The Washington Post

McCain bashes CNN reporter on Benghazi

Sen. John McCain has been leading a congressional charge to hold the Obama administration accountable for providing information about Benghazi, a mission that included holding a news conference yesterday shredding the White House. Funny: He also was absent from a Capitol Hill briefing on Benghazi at which he could well have gotten some information on the tragedy.

That slight inconsistency set up a clash between CNN and McCain, as showcased in the video above and in this piece:

When CNN approached McCain in a Capitol hallway Thursday morning, the senator refused to comment about why he missed the briefing, which was conducted by top diplomatic, military and counter-terrorism officials. Instead, McCain got testy when pressed to say why he wasn’t there.

“I have no comment about my schedule and I’m not going to comment on how I spend my time to the media,” McCain said.

Asked why he wouldn’t comment, McCain grew agitated: “Because I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?”

The CNN staffer who participated in that confrontation was Ted Barrett, the network’s senior congressional producer. In the little set-to, McCain scolds Barrett for “badgering,” suggesting that the CNN producer wasn’t being properly respectful. CNN’s Dana Bash defended her colleague on CNN’s air: “He is respectful.”

Regarding McCain’s absence from the Benghazi briefing, a rep told news outlets that the senator had a “scheduling error.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.

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