Today on Fox News, Neil Cavuto irresponsibly pushed the baseless rumor that President Obama bought Rep. Jim Matheson’s (D-UT) vote on health care reform by offering his brother a federal judgeship. First, Cavuto invited the originator of the conspiracy theory, Weekly Standard’s John McCormack. For his part, McCormack undermined his own argument. “Was there an explicit quid pro quo? Probably not,” he said. Next, Cavuto invited Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who reiterated her call for an investigation into the matter. But Bachmann, too, acknowledged the lack of any basis for the claim. “We don’t know — that’s the question,” she said. Finally, Jeri Thomspon — Fred Thompson’s wife — brazenly told Cavuto she “felt sorry” for Scott Matheson, a victim of this right-wing smear, because “he’s going to have this stigma” for his entire judicial career. Watch a compilation:
Rep. Matheson issued a statement to Fox, stating, “The Weekly Standard’s piece is rubbish.” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today that the right-wing allegation is “very silly.” Still, in a sign of its eminent “fairness,” Fox News is willing to “balance” the truth with a heavy dose of gossip.
Republican Sen. Robert Bennett also disputed the right-wing allegation:
“Sen. Bennett has heard of all kinds of pressure being applied and offers being made to Democrats for votes on health care, but Scott Matheson’s nomination is not one of those because it has been in the works for a long time,” spokeswoman Tara DiJulio said.