During a live press conference in Bagdad, Senators McCain and Graham were heckled by CNN reporter Michael Ware. An official at the press conference called Ware’s conduct “outrageous,” saying, “here you have two United States Senators in Bagdad giving first-hand reports while Ware is laughing and mocking their comments. I’ve never witnessed such disrespect. This guy is an activist not a reporter.”
Senators McCain and Graham flew into Iraq and drove into Bagdad, making stops at an open market and a joint Iraq/American military security outpost before appearing at the press conference.
This is not the first time Michael Ware has taken issue with Senator McCain’s comments about early progress in Iraq. Last week, after Senator McCain told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he needed to catch up on the news coming out of Iraq, Michael Ware responded, saying:
“I don’t know what part of Neverland Senator McCain is talking about when he says we can go strolling in Baghdad.”
Michael Ware has also publicly expressed his views on the war last year in an interview with Bill Maher, saying, “I’ve been given a front-row ticket to watch this slow-motion train wreck … I try to stay as drunk for as long as possible while I’m here … In fact, I’m drinking now.”
Heckling at a press conference is very rude, and wouldn’t be acceptable even from an opinion journalist (I wouldn’t dream of laughing in Nancy Pelosi’s face during a press conference). That said, isn’t it better when guys like Ware let their biases hang out, rather than embedding them in reports that are ostensibly objective? I think the custom that prevails at British newspapers, where reporters are unafraid to reveal their opinions, is generally healthier than the inherrently dishonest objective-reporting model. In that sense, I hope Ware starts a trend.
UPDATE: Drudge’s report is apparently erroneous.