night - 14 hours ago - citing this correction.
Here we are 14 hours later, and Newsbusters has not posted a correction. They've allowed their lie to continue without correction, and if you read the Newsbusters comment thread readers there are still treating the story as factual, and this lie is spreading across the blogosphere.
Check out this freeze frame of the video to see just how far and just how desperate Newsbusters was to swiftboat this Republican vet who dared say he intended to vote for Obama.
Not only did Weiler not "say he'd made Master Sergeant" - the video identifies him as a Staff Sergeant - plain as day.
I'm glad we have watchdog sites like Newsbusters around to keep that liberal media from spreading its lies.... aren't you?
Update II: John Weiler's wife Michelle contributes in the comment thread of the original post post - link.
Update III: Here we are, exactly one week later -- still no correction on this story from Newsbusters. Perhaps they should change their name to Newsliars instead...
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