AP forced to correct false report on Graham call with McCain

The Associated Press issued a correction after falsely reporting that Sen. Lindsey Graham was caught talking to a fellow senator on his cellphone about his health care bill, when he was actually being interviewed for the “Hannity” show.

AP reporter Calvin Woodward assumed Graham, R-S.C., was urging a colleague to vote for the bill despite “all its imperfections” when he was actually on live radio.

The original report did not offer any concrete evidence that Graham was talking to a fellow politician, and Woodward seemingly presumed the worst when he heard the senator say things including, “We’re going to vote” and “Everybody will be held accountable,” while speaking in a crowded airport.

“Graham made his comments in a cellphone call in front of a passenger at Reagan National Airport before he boarded a flight. A reference to working ‘for Arizona’ suggests Graham was talking to his good friend Sen. John McCain. Graham’s office did not dispute the quotes, nor confirm who was on the call,” the original AP story noted.

“This story has been corrected to reflect that Graham was speaking in an interview, not with a fellow senator,” is now noted at the bottom of the corrected version of the story.

President Trump recently expressed his approval of the Graham-Cassidy Bill – put forth by Graham and Bill Cassidy, La. – in multiple tweets this week, going so far as to publicly criticize Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, the only Republican senator who already opposes the bill.

The legislation is largely seen as a last-ditch effort by the Republicans to make good on their years-long promise to replace ObamaCare, and Graham was simply explaining the situation to Sean Hannity, host of Fox News Channel’s “Hannity,” when the AP reporter assumed he was discussing the vote while surrounded by strangers in a crowded airport.

Kevin Bishop, Graham’s communications director, told The Daily Caller that it would have been easy to “figure out who he was speaking with” if the reporter listened to the entire conversation.

Senate Republicans have until Sept. 30 to advance the bill using a special procedure to avoid a filibuster.

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News.

Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.