Public radio’s fake sniper

American Public Media’s Marketplace program recently ran a commentary by Leo Webb, supposedly an army sniper who was treated shabbily by the army and joined Occupy Oakland when he returned from Iraq. He also claimed formerly to have been a prospect in the Chicago Cubs organization.

It was all bogus, except perhaps the part about his participation in Occupy Oakland. Webb never served in the Army and he never played in the Chicago Cubs organization.

What’s especially sad about this isn’t that American Public Media failed to verify any of the claims this man made.  (“Too good to check”, as they say.) What’s sad is that it is immediately obvious to anyone who has ever been in the Army that this guy never was, from this line alone:

I killed all these people and watched half my squadron die.

“Squadron”? Seriously?

Also, Webb said he “blew their brains out”. Soldiers are trained to aim center mass; head shots are for movies and video games.

Not a single person in the editorial process at Marketplace had even a passing familiarity with the military. That’s what’s sad about this story.

POSTSCRIPT: The editor in charge of the piece responded to questions with this:

Mr. Webb has been subsequently placed in a VA live-in care facility specializing in PTSD so I’m unable to seek his response to your comment at this time.

Since Webb is not a veteran, this is clearly a lie.

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