More News Outlets Say They Passed Up The Daily Caller's "Flimsy" Prostitution StoryMarch 8, 2013 2:55 PM EST ››› OLIVER WILLIS
More questions about the Daily Caller's role in publicizing prostitution allegations against Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) have arisen after it was revealed that two newspapers declined to report the story after expressing concerns about the accusers' credibility.
On March 4, the Washington Post reported that one of the prostitutes who alleged that she had sex with Menendez had recanted her story and claimed in an affidavitthat she was paid to lie about the senator.
According to Huffington Post senior media reporter Michael Calderone, reporters from the Star Ledger (Newark, New Jersey) and The New York Post "were approached by operatives with prostitution allegations against" Menendez, but declined to write about them. Calderone wrote that both reporters (who have previous experience writing about political corruption in New Jersey) failed to find "enough credible evidence to publish a story based on the claims."
In an editorial, the Star Ledger said the claims "failed the smell test" and that the evidence that had been presented to them "was way too flimsy."
ABC News also investigated the allegations and "did not broadcast or initially report on the claims because of doubts about the women's veracity and identity."
Daily Caller editor-in-chief Tucker Carlson has defended publishing the story, despite reports that the women his publication interviewed were paid by a third party to smear Menendez, who has stridently denied the allegations. (The FBI has also reportedly found no evidence to corroborate the prostitution allegations.)
When pressed by Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, Carlson would only say that the source who brought the story to the Daily Caller "received no money from anyone." As more holes continue to be poked in the initial story, neither Carlson nor the Daily Caller have revealed who brought it to them, or what role members of the conservative movement played in creating the attack.