ABC News reporter Mariam Khan issued a clarification and deleted a tweet Thursday that falsely suggested Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse had downplayed accusations that fellow Democrat Al Franken groped and kissed a woman without her consent.
Khan stated in her initial tweet: “.@SenWhitehouse tell reporters: “You guys need to find something more interesting” when asked about Franken allegations.”
After the tweet went viral, she tweeted again: “”I must clarify. It appears @SenWhitehouse made this comment in passing *before* he was directly asked about the Franken allegations.”
Several people who had retweeted the initial tweet deleted it and apologized. Khan has not apologized. A spokesperson for ABC declined to comment.
Whitehouse quickly retweeted Khan’s clarification, adding that it was “an important clarification” and that he takes “sexual assault allegations very seriously.”
Those who called out Khan included “Pod Save the World” host Tommy Vietor, a former speechwriter in the Obama Administration. He apologized to Whitehouse for believing Khan’s initial tweet, saying it was based on “horribly misleading reporting.”
He said of the Khan’s follow-up tweet: “This isn’t a clarification. It’s terrible reporting that should be corrected. Again I apologize to Sen Whitehouse for my response.”
Franken has apologized to radio host Leeann Tweeden, who said he forcibly kissed her during a USO tour in 2006 and grabbed her breasts while she was asleep on the flight home. She also shared a photo of the groping.
I must clarify: it appears @SenWhitehouse made this comment in passing *before* he was directly asked about the Franken allegations.
— Mariam Khan (@MKhan47) November 16, 2017
This is an important clarification. I take sexual assault allegations very seriously. https://t.co/vbVXzhhPRO
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) November 16, 2017
This isn’t a clarification. It’s terrible reporting that should be corrected. Again i apologize to Sen Whitehouse for my response. https://t.co/k9cPiKJl5g
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) November 16, 2017
gah stand down on the Whitehouse outrage https://t.co/dS46dUvRNw
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) November 16, 2017
Deleting this too b/c of the reporter's retraction on her Whitehouse quote pic.twitter.com/6heTdFZaam
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) November 16, 2017
I retweeted a quote from Sen Whitehouse; I’ve now deleted that tweet because the reporter who posted it says she got the context wrong: https://t.co/W9BkrjZ01V
— Robinson Meyer (@yayitsrob) November 16, 2017
The bogus Sheldon Whitehouse quote about Franken is being read to Roy Moore speakers before press conference. Why reporters need to be careful.
— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) November 16, 2017
Probably should apologize to Whitehouse https://t.co/EMiGS56kOb
— Sam Stein (@samstein) November 16, 2017
— jared's email acct (@eliot_woodrich) November 16, 2017
– Bryn Behrenshausen | VOTE FOR DOUG JONES (@brynbehr) November 16, 2017
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