Fox teams with Rep. Issa to push bogus Sestak "crime" claim: Nine appearances since May 25

Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

As Media Matters has documented, Fox News has been the leader in trumpeting the discredited charge that the White House illegally "bribed" Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) with a job in exchange for staying out of the Pennsylvania Senate race. So it's unsurprising that the loudest voice pushing the charge in Congress, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), has found a friendly and frequent platform on the conservative channel.

Since May 25, Issa -- who Megyn Kelly described as "one of the loudest White House critics on" the Sestak story -- has made nine guest appearances on seven different Fox News programs:

  • Happening Now: May 25
  • Fox & Friends: May 26
  • Hannity: May 26; June 1
  • Your World: May 27
  • America Live: May 28; June 3
  • On the Record: May 28
  • Fox News Sunday: May 30 (opposite Gov. Ed Rendell [D-PA])

Sean Hannity hosted Issa twice, telling him on June 1: "Congressman, you've been all over this more than anybody ... Stay on the case."

Issa, in turn, has used discredited Fox News "political analyst" Dick Morris as support for his charges. Issa cited Morris on May 25's Happening Now:

ISSA: Well, you know, Nixon said, if the president orders it, it's legal. That didn't hold up. It's very clear it's not for the White House to decide what's inappropriate. An allegation has been made that multiple sources in both parties, Anthony Weiner, Dick Morris, and other Democrats have made it very clear, even Axelrod, that they should answer, that in fact this is serious, this is an impeachable offense, according to Dick Morris. And I think that brings back the whole Nixonian question of, it's not about what was done wrong, it's about the cover up. And right now there's a cover up going on at the White House, ten weeks after the allegation.

JON SCOTT (co-host): So, where does it go from here? I mean, if the attorney general has already turned you down, but said, there could be an investigation still, who would conduct that investigation?

ISSA: Well, it's very clear that every U.S. attorney has the ability to look into this. Every U.S. attorney could, in fact, begin the process of suspecting that there's a crime based on this allegation. Do I expect it to happen? No, not right now. But, it's also very clear that it's a long ways until November. For Joe Sestak, he can dance around it and he may or may not be a senator, but for the White House this problem is not going away. Admiral Sestak, is in fact, a very very reliable source. He has repeated the allegation and even though he's not willing to give more information unless there's a formal investigation, it's very clear the allegation is one that everyone from Arlen Specter to Dick Morris has said, is in fact, a crime and could be impeachable.

Issa mentioned Morris following day on Fox & Friends. After Gretchen Carlson asked whether the allegations, if true, amounted to "an impeachable offense," Issa replied, "I think it was Dick Morris who said that, and you know, you can only impeach the president. You can't impeach his staff. So the real question is: Was this a staff decision? Did Rahm Emanuel do this on his own? Until we know who made the offer, we really don't know."

UPDATE: Political Correction, a project of Media Matters Action Network, has more on Issa's background and phony charges made in the media.

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