Esquire corrects response on story about SEAL credited with bin Laden kill

Esquire | BuzzFeed | Politico

Tuesday morning Esquire said Stars and Stripes reporter Megan McCloskey didn't pay close attention to its story about how the former Navy SEAL who says he shot Osama bin Laden doesn't have government-supplied health insurance. McCloskey pointed out that as a returning combat veteran, the shooter, who isn't named, is eligible for five years of free healthcare.

"Now granted, "The Shooter" is a long story, lots of words to sort through, but McCloskey is wrong here," Esquire's response to McCloskey read. It then quoted a paragraph that allowed "the VA does offer five years of benefits."

One problem: That paragraph was different in the online version of the story, BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski pointed out.

Now Esquire has added a clarification to its piece attacking McCloskey:

Editor's Note: The online version of The Shooter story did not reflect the final version of the story in the print magazine, which went to press 10 days ago. The print version included more details about the availability of benefits for veterans. Unfortunately, this omission on the online version, which has been corrected, has led to a misunderstanding, through no fault of her own, by reporter Megan McCloskey and others about some of the facts in our story regarding healthcare and our veterans. The online version of the piece omitted the following paragraph that appears in the print magazine: "There is also a program at MacDill Air Force Base designed to help Special Ops vets navigate various bureaucracies. And the VA does offer five years of benefits for specific service-related claims—but it’s not comprehensive and it offers nothing for the Shooter’s family." The story's argument, however, remains the same: That the man who shot and killed Osama bin Laden, as the following post explains, remains responsible for his own healthcare and that of his family.

The piece, which calls out a reporter by name and now sits under a note admitting its premise was dodgy, still lacks a byline.

Previously: Following criticism, Esquire maintains bin Laden shooter is ‘screwed’

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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