On the October 26 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that “every one” of the political advertisements actor Michael J. Fox has appeared in “is run for the benefit of a Democrat.” In fact, Fox, who has Parkinson's disease and has campaigned for candidates who support embryonic stem cell research, appeared in a campaign ad for Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (PA) in 2004, as Media Matters for America has noted. Additionally, as purported evidence that Fox supports only Democrats, Limbaugh alleged that Fox has done so "[e]ven in Maryland, where the Democrat [sic] beneficiary of the Michael J. Fox ad voted against exactly what Michael J. Fox is advocating for in the ad. That would be [Rep.] Benjamin Cardin." However, as Media Matters noted when Fox News host Sean Hannity made a similar baseless claim, Cardin voted in favor of H.R. 810, the embryonic stem cell research bill that Fox endorsed, and voted to override President Bush's veto of the bill. Cardin did vote against an alternative bill that the two lead sponsors of H.R. 810 claimed would impede embryonic stem cell research.
From the October 26 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: They pretend that these campaign ads are -- and that what -- these are Democrat campaign ads, folks. This is the next thing that I want to make a point about. They pretend that these campaign ads are untouchable news stories, that Michael J. Fox is a nonpartisan advocate suffering the horrors of a -- and the ravages of a horrible disease and as such he is nonpartisan -- he has no political stake here. But, yet, every one of his ads is run for the benefit of a Democrat. Even in Maryland, where the Democrat beneficiary of the Michael J. Fox ad voted against exactly what Michael J. Fox advocates in the ad. That would be Benjamin Cardin.
Let me tell you a something about how these political campaign ads get put together. They don't just happen. [Missouri Democratic Senate candidate] Claire McCaskill is out there saying the phone rang one day and it was Michael J. Fox; “Hey, I would like to come in and help you.” She would love for us to believe that. But the way these political campaign ads are put together, they don't just happen. These aren't ads by some nonprofit health-related organization, these are ads paid for by Democrat campaigns. This ad is not paid for by a Parkinson's disease foundation, for example. These ads are scripted and written by Democrat campaigns.