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Fake News: Mattis Did NOT Say Trump Asked The Difference Between Navy SEALs And Seals

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Thu, 24 May 2018 21:13:53 Z)

Did defense secretary Mattis have to explain to President Donald Trump what the difference was between a seal and a Navy SEAL? No, that's not true: that was made up by a military satire website. It did not happen.

The story originated from an article published by Duffel Blog on May 24, 2018 titled "Mattis says Trump asked the difference between Navy SEALs and seals" (archived here) which opened:

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump asked his defense secretary to explain whether seals and Navy SEALs were the same thing during a recent national security briefing, sources confirmed today.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at one point had to mime a special operator raising a rifle while rising out of the water in contrast to a picture of a lovable marine mammal that lives in the ocean, officials said. The president's question about the differences between SEALs and seals came just days after he reportedly asked Microsoft founder Bill Gates whether HPV and HIV were the same.

Screenshot of https://www.duffelblog.com/2018/05/mattis-says-trump-asked-the-difference-between-navy-seals-and-seals/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Mattis says Trump asked the difference between Navy SEALs and seals

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at one point had to mime a special operator raising a rifle while rising out of the water.

The website Duffelblog.com is a military-themed satire website which sports following legal disclaimer on its 'about' page:


We are in no way, shape, or form, a real news outlet. Everything on this website is satirical and the content of this site is a parody of a news organization. No composition should be regarded as truthful, and no reference of an individual, company, or military unit seeks to inflict malice or emotional harm.

All characters, groups, and military units appearing in these works are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or actual military units and companies is purely coincidental.

They are sometimes refered to as the military version of The Onion but that same 'about' page points out:

Duffel Blog is sometimes referred to as "The military version of The Onion," but this is a misnomer. The gaffe was cleared up in May 2012 when Duffel Blog staff successfully conducted an airborne assault on the offices of The Onion News Network so that others would know "The Onion was actually the civilian version of Duffel Blog."

So don't fall for any of their stories...

We wrote about duffelblog.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk
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