(Fox News)

Fox News has egg on its face: Now will other hosts follow Neil Cavuto & apologize for "terror expert" fraudster?

Neil Cavuto says it was wrong to host the "former CIA agent" for 13 years. But will Bill O'Reilly follow suit?


Sophia Tesfaye
October 19, 2015 7:50PM (UTC)

After a veteran Fox News "terror analyst" was indicted on federal charges of fraud for lying about his 27 year career in the CIA last week, the Fox News anchor who hosted him most frequently apologized for failing to properly vet Wayne Simmons, seemingly inoculating his Fox News colleagues from any blame in the process.

“In the last 24 hours, it has come to our attention that a frequent guest on this show might not have been who he purported to be,” Neil Cavuto noted toward the ends of his program on Friday, according to CNN. On Thursday, Simmons was arrested for making false statements to the government and fraud. A Fox News spokesperson promptly denied that Simmons was ever a paid commentator for the network. 

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“If it’s true that all our due diligence and vetting on Mr. Simmons missed this, that’s big, and that’s on me. And only me,” Cavuto asserted.

“The responsibility to check out who comes on this show ultimately lies with me. After all, it’s my Italian name on it,” he explained. In addition to hosting "Your World" every weekday afternoon, Cavuto is also a senior vice president of the network.

"If I wasn't thorough enough or followed up enough, it's on me, and I apologize," he said. "You have a right to expect guests who appear here to be who they say they are. Now, it's a very rare slip up, but it's a very big slip up, and I will make doubly sure something like this never ever happens again. I value your trust and I promise, I promise, to work very hard to regain it."

But, as The Daily Banter's Tommy Christopher notes, it is odd that Cavuto insists on being the only Fox News personality held accountable for hosting a con artist for 13 years, as he is hardly the only Fox News host who bears responsibility for presenting Simmons as a credible terrorism expert over the years:

On Bill O'Reilly's show, Simmons was hosted to fearmonger that if Democrats control Congress “we will have 9/11s unabated.” Judge Andrew Napolitano hosted Simmons to slam Wikileaks as an anti-American "terrorist organization." Brian Kilmeade invited Simmons on air to argue that there was a “very high probability” that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had hidden weapons of mass destruction in Syria.

Will any of these Fox News personalities now be bold enough to take personal responsibility for hosting a known liar or is Cavuto right in claiming the buck stops with him? I'm obviously not holding my breath on this one but Cavuto's apology does raise the question.

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Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

MORE FROM Sophia TesfayeFOLLOW @SophiaTesfaye


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