Eight days before the election, FoxNews.com is smearing Sen. Harry Reid with reports that a former low-level staffer allegedly lied to federal investigators about her marriage -- prior to going to work for Reid's office. The article provides no evidence that Reid or anyone in his office had any knowledge of the investigation or the alleged wrongdoing.
Indeed, according to Reid's spokesman, Reid and his office did not know about the allegations until being informed by Fox News, at which time Reid's office conducted an investigation and severed its relationship with the staffer. The allegations never resulted in criminal charges against the staffer.
To date, Fox has barely (according to a Nexis transcript search) mentioned reports that an aide to Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) pleaded guilty to charges that he attacked an ex-girlfriend with a knife, yet remained on Vitter's staff for more than two years after Vitter's office learned of the arrest.
In a statement to FoxNews.com, Reid's spokesman Jim Manley said:
Our office was not previously aware of these allegations and, following an internal investigation, the staffer at issue is no longer with our office. The conduct alleged, which took place several years before the staffer worked for Senator Reid, was clearly wrong. But the bottom line remains that this story was a desperation measure by partisan Republicans, who have stooped to slinging mud about junior staffers to score points in the waning days of her campaign.
The report comes on the heels of an election season where Fox News has behaved more as a political operation than a news organization.
Fox News has barely mentioned reports -- first made in June -- that Brent Furer, an aide to Sen. Vitter, had been arrested in 2008 for reportedly attacking an ex-girlfriend with a knife, and that Furer, at the time of these reports, was subject to an arrest warrant stemming from a drunken-driving charge. (FoxNews.com ran an Associated Press article on Furer's resignation in June.)
After drinking at a restaurant, the two returned to Furer's Capitol Hill apartment, the report says. Furer “would not let her leave.” He “pulled on her coat, which caused it to rip,” then “pulled out a knife and stabbed [her] in the hand,” the police report says.
Charging documents allege that Furer became angry when he found phone numbers for other men in her Blackberry. He smashed her phone when she tried to call 911, the records say, and he shoved her to the floor when she tried to leave, then held his hand over her mouth and threw her on a bed.
Demopoulos told police Furer “uttered the words to her, 'Do you want to get serious.'” Then, the arrest warrant states, Furer “grabbed an unknown object and held it under her neck. The suspect asked the complainant, 'Do you want to die?' The complainant replies and she stated, 'No, I don't want to die.'”
After a 90 minute standoff, Furer made her promise not to call police, and then allowed her to leave. She fled to a friend's house, and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. A slash on her chin took eight stitches to close, the police report says.
Furer eventually pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges, including threatening harm and destruction of property. The assault and weapons charges were dismissed. He was sentenced to 180 days confinement, two years of supervised probation, 40 hours of community service, and treatment for drug and alcohol dependency. After getting a harsh warning from Superior Court Judge Lee Satterfield, his jail term was suspended.
Moreover, Vitter's office reportedly returned Furer to the payroll within days of learning about his arrest, as ABC reported: “Senate payroll records indicate the 2008 altercation between Furer and his girlfriend registered within the senate office -- Vitter's office suspended Furer's pay on Jan. 17, five days after the incident. But his payments resumed on Jan. 22.” ABC News reported that Furer resigned after their initial report in June 2010.
The only mention on Fox News shows listed in the Nexis database is a passing reference to “domestic abuse charges against one of [Vitter's] staffers” on the October 6 Special Report.