RedState.com falsely claimed McCain "confirmed" on Hannity that he was heckled by CNN's Ware

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN & MURPHY HEBERT

RedState contributor "haystack" falsely claimed that Sen. John McCain had "confirmed [that] there was talking and laughing coming out of" Michael Ware's "mouth while he (McCain) was speaking" during a recent press conference in Baghdad. In fact, during McCain's appearance on The Sean Hannity Show, he stated that three other Republican members of Congress at the press conference said "there was laughter and chuckling going on." McCain did not mention "heck[ling]" or say that his colleagues attributed the purported behavior to Ware.

In an April 9 post on the weblog RedState.com, RedState contributor "haystack" falsely claimed that, "on Hannity," Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "confirmed [that] there was talking and laughing coming out of" CNN international correspondent Michael Ware's "mouth while he (McCain) was speaking" during a recent press conference in Baghdad. In fact, during McCain's April 9 appearance on ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, to which "haystack" was referring, McCain did not confirm host Sean Hannity's assertion that McCain "got heckled by the CNN reporter Michael Ware," nor did he claim to have heard any heckling. Instead, McCain stated that "according to [Sen.] Lindsey Graham [R-SC] and [Reps.] Rick Renzi [R-AZ] and Mike Pence [R-IN], who all saw it -- I was talking at the time -- there was laughter and chuckling going on." McCain did not say that his colleagues attributed the purported behavior to Ware.

As Media Matters for America has noted, on April 1, Internet gossip Matt Drudge posted an "exclusive" alert on his website, the Drudge Report, claiming that during a press conference in Baghdad, Ware "heckled" McCain and Graham. Drudge's only source for this "exclusive" was an anonymous "official at the press conference" who claimed that Ware was "laughing and mocking their comments," adding: "I've never witnessed such disrespect." Ware denied the heckling allegation on the April 2 edition of CNN's American Morning, saying: "I did not heckle the senator. Indeed, I didn't say a word, I didn't even ask a question." On April 2, the website The Raw Story posted video of the press conference, which it claimed "appeared to show a short press conference without any interruptions and with Ware himself asking no questions during the question and answer session." Nonetheless, as Media Matters noted, various conservative media figures and outlets highlighted Drudge's accusation.

On The Sean Hannity Show, Hannity questioned McCain about allegedly being "heckled by the CNN reporter Michael Ware." McCain replied:

McCAIN: Well, according to Lindsey Graham and Rick Renzi and Mike Pence, who all saw it -- I was talking at the time -- there was laughter and chuckling going on while we were talking, while I was talking. I mean, it's not believable. It's not believable. And there were other witnesses in the room, embassy people and others, who saw the same thing. I was astonished.

McCain added: "It's a serious issue. Should we be chuckling and laughing?" Hannity responded: "[T]his guy's supposed to be a journalist for, you know, for a credible news network. It's a disgrace, and why he wasn't fired, I don't know." McCain answered: "[M]y job is not to worry about people like that." At no point during the interview did McCain state that Ware had either laughed during the press conference or heckled him.

The RedState post concluded that "Ware's childish antics notwithstanding, a case can be made that the media should stop being taken so seriously, and that Ware is a poster child for the childishness they exhibit in telling us what they want us to hear, rather than what they actually saw."

The Hotline's Blogometer linked to the RedState posting, but did not highlight the posting's false claim that McCain "confirmed" that he was heckled by Ware at the Baghdad press conference.

From the April 9 broadcast of ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. What --

McCAIN: Sure.

HANNITY: What happened at this press conference? You were in Baghdad you were with Senator Graham.

McCAIN: Yeah. Yeah.

HANNITY: And you got heckled by the CNN reporter Michael Ware. What happened there?

McCAIN: Well, according to Lindsey Graham and Rick Renzi and Mike Pence, who all saw it -- I was talking at the time -- there was laughter and chuckling going on while we were talking, while I was talking. I mean, it's not believable. It's not believable. And there were other witnesses in the room, embassy people and others, who saw the same thing. I was astonished.

HANNITY: It really is shocking, in the fact that this --

McCAIN: It's a serious issue. Should we be chuckling and laughing?

HANNITY: Well, and not only that, this guy's supposed to be a journalist for, you know, for a credible news network. It's a disgrace, and why he wasn't fired, I don't know.

McCAIN: Well, you know, these things happen. And my job is not to worry about people like that. My job is to keep my eye on the ball, tell the American people what's at stake.

Network/Outlet
ABC Radio Networks, redstate.com
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
The Sean Hannity Show
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.