Why won't Major Garrett tell viewers that Republican Sen. Bennett refuted the Matheson smear?

Blog ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

Since last night, Major Garrett's Fox News colleagues have been pushing the completely baseless allegation that President Obama nominated Scott Matheson for the court of appeals in order to buy the vote of Matheson's brother, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), on health care reform.

Tonight on Special Report, Garrett portrayed the issue as a he-said/she-said controversy rather than the evidence-free smear that it is. Garrett said: "A senior administration official tells Fox, Matheson -- the circuit court, the appellate court nominee -- has been vetted for many months and calls Republican charges of an effort to switch Matheson the lawmaker's vote on health care, quote, 'stupid.' "

What Garrett didn't bother to tell his viewers, however, is that the White House isn't the only source rejecting the "Republican charges." According to Politico, a spokesperson for Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah said the exact same thing:

The [White House] official said that Scott Matheson was nominated with Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch's support. Indeed, Hatch put out a statement hailing Obama's selection of the Utahan calling Matheson "a bright attorney whose experience has prepared him for judicial service."

And fellow Republican Utah Sen. Bob Bennett also rejected the notion that Obama was using Scott Matheson's nomination as leverage.

"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.

And with that, it appears Utah's two Republican senators cut the legs out from under the shady-deal meme Republicans like Bachmann were hoping to build.

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