Fox News continues to ignore reports that undermine the Daily Caller smear -- promoted by Fox News -- that Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) patronized prostitutes on a trip to the Dominican Republic. On March 22, media outlets reported that the Daily Caller's original named source, Melanio Figueroa, alleged that the Daily Caller and other media outlets paid and pressured him to fabricate the accusations -- an allegation that Fox News has not covered.
The Washington Post's latest story on the allegations against Menendez reported:
A top Dominican law enforcement official said Friday that a local lawyer has reported being paid by someone claiming to work for the conservative Web site the Daily Caller to find prostitutes who would lie and say they had sex for money with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).
The lawyer told Dominican investigators that a foreign man, who identified himself as "Carlos," had offered him $5,000 to find and pay women in the Caribbean nation willing to make the claims about Menendez, according to Jose Antonio Polanco, district attorney for the La Romana region, where the investigation is being conducted.
The Daily Caller issued a statement Friday saying that the information allegedly provided by the Dominican lawyer, Melanio Figueroa, was false.
These revelations demonstrate Figueroa's lack of credibility and thus cast even more doubt on the Daily Caller's already-shaky story, as Figueroa was the only named source in their original story outlining the allegations. Responding to this latest Post story, along with other reports from the Post throwing doubt on the Caller's reporting, CNN media critic Howard Kurtz called the story "discredited" and said that the Daily Caller "owes the senators and its readers an apology."
A transcript search, including a search of the Nexis database, of Fox News programming on March 22 and of Fox's media criticism show Fox News Watch on March 23 shows no mention of Menendez. This continues a pattern of Fox covering the Daily Caller's allegations less and less as the credibility of the story continues to implode, even though the network covered the allegations in at least 20 segments after the initial report was made in November.
Tucker Carlson, who is a Fox contributor and editor-in-chief of the Daily Caller, has not defended his publication's smear of Menendez on the network since March 5, when he appeared on The O'Reilly Factor and called the Daily Caller reporting "straightforward, traditional journalism." He also said that his website's sources "received no money from anyone." Carlson has appeared on Fox News at least three times in the past two weeks -- as a guest on Special Report on March 11 and on America's Newsroom on March 13, and as guest host of Hannity on March 15. The Daily Caller's discredited allegations against Sen. Menendez were never mentioned during those appearances.
Fox's effort to cover up its contributor's floundering story, which Fox was previously happy to promote, raises new questions about Carlson's future relationship with the network.