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Blogs accuse CNN reporter of disrupting McCain press conference again
Michael Roston
Published: Wednesday April 4, 2007
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A group of conservative political weblogs offered new evidence in continuation of their allegation that CNN reporter Michael Ware disrupted a Sunday press conference in Baghdad with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and other Congress members. However, RAW STORY learned from the writer who reported the article that was the basis for their claims that she observed "no disruption of the press conference."

On Tuesday, a group of blogs pointed to a Sunday, April 1 story from Agence France-Presse reporter Jennie Matthew as evidence that a reporter in the back of the press conference had "giggled" while the Arizona Republican spoke.

She told RAW STORY in an e-mail that Michael Ware was not the culprit.

"As far as I'm aware there was no disruption of the press conference at all," wrote Matthew from Baghdad. "The reporter who giggled at the back was not Michael Ware, whom I don't remember giggling or making any kind of disturbance. I think I remember him wanting to ask a question, but the congressmen ended the news conference."

On Monday, RAW STORY posted unedited videos from CNN of the Sunday press conference. News aggregator Matt Drudge had alleged that Ware, the Baghdad correspondent who has criticized Sen. McCain for exaggerating the Iraqi capital's safety, had "heckled" the senator. The videos appeared to confirm Ware's assertion that the press conference had ended without incident and before he could ask a question.

RAW STORY contacted AFP reporter Matthew to check up on claims by several prominent conservative political blogs that her article proved Ware had interrupted the Sunday press conference.

"'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," she wrote.

The blogs in question seized on the article as proof that Drudge's unsourced account had been right.

"It seems to me that the AFP story provides evidence that tends to support Drudge's account," wrote Power Line's Scott Johnson.

"The back of the room is where the AFP reported the giggling reporter was seated," added Mark Kilmer at RedState. "If he laughed or scoffed, he lied to us and to his employer."

"Everybody on the right has been apologizing for believing Drudge and saying that the video linked above exonerates Ware. I've been saying that the video is inconclusive at best, and that heckling behavior wouldn't be at all out of character for Ware," wrote Robert Heinlein who blogs at Say Anything. "Looks like I'm probably right."

Update: In a post this morning, Power Line's Johnson acknowledged RAW STORY's new report, and reiterated his call on Drudge to "explain or apologize" his "exclusive" report on Ware's heckling.