In his exclusive report on John McCain’s and Lindsey Graham’s press conference in Baghdad, Drudge asserted that CNN reporter Michael Ware “laugh[ed] and mock[ed] their comments.” Raw Story posted video of the press conference here, and left wing sites such as Media Matters imply we have been flogging a false story. I have added updates to our posts noting the questionable accuracy of the Drudge item based on the video and asked Drudge to address the issue.
Today Glenn Reynolds linked to this AFP story by one Jennie Matthew. The AFP story is outrageously editorial in nature, but it does contain this choice nugget (emphasis added):
On a trip blatantly directed at American voters, the senators were adamant that the new US crackdown was working and lashed out at Democrats for trying to force a US withdrawal and the media for not reporting the fuller picture.
“I’m not saying mission accomplished… it’s long and it’s hard. and it’s very, very difficult, very, very difficult task ahead of us,” said 70-year-old White House hopeful McCain, who was a prisoner in Hanoi during the Vietnam war.
Although the deployment of 80,000 Iraqi and US forces has seen a decline in sectarian execution-style killings, insurgents are increasingly taking their battle to other towns and cities.
“I studied warfare. I’m a student of history. If you control the capital city of a nation you have a significant advantage,” countered McCain as one reporter giggled at the back.
I don’t know if giggles equal laughter and mockery, or if Ware was the giggler. But it seems to me that the AFP story provides evidence that tends to support Drudge’s account. According to the Raw Story report and accompanying screen capture, Ware was sitting “in front of the camera,” i.e., “at the back.”
JOHN adds: The two Raw Story videos are not definitive. They do not cover the entire press conference, and without more information one can’t tell whether there are 30 seconds missing, or an hour. The portion of McCain’s comments referenced above is on one of the videos, and you can’t hear anyone giggling or otherwise carrying on. But the sound comes from the microphone at the podium, and Ware was at the back of the room, so that may or may not mean anything.
I’m skeptical that the unnamed official who was Drudge’s source made it all up, but on the whole, I agree with Paul’s post here. Ware has heckled McCain sufficiently on the air that we don’t have to lose a lot of sleep over whether he heckled him at the press conference.
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