Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran’s campaign was raging after the Atlantic’s Molly Ball published a story Tuesday that included an anecdote about the Republican senator having a memory lapse. Ball claimed Cochran failed to recognise her at an event less than 30 minutes after she interviewed him. However, in a phone call to Business Insider Wednesday, Cochran’s communications director Jordan Russell, said Ball “should be embarrassed” about the story.
“Molly Ball’s article is the most unprofessional, ridiculous, hit piece thing I have ever seen,” Russell said, “There were hundreds of people standing there. He did dozens of interviews…with people like MSNBC. I have no idea how he would have remembered who she was.”
Ball offered her own account of the incident to Business Insider after being informed of Russell’s issues with her story.
“There were less than 100 audience members at the event in Meridian. After leaving the stage, Senator Cochran shook a few hands, then did three interviews — one with a local television station, one with me, and one with Jon Ward of the Huffington Post,” Ball said. “He then proceeded directly to the diner where he greeted me. It sounds like the Cochran campaign does not dispute the facts of our encounter as I narrated them.”
Russell claimed he was “standing right there” during the event that Bell mentions in her article.
“Molly Ball, whoever that is … is a journalist trying to make a name for herself. She should be embarrassed.”
In her email to Business Insider, Ball also addressed Russell’s “attacks on my professionalism and motivations.”
“They’re entitled to believe whatever they want to. I will let my work speak for itself,” she said.
Update (5:09 p.m.): Russell emailed Business Insider after this story was first published to clarify his initial comments.
“I didn’t mean he did dozens of interviews that day…dozens over the course of a couple weeks,” Russell wrote. “Molly was standing in a press gaggle with dozens of other people around and multiple reporters.”
Additional reporting by Hunter Walker.
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