Fox News' Neil Cavuto remarked that Democratic senators drove Martha-Ann Alito -- the wife of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito -- to tears during Alito's nomination hearing. Cavuto further proclaimed that the Democrats were "villains" for "literally driving [Alito's] wife to tears ... after repeatedly trying to paint Alito as a bigot." During these segments, onscreen text called Democrats "vicious" and "clueless."
At various points during the January 12 edition of his Fox News business news program, Neil Cavuto remarked that Democratic senators drove the wife of Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., Martha-Ann Alito (who is also referred to as Martha-Ann Bomgardner in press reports), to tears during Alito's nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Cavuto, who devoted two segments to Martha-Ann Alito's display of emotion, expanded upon this already problematic assertion by claiming that the Democrats were "villains" for "literally driving [Alito's] wife to tears ... after repeatedly trying to paint Alito as a bigot." During these segments, onscreen text called Democrats "vicious" and "clueless." Cavuto even went so far as to compare the Judiciary Committee Democrats to Dr. Octopus, the villain from the film Spider-Man 2 (Sony Pictures, 2004).
Cavuto's program, Your World with Neil Cavuto, is promoted by Fox News as "the No.1 business news show on cable." Cavuto concludes each program with a "Common Sense" segment, in which he offers commentary and opinions. As a professional journalist and an anchor of a cable news show, Cavuto would be expected to confine his opinions to the "Common Sense" segments of the program. However, his characterization of Democrats as "villains" during the January 12 edition of Your World occurred prior to the "Common Sense" segment, during ostensibly "hard news" segments.
As Media Matters for America documented, Cavuto was one of many media figures who suggested that Martha-Ann Alito's emotional display indicated that Democrats "went too far" in their questioning of Judge Alito. At one point during the January 12 edition of Your World, the onscreen text asked: "Will vicious Dems pay for driving Alito's wife to tears?" Cavuto opened the January 12 program by asking: "Did Democrats do more harm to themselves than to Samuel Alito during the hearings for the Supreme Court nominee? The likes of [Sen.] Ted Kennedy [D-MA] and company literally driving his wife to tears just yesterday after repeatedly trying to paint Alito as a bigot."
Later in the program, Cavuto introduced an upcoming segment by saying: "The Democrats say that they are the good guys, but after driving Samuel Alito's wife to tears yesterday, are they -- do they have more in common with these guys?" Cavuto then aired footage from Spider-Man 2 featuring Dr. Octopus, and asked: "Can the Democrats lose that villain label?" Introducing the ensuing segment, Cavuto aired more footage from the film, saying:
CAVUTO: Well, you know, it's a typical Hollywood plot, the villain versus the hero. But, yesterday, the plot moved east, maybe to Washington, D.C. The wife of Supreme Court nominee, as you heard once or twice, Samuel Alito, crying and walking out of the hearings, after some pretty tough attacks on her husband's character. So, have the Democrats now become the villains?
Cavuto then interviewed television writer/producer George Schlatter while onscreen text read: "Dems making Alito's wife cry: Are they that clueless?"
At one point during the interview, Cavuto asked Schlatter if the Democrats, in focusing too much on "issues and all of that," have lost sight of "just plain emotion."
From the January 12 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
CAVUTO: You're -- you are a very good producer, George. And I'm -- here's where you can offer advice to your Democrats. Do you think that they're so focused on the issues and all of that, that they lose sight of these things like emotion -- just plain emotion?