Today on his radio show, Fox News’ Glenn Beck joined the right-wing smear being peddled by the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) that President Obama used a judicial appointment to “buy off” a House vote on health care reform.
In a blog post yesterday, McCormack accused Obama of nominating Scott Matheson, Jr — a former Utah Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate — to the United States Court of Appeals in order to pressure the vote of his brother, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), a Blue Dog Democrat. Beck jumped on the baseless rumor:
CO-HOST: He’s hosting ten House Democrats who voted against the health care bill in November, and he’s obviously trying to get them to switch their votes to yes. And one of those is Jim Matheson from Utah. Who’s brother–
BECK: Can I tell you something. How many times does someone from Utah need to be the linchpin that almost destroys the Republic? Smoot-Hawley. Utah … Now we have Jim Matheson. The White House has just sent out a press release announcing that President Obama has nominated his brother to Untied States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Well, that’s fantastic! … Well, what a coincidence!
CO-HOST: Just as I’m trying to get his brother to vote for health care, it’s just an amazing, unrelated coincidence.
BECK: Now, I’m sure Jim will tell you, ‘no no no,’ they’re completely — ludicrous. That’s so crazy and so far-fetched.
On Fox News’ Special Report last night, Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes tried to promote his publication’s rumor mongering. But not even his friend and colleague Charles Krauthammer was buying it:
BARNES: This was Obama’s 35th speech on health care. The more he gives the less popular it become. And I don’t think this one helped him at all. He’s seen 10 of the no votes from the last time at the White House tonight, one of whose brother Jim Matheson, his brother just got an appeals court judgeship out in the tenth circuit just named for that. But I’m not buying anything, just an interesting factoid today I thought I would throw in there.
KRAUTHAMMER: It’s a coincidence.
BARNES: I think the timing is very, very interesting.
Other right-wing media figures have promoted the rumor. Hot Air’s Allah Pundit said it “shows you how desperate The One is to win votes in the House.” Red State chimed in, writing, “[Obama] resorts to what he knows; strong arm tactics and outright bribery.” Michele Malkin added, “This one looks like a quid pro quo, smells like a quid pro quo, and quacks like a quid pro quo.”
Clearly, facts aren’t needed when the right wing has found a conspiracy it desperately wants to believe.
Later in the show, Beck brought on Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). Asked about the supposed scandal, DeMint laughed, saying sarcastically, “I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.” “I mean it’s shameless. They really do think we’re stupid,” he added.