Facts Matter: In Trump Twitter post, Medal of Honor winner replaced by dog Conan

President Donald Trump retweeted a doctored photo last week showing him awarding a medal to Conan, the dog credited with assisting in the Oct. 27 raid in Syria that resulted in the death of terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to The New York Times.

Trump added "AMERICAN HERO!" to the top of the Twitter post.

The image, which includes a watermark from news site The Daily Wire, was taken from an Associated Press photo of the president placing a Medal of Honor around the neck of retired Army medic James C. McCloughan, who reportedly saved 10 men during the Vietnam War, The New York Times said. In the Daily Wire image, McCloughan is replaced by the dog and the Medal of Honor star is replaced with a dog's paw.

Although Trump shared an edited image, Fox News reported some members of the media were not "in on the joke."

"The mainstream media had a very serious reaction to President Trump's not-so-serious tweet," Fox News said.

The following day, the president took to Twitter to thank the Daily Wire.

"Very cute recreation," Trump wrote, "but the 'live' version of Conan will be leaving the Middle East for the White House sometime next week."

McCloughan told the Times he was not offended by the altered image and thought the Twitter post showed the president "recognizing the dog's heroism."

Obama didn't free al-Baghdadi

The death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi stirred up an old, false rumor that President Barack Obama had once freed the terrorist leader from prison, according to The Associated Press.

The fake claim, which has been around since 2014, recently resurfaced on Facebook and Twitter and said al-Baghdadi was detained at Guantanamo Bay prison and released during Obama's presidential term, the AP said.

But al-Baghdadi was never imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, the AP said. He was detained in 2004 at Camp Bucca prison in Iraq for anti-U. S. militant activities, a Pentagon spokesman told the AP. Obama served from 2009-2017. George W. Bush was president when al-Baghdadi was released.

Following a 10-month stint at Camp Buca prison, al-Baghdadi joined the al-Qaida branch in Iraq and rose to the top of the group following the deaths of senior leaders, the AP said.

Cosby not framed by Illuminati

This one has everything.

A conspiracy theory circulating on the internet over the past few years claims comedian Bill Cosby was framed with rape allegations by the Illuminati, a secret society of elites, in order to prevent Cosby from buying the TV network NBC, according to

A version of this story has been shared on Facebook more than 1,800 times, PolitiFact said.

The article cites a Hollywood insider who said Cosby was such a threat to the "establishment elite" that they had to create accusations against him to destroy his career. The women who accused him were paid to bring false allegations against the former actor, the article said.

Cosby did have a "short-lived" interest in buying NBC in the early 1990s but the deal fell apart in 1993, more than 20 years before he was convicted of rape, according to PolitiFact.

There is no evidence to support the Illuminati story and the writer's only source is merely described as a Hollywood insider, PolitiFact said. There are no facts to back up the claims.

In April 2018, Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison after being convicted of drugging and assaulting a women in 2004.

No riches from 'Gilligan's Island' reruns

Numerous websites over time have published versions of a story claiming actress Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann Summers in the 1960s sitcom "Gilligan's Island" was the only cast member to receive residuals from the show, according to

One article claims Wells' husband, talent agent Larry Rosen, took issue with the standard clause in her contract that only allowed the actress to receive residuals from the first five times the series was shown in reruns. Wells' contract was changed and she is the only cast member, along with producer Sherwood Schwartz, who receives payment from the show running in syndication, the article states.

But Wells disputed this myth in recent interviews.

In a 2014 interview, Wells said the cast never received any residuals and she made about $700 a week, Snopes said.

And Snopes reported that in a 2016 interview, Wells said, "A misconception is that we must be wealthy, rolling in the dough, because we got residuals. We didn't really get a dime."

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at

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