Newsweek is under fire criticizing Senator Tom Cotton describing himself as a “Ranger” for being a graduate of Ranger School and then editing a 5-year-old article where they themselves also referred Ranger School graduates as “Rangers.”
Newsweek has been blasted for removing a description of Ranger School graduates as “Rangers” (a reference to Army Rangers) from a 2015 article after it published a recent article that criticizes Ranger School graduate Senator Tom Cotton for describing himself as an Army Ranger.
The most recent Newsweek article, which is titled “Tom Cotton Blasted for Claims About Being an Army Ranger by Lawmaker Who Was One,” cites a report from Salon which highlights Cotton’s past statements about being an “Army Ranger” and argues that Cotton attending the Ranger School does not make him “an actual Army Ranger” in the eyes of the military because he didn’t serve in the 75th Ranger Regiment.
But after Newsweek published this article, Cotton’s press communications director, Caroline Tabler, contacted Newsweek and noted that one of its 2015 articles had identified female Ranger School graduates as “Rangers.”
Instead of updating the current article to note that Newsweek had previously described Ranger School graduates as “Rangers,” Newsweek went back and scrubbed this reference to Rangers from the 2015 article.
The original 2015 Newsweek article stated: “For the first time in the Army Ranger School’s 64-year history, two women have completed the intense training program and will become Rangers.”
The updated version of this 2015 Newsweek article now states: “For the first time in the Army Ranger School’s 64-year history, two women have completed the intense training program and will be allowed to wear the coveted Ranger tab on their uniforms.”
Initially, the updated version of this article contained a correction at the bottom of the post which stated: “Correction: This article has been changed to note that completion of the course allows one to wear the Ranger tab, but does not make one a Ranger.”
However, as critics became aware of the edit, they blasted Newsweek and described the edit as a way to “conform to new attack on Tom Cotton” and support its “2021 article slamming Tom Cotton about ‘Ranger’ claims.”
In the face of this mounting pushback, Newsweek then added an editors note to the article which states:
“Editor’s Note: This story has been the subject of serious allegations. To clarify: It was not changed in order to “fit a narrative.” A recent story about Senator Tom Cotton brought this 2015 story to the fore; upon further investigation, it became clear that a sentence was inaccurate in the 2015 story. The original version said “two women will become Rangers.” That sentence was corrected to say the women “will be allowed to wear the coveted Rangers tab.” We appended a correction note to the bottom of the story.
We regret any appearance of journalistic impropriety or any confusion this may have caused Senator Cotton’s staff.”
This pushback against Newsweek comes days after another mainstream media outlet, the Washington Post, was criticized for editing one of its old 2019 articles about then-presidential candidate Kamala Harris. The Washington Post’s edit tried to hide a comment from Harris which compared running a political campaign to being jailed.