After repeatedly promoting the original allegations that Sen. Robert Menendez solicited prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, Fox News' evening and primetime shows ignored an Associated Press report that Dominican police now believe that three women who claimed to have been paid by Menendez for sex were actually paid to make those false allegations.
Following a November report from the Daily Caller that two Dominican prostitutes had told that outlet that they had been given money by Menendez in exchange for sex, Fox News' evening and primetime programs discussed the allegations in at least 20 segments, according to a search of the Nexis database. Fox's The Five, Special Report, The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity, and On The Record all reported on the claims.
In the intervening months, the story has fallen apart as several important details have emerged. In March, the Washington Post reported that a woman who had previously claimed she had been paid by Menendez for sex had retracted her story and signed an affidavit saying she had actually been paid to lie. (The Daily Caller disputed that the woman in the Post report was one of the women they had spoken to for their initial story.)
Fox was slow to report on the Post revelations. In fact, according to the Nexis database, The O'Reilly Factor is the only Fox News evening program to report on the Post story about the woman recanting her story.
Several news outlets, including ABC News and the New York Post, have also claimed to have been approached by a GOP operative with the Menendez allegations, but declined to run with the story because it seemed flimsy.
On March 18, in a report that severely damages the already shaky Fox-promoted Caller stories, the AP reported that Dominican police officers had traced payments of several hundred dollars from a Dominican attorney to three women that were taped making the Menendez allegations:
Police in the Dominican Republic say they have determined that three women who said they had sex with U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez for money were in fact paid to make false claims by an attorney in the Caribbean country.
Police spokesman Maximo Baez says officers traced the payments to attorney Melanio Figueroa. Baez says two women received about $425 each and the other was paid about $300 to falsely state on camera that they had sex with Menendez (D-N.J.).
Baez said at a news conference today that authorities were seeking to interrogate Figueroa about the payments. Figueroa did not respond to messages left at his office. The women's videotaped statements were published on a conservative U.S. website. Menendez denied the allegations.
Fox News completely ignored the AP report during their March 18 primetime programming.