Last Friday saw two high-profile liberal pundits - one on Bloomberg News's Political Capital and the other on PBS's Inside Washington - repeating the story that Newt Gingrich divorced his first wife while she was being treated for cancer, without either of them noting that one of Gingrich's daughters - Jackie Gingrich Cushman - last May specifically disputed the account that her mother, who is still alive, ever had cancer, or that her father initiated the divorce during a hospital visit.
On Bloomberg News's Political Capital show, host Al Hunt only vaguely noted that Gingrich's daughter had disputed some of the commonly believed details of her parents' divorce as he dismissed her account as "demonstrably false." After Bloomberg News columnist Margaret Carlson called the former House Speaker a "lout," Hunt asserted:
He left his first wife when she had cancer, she took him to court for lack of child support. This is all public record. He had a six-year affair while he was Speaker with a young House staffer. He left his second wife when she had MS. And he sent his daughter out to tell a demonstrably false story about his first marriage. Now, all that amounts up to more than a lout, doesn't it, Margaret?
On the same day's Inside Washington on PBS, regular panel member Shields recounted the story without any mention that it is disputed, as he cracked:
He did not mention the fact that his wife - who in sort of a sad interview with (ABC's) Brian Ross - acknowledged that she had just told him she had Multiple Sclerosis. This is not a man you want to tell that you have a health problem, based upon his first divorce when his wife had cancer, and let's pray that Callista gets a very positive report from Mayo clinic.