False Politico Smear Report Sparks Outrage

Politico White House senior reporter made false assertions about Sen. McCain's foreign policy
John McCain / AP

John McCain / AP

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Politico’s senior White House reporter came under fire on Thursday after he falsely asserted in a report that Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) had called for the invasions of North Korea and Iran.

Politico reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere is being charged with “intellectual dishonesty” by McCain’s camp after he claimed in an article that McCain supported the invasion of the two countries, a position that he does not hold.

Politico was forced to correct the report after a McCain spokesperson explained the facts in a scathing rebuke.

Dovere originally wrote: “McCain has a dependable view: With his call to send special forces in to Nigeria to rescue the kidnapped girls from Boko Haram, he’s up to at least seven different conflicts since Obama was elected where he’s called for American military or military assistance to be dispatched around the globe. That counts the military assistance McCain’s called for to be sent to the Ukrainian and Malian armies and the rebels in Syria, the invasions of North Korea and Iran and the bigger force he would have sent into Libya.”

However, McCain has never called for “the invasions of North Korea and Iran.”

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers slammed Devore and Politico for failing to perform a basic fact check before publishing false claims.

“It is disturbing to witness a respected media outlet like Politico completely misrepresent Sen. McCain’s positions as it did in an article today,” Rogers said in a statement. “The article, which is entirely based upon an anonymous attack against Sen. McCain by ‘an administration official,’ asserts that Sen. McCain has called for ‘the invasions of North Korea and Iran’—neither of which are true.”

“Further, it is unfortunate that Politico reports uncritically the administration official’s conflation of Sen. McCain’s support of military assistance programs for countries such as Ukraine, Syria, and Mali that are struggling against aggression by our adversaries, with direct U.S. military involvement and fighting wars without end,” Rogers said. “As is clear to any objective observer of the record, Sen. McCain hasn’t supported invasions of any of these countries. Suggesting otherwise is the height of intellectual dishonesty, much like we heard from President Obama yesterday at West Point, in a speech full of attacks on proverbial straw men.”

“Our country needs an honest debate about America’s role in this dangerous world, not outright untruths and distortions of positions held by those who disagree with the administration,” Rogers added.

Politico appended a correction to the article late Thursday:

CORRECTION: A correction on an earlier version of this article misstated some of the military involvement Sen. John McCain has proposed. He has argued for shooting down North Korean missiles, and being ready to bomb Iran.

The paragraph in question now reads:

McCain has a dependable view: With his call to send special forces in to Nigeria to rescue the kidnapped girls from Boko Haram, he’s up to at least seven different conflicts since Obama was elected where he’s called for American military or military assistance to be dispatched around the globe. That counts the military assistance McCain’s called for to be sent to the Ukrainian and Malian armies and the rebels in Syria, being ready to pull the trigger on Iran, the shooting down of North Korean missiles and the more sustained force he would have sent into Libya.

Devore did not respond to a Washington Free Beacon request for comment about his false claims.