HECKUVA CONSPIRACY THEORY, FOX NEWS…. It was, alas, a rather routine interview by Fox News standards. Disgraced former FEMA chief and Arabian horse judge Michael Brown appeared on the Republican network Monday, telling Neil Cavuto that the Obama White House chose to let the BP oil spill disaster deteriorate so the president would have “an excuse” to curtail additional coastal drilling.

To bolster his crazy argument, Brown pointed to … nothing. He simply stated it as fact. Cavuto, the media professional airing Brown’s nonsense, offered no pushback, and asked for no substantiation.

The West Wing noticed. And when Fox News’ White House correspondent asked press secretary Robert Gibbs to respond to “critics” who refer to the BP spill as “President Obama’s Katrina,” Gibbs made no effort to hide his frustration, referring to “the very special and unique interview with Michael Brown.”

“What is his attribution?” Mr. Gibbs asked Mr. Goler. “I can only wish that the network that you work for had asked that prior to interviewing him yesterday.”

“You should call headquarters, my friend,” he continued, adding that nothing he could say “is going to change the notion that your network put out the former FEMA director to make an accusation that the well had been purposely set off in order to change an offshore drilling decision.” […]

Mr. Gibbs, in a brief interview later, said of Mr. Brown: “Leaving aside whether he’s qualified to render an educated opinion on anything related to a disaster, the opinion should be substantiated by something. And I think the host should question an unsubstantiated opinion.”

And if Fox News had professional standards, that might have happened.

For what it’s worth, Brown was also on MSNBC yesterday, arguing on “Hardball” that the White House wanted the oil spill to happen to advance a political agenda. Host Chris Matthews responded by noting that viewers might conclude that Brown is “sounding insane.”

When Brown added that terrorists may have been responsible for the explosion on the rig, Matthews asked if he could support the claim. “No, not yet,” Brown replied.

It was good to see Brown get some pushback for his nonsense — Neil Cavuto should have taken some notes — but ideally responsible news programs would simply stop providing a platform for Michael Brown altogether. It’s not like he has anything of value to add to the discourse.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.