At a town hall meeting last week, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) implored his conservative constituents not to “be biased by Fox News,” and he attacked the right-wing myth that Americans will be put in jail if they do not purchase health insurance. Many on the right immediately lashed out at Coburn, with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly complaining that Coburn was effectively using Fox News as a “whipping boy.”
Yesterday, Coburn appeared on Fox News, where host Neil Cavuto whined about Coburn singling out his network for criticism. As Cavuto took the senator to task for criticizing Fox, Coburn started to walk back his comments, saying that “maybe he didn’t treat [Fox] exactly fairly,” and finally saying telling Cavuto, “I’m so glad you’re there…I’m glad Fox is there”:
COBURN: I got on some of my friends at Fox News, and maybe I didn’t treat you exactly fairly, but I did mention that you need to listen to both and need decide for yourself. [...]
CAVUTO: Did you realize…that by mentioning Fox in the way you did, and I don’t think that was your intention — you’re an upright loyal guy in looking after the future of our country — that you knew the media in general obsessed with this network would feed on that.
COBURN: Well, I am so, I’m so glad you’re there. But again I’d come back, if we’re going to win the fight for limited government, more freedom, greater opportunity for kids, we have to win it based on facts and our principles, not on emotion. And the fact is that when we overstate the case, that’s not connected with reality, we hurt our credibility. I’m glad Fox is there because they do lend the voice that we haven’t had for so long counter to what the rest of the media has out there.
Coburn told Cavuto that his followers of “very conservative people” are “Fox News junkies.”