Fact Check: Tom Vilsack Was NOT Hanged By Military At Guantanamo Bay On May 16, 2022

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: Tom Vilsack Was NOT Hanged By Military At Guantanamo Bay On May 16, 2022 Alive, Active

Was Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack hanged by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay on May 16, 2022? No, that's not true: The claim is the latest in a series of falsehoods about Vilsack published by Real Raw News, a website known for its self-proclaimed "humor, parody, and satire."

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) titled "Military Hangs Tom Vilsack" that was published by Real Raw News on May 22, 2022. The article opened:

Biden's former secretary of agriculture, Tom Vilsack, met his demise last Monday when the Office of Military Commissions hanged him to death for having committed treason against the United States of America.

This is how the article looked at the time of writing:

tom vilsack hanged RRN article.png

(Source: Real Raw News screenshot taken on Tue May 24 15:39:45 2022 UTC)

Lead Stories previously debunked claims that Vilsack was arrested by the military and that the military sentenced Vilsack to hang.

There's copious evidence that Vilsack was not only alive but also not incarcerated during the time Real Raw News said he was. Vilsack met with agriculture ministers from the Group of Seven leading industrial nations in Stuttgart, Germany, from May 13 to May 14, 2022. On May 16, 2022, the day of his alleged hanging, Vilsack met with European agricultural leaders in Warsaw, Poland, far from Guantanamo Bay detention camp on Cuba.

On May 22, 2022, the day the article was published on Real Raw News, Vilsack was recorded and photographed in Indianapolis for the arrival of the first shipment of Operation Fly Formula. The mission is bringing infant formula from Europe to the U.S., which is experiencing a formula shortage at the time of writing.

Real Raw News has a long history of publishing false claims in mock news stories, many of them about convictions and executions of various public figures at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. For example, the site reported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hanged (she wasn't); former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta was executed (he wasn't); and that "the military" convicted former Attorney General William Barr on charges of treason (it didn't).

The website for Real Raw News includes a disclaimer that warns readers not to take its content too seriously. Specifically, it says:

Information on this website is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes. This website contains humor, parody, and satire. We have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice on legal counsel.

Real Raw snip.jpg

(Source: RealRawNews.com screenshot taken Tue Aug 3 16:39:48 UTC 2021)

Lead Stories has covered claims published by Real Raw News in the past. Previous Lead Stories debunks of Real Raw News items is collected here.

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  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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