When former FEMA director Michael Brown insinuated on "Your World" that the Obama administration had deliberately caused the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to justify abandoning offshore drilling plans, host Neil Cavuto did not rebuke Brown's ludicrous claim. He also did not condone it. But the Fox News host's silence irked White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, who chastised Cavuto at his daily briefing.
Gibbs's angry response came when Fox correspondent Wendell Goler asked him to comment on stories playing up the idea that the oil spill is "Obama's Katrina." He said of the Brown interview:
Mr. Brown intimated on Fox--and it wasn't, I will editorially say, appear to be pushed back on real hard-- that this spill was leaked on purpose for us to walk back our environmental and drilling decisions. [...] I've got to tell you ... I'm not entirely sure a factual answer that I might give to any one of your questions is going to change the notion that your network put out the former FEMA director to make an accusation that the well had been purposefully been set off in order to change an offshore drilling direction.
Cavuto quickly struck back. After witheringly analyzing the entirety of Gibbs's press conference, Cavuto said his contentions were "laughable" before offering Fox's side of the story.
Here's what is not [laughable]: dismissing what Mr. Brown did say, about a president who might have botched a lot since that Gulf spill. Just as Mr. Brown argued the last president, his boss, did in the immediate aftermath of that Gulf hurricane.
Mr. Brown says he has become an expert -- an expert on botched responses. So that is why I had him on. Robert Gibbs seems to have done the same for botched White House pressers. That is why I invite him on. So whenever you want, Robert, come on. We'd love to have you.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.