During an interview with Fox Business, and in defense of Gina Haspel, McInerney said (regarding torture),” The fact is, it worked on John. That’s why they call him Songbird John.”
What has been called the “Songbird John” claim derived from a debunked 2008 smear campaign against McCain that appears to have been started by Ted Sampley. Sampley himself was an outspoken Vietnam War veteran known for going to aggressive lenths to get his point across. Back in 1993, he went to jail for assaulting one of John McCain’s aides. Mr. Sampley passed away in 2009.
Per Slate: McInerney’s previous highlight as an analyst was probably when he reported that secret information indicated the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 plane had been diverted to Pakistan for potential use as a “weapon of mass destruction.” (The information is “starting to become verified,” he told Sean Hannity at the time. “We’ve got a lot of sensors up there … I suspect we may, in the next 24 to 48 hours, start hearing from either the Malaysian government or the Pakistani government. If the Pakistani government doesn’t talk soon, they’re going to be complicit in this.” Responded Hannity: “I’d argue that they’re complicit now.” The plane did not land in Pakistan.)
A Fox spokeswoman has since emailed a clarification that Mr. McInerney hasn’t been a paid Fox News contributor since last August, when he drew scrutiny for suggesting that a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula wouldn’t necessarily be catastrophic since the people who would die in it would be “mostly North Koreans.”
Charles Payne, who was hosting the Fox Business segment in which the “Songbird John” stated later in the day:
“This morning on a show I was hosting, a guest made a very false and derogatory remark about Senator John McCain. At the time, I had the control room in my ear telling me to wrap the segment, and did not hear the comment. I regret I did not catch this remark, as it should have been challenged. As a proud military veteran and son of a Vietnam Vet these words neither reflect my or the network’s feelings about Senator McCain, or his remarkable service and sacrifice to this country.”