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Fox News DUMPS Jake Bequette title as "Former Army Ranger" status questioned

Apr 4, 2022

On April 2, 2022, Fox News stopped calling U.S. Senate candidate Jake Bequette a "Former Army Ranger." 

The news conglomerate corrected a June 29, 2021, headline that Bequette prominently features on the front page of his website.

The "Former Army Ranger" reference was removed from both the Fox News headline and article. 

The Real 75th Ranger Regiment

Last week, Texarkana News asked a group of soldiers from the 75th Ranger Regiment to view Jake Bequette's website and watch various interviews with the candidate.

Bequette said he attended the 61-day Ranger School, open to all members of the Army.

However, Jake Bequette never served in the elite 75th Ranger Regiment. He also never wore the famous Ranger tan beret.

On Jake Bequette's campaign website, the soldiers we spoke with were angered by the prominent placement on the front page and other places on the site of a Fox News story that labeled Bequette as a "Former Army Ranger." 

A retired 32-year-old?

Soldiers were even angrier about a photo Bequette had chosen to put on the website that labeled him a "RETIRED U.S. Army Ranger." 

Now 33, Bequette was 32-years old when this photo was chosen for the front page of his website. But, of course, there is no evidence the candidate ever retired from the U.S. Army after just a little over 3 years of service.

Army retirement is routinely obtained after 20 years of service.

It's not real

"The only thing 'Jake the Fake' has retired from is the truth," one person angrily replied. "Being a Ranger is our life... not just something you do for a few weeks and then use for personal and political gain."

Others had opinions as well.

"You cannot be a 'Former Army Ranger' if you never served as an Army Ranger," another person said. "And purposefully placing a photo with misinformation on your site saying you are a 'Retired U.S. Army Ranger?' Stop it - just stop it."

On Friday, Texarkana News was informed that a member (or members) of the public had directly contacted Fox News about the headline and story. Just one day later, both the story and headline had been corrected. (Saturday, April 2, 2022).

Who told Fox News that Bequette was a "Retired U.S. Army Ranger"?

It is clear Fox News believed Jake Bequette was a "Retired U.S. Army Ranger." Someone told them. But who?

Before Bequette announced his run for the U.S. Senate, the "retired" title was prominently mentioned during interviews in 2021.

  1. In April 2021, a Fox and Friends host introduced Jake Bequette as "Retired U.S. Army Ranger," and Jake Bequette did not correct the host.
  2. In June 2021, Judge Jeanine Pirro, guest-hosting on The Ingraham Angle, introduced Jake Bequette as "Retired U.S. Army Ranger." Bequette did not correct her, either. 
  3. Also, in June 2021, Brian Kilmeade of Fox News introduced Bequette as "Retired U.S. Army Ranger." Again, Jake Bequette did not correct him.

Bequette said he "retired" from the Army in a local TV interview

In a July 12, 2021, video interview, Jake Bequette describes himself as an Army retiree.

The interview was apparently conducted by Jay Bir for KARK, which is Little Rock's NBC affiliate. Only Jake Bequette is on screen, and the interviewer is talking offscreen and cannot be seen.

While answering a question, Bequette began with the declaration: "As a recently retired Army veteran..." 

In the interview on the KARK website, Jake Bequette called himself "retired Army" at the 2:50 minute mark.

Joe Cole, public affairs specialist at Fort Benning in Georgia, which houses the famous 75th Army Ranger Regiment, told Texarkana News that a person with Bequette's resume should not be called or calling themselves an "Army Ranger" or "Former Army Ranger." The full quote from Cole can be found at the bottom of this article.

Another allegation of misrepresentation

On July 26, 2021, Bequette faced an accusation of "stolen valor" from a Department of Defense source in an article on the conservative news website National File.

The article about Jake Bequette is titled: "Arkansas Senate Candidate Claimed He Joined Army In 2015, Actually Joined In 2017."

On his campaign website biography, Jake Bequette said he began Army service in 2015. However, Bequette did not enter the military until August 2017.

Before that, Jake Bequette attended law school at Georgetown in Washington, DC.

Texarkana News spoke with Georgetown's Office of the University Registrar in late March 2022. An official told us that a student's permission is required to release any information. 

Nevertheless, four sources have confirmed Bequette's time in DC. (See "Sources" below). 

During the campaign, Jake Bequette's time in Washington, DC, does not appear to have been publicly mentioned at all. This is likely because Jake Bequette is trying to run as an "outsider." 

And Georgetown Law School is widely believed to be filled with Washington, DC "insiders."


Editor's note: Below are the links before and after the headline and story change by Fox News.
1. Link to article updated by Fox News on April 2, 2022, which removed the title "Ranger": https://www.foxnews.com/media/gwen-berry-flag-protest-olympics-jake-bequette-biden
2. Link to the original article as it was from June 29, 2021, to April 1, 2022 - Screenshot was taken March 25, 2022: https://web.archive.org/web/20220325232108/https://www.foxnews.com/media/gwen-berry-flag-protest-olympics-jake-bequette-biden

Sources: The references below briefly mention Jake Bequette's time at Georgetown in Washington, DC. 
1. "Ex-Hog empties nest,"  Jimmy Carter, Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, February 4, 2017.
2. "Former Patriots DL Jake Bequette announces run for Senate in Arkansas," Nick O'Malley, MassLive, July 12, 2021.
3. "From Patriot to patriot" Jeff Howe, The Athletic, November 7, 2019.
4. "Former Patriots defender Jake Bequette is finding success and happiness in his new career," Brend Buchmasser, PatsPulpit, November 11, 2019.

UPDATE: We contacted Josef Cole, public affairs specialist at Fort Benning, on April 1, 2022, and spoke with him before this story was published. However, Cole got back to us after this article was originally published. We did not mention the names of any individual to Cole  - just qualifications. He said a person with a resume like Jake Bequette should not be called an Army Ranger or Former Army Ranger. The extended quote from the public affairs specialist can be found below. 

Quote from Josef Cole, Public Affairs Specialist Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning - home of the 75th Ranger Regiment and Ranger School: "It would be most correct to refer to them as "Ranger qualified" with regard to successful completion of Ranger training. When not discussing the individuals Ranger training, it would be best to identify them by rank and name, and add unit of assignment as applicable. It would not be accurate to refer to them as a "former Ranger" or "Ranger." 

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