Fox News spreads crackpot ‘mistaken identity’ theory about Kavanaugh accusation

"They look a lot alike!"


During Friday morning’s edition of Fox & Friends, hosts spread a completely irresponsible theory about Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — that someone else might have perpetrated it and Ford is confused and mistaken about her attacker’s identity.

“A fellow by the name of Ed Whelan, who had been one of the clerks for Antonin Scalia and a supporter of Judge Kavanaugh, he looked at what Christine Ford told the Washington Post and figured out, ‘okay, these people were named, these four people — where did they live?'” Steve Doocy said. “And looked at what she had said, and figured out what house [the assault] may have happened at — because it was the house closest to the golf course — and then realized whose house it was, and looked at a picture of the young man who lived there at the time, who was a classmate of Mr. Kavanaugh’s — put up side-by-side images — they look a lot alike!”

“Is it a case of mistaken identity?” host Ed Henry chimed in, before getting around to the most important detail: “Now Dr. Ford put out a statement last night insisting she knows the difference between Judge Kavanaugh and this other person and there’s no chance, so we’ll see.”

Whelan is currently the president of a think tank ironically called the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He detailed his theory in a Twitter thread.


Before Friday’s Fox & Friends was even off the air, Whelan deleted the thread and apologized for spreading a crackpot allegation that named a private citizen, at the time a classmate of Kavanaugh’s, and accused him of sexual assault. The thread included photos of that person and his childhood home.

While Whelan went to the extent of naming a specific person as the “real” perpetrator, other Kavanaugh supporters have proposed the theory that someone else may have been responsible for Ford’s sexual assault.

On CNN on Thursday, former Ted Cruz staffer Amanda Carpenter said that while she believes “something” happened to Ford, there’s no “definitive” evidence Kavanaugh was the perpetrator.

Similarly, following a phone call with Kavanaugh earlier in the week, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said he thinks Ford might be “mistaking something.”

Shortly after Whelan posted his thread on Thursday, Ford released a statement categorically knocking down his theory.

As the Washington Post details:

Ford dismissed Whelan’s theory in a statement late Thursday: “I knew them both, and socialized with” the other classmate, Ford said, adding that she had once visited him in the hospital. “There is zero chance that I would confuse them.”

The Post adds that ahead of a hearing that may feature both Ford and Kavanaugh on Monday, “Kavanaugh and his allies have been privately discussing a defense that would not question whether an incident involving Ford happened, but instead would raise doubts that the attacker was Kavanaugh, according to a person familiar with the discussions.” This reporting leaves open the possibility that Kavanaugh himself had a hand in concocting the theory.


Fox & Friends hosts mentioned Whalen’s apology and retraction at the end of the show, though they themselves did not apologize for spreading his bogus theory.