In a LevinTV video made publicly available, conservative author and talk-radio host Mark Levin slammed Fox News for allowing Donald Trump to spread the bizarre National Enquirer smear of Ted Cruz’s father Rafael, suggesting that he was “caught on camera” standing next to John F. Kennedy’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans in 1963. Borrowing a turn of phrase from Sarah Palin, the Enquirer said Cruz’s vather was “palling around with the man who murdered America’s 35th president!”
MARK LEVIN: This morning, on our favorite cable channel! Taking the National Enquirer story, spewing it all over the country as if it’s news, with the hosts sitting there like bump–on-a-logs, and allowing Donald Trump to smear his father with the most outrageous allegation I’ve ever heard in a presidential election. How dare Fox News do that!
What a disgrace that pathetic network has become! They’re worse than CNN, and at least MSNBC tells you what they are. But that Fox News network is going to take down this country. They think they’re all-powerful, Rupert Murdoch and all the rest of them, I am deadly serious about this. What they’re doing to the Republican Party, the conservative movement in this country is a damnable disgrace. “They report, we decide?” “Fair and balanced?” Baloney!
Trump told Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning: “His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald's being — you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous." Fox's Brian Kilmeade attempted to underline what Trump was smearing: "Right, there was a picture out there that reportedly shows Rafael Cruz standing with Lee Harvey Oswald." Trump jumped back in: "I mean, what was he doing — what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It’s horrible.” You can hear Kilmeade add "Right" and "It's crazy."
Levin offered the same message on his radio show on Tuesday night: “You’re not a news channel anymore. You’re the Fox Channel,” Levin said. “And what the hell is with the hosts on the Fox & Friends show? That didn't even challenged Donald Trump!...Not a damn question! Nothing! Zero!” He also roasted Fox’s The Five for “laughing” about the Trump smear. "They have humiliated themselves,” Levin said. “Does Donald sound like he’s cutting a joke [with this JFK allegation]? Does Kilmeade sound like he’s laughing? No, it’s very serious.”
Over at The Right Scoop, they report Trump also spread the Cruz smear on Sean Hannity's national talk radio show without a serious challenge. When Trump unspooled his smear, Hannity asked "Was that verified ever?" Trump replied "They wouldn't let it in if they could be sued...they're very big professionals." Trump also claimed against videotaped reality that "I don't think Ted Cruz denied it at his news conference." Hannity then said "I don't know the truth or veracity of it, but let me move on....."
By contrast, TheBlaze reported that at CNN, Jake Tapper launched into Trump and truth at the start of his Tuesday afternoon program:
TAPPER: Trump and Cruz engaged in a bitter and stunning exchange today. Every time you think this race cannot get any more ludicrous, it does. This latest episode started this morning when Trump cited a bizarre and completely uncorroborated report -- and I use the term report loosely -- in the National Enquirer, the supermarket tabloid.
The National Enquirer, which has endorsed Trump and is published by a friend of Trump's, has launching smear after smear against Cruz and his family. This story shows a photograph from August 1963 of a man standing with soon-to-be-John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald handing out pro-Castro literature....
I cannot believe I need to say the following, but here goes. There is no corroborated evidence that Ted Cruz's father ever met Lee Harvey Oswald, or, for that matter, any other presidential assassin.
We in the media don't talk about it because there's no evidence of it. In fact, there is contrary evidence. Well before the picture was taken, Rafael Cruz's sister was brutally beaten by Castro forces and Rafael Cruz had denounced the regime. So, any suggestion that Cruz's father played a role in the Kennedy assassination is ridiculous and, frankly, shameful. Now, that's not an anti-Trump position or a pro-Cruz position. It's a pro-truth position.
A "pro-truth position" is what we should expect any news channel or journalism organization to take.