New Jersey senator Bob Menendez was the victim of a smear campaign, falsely linking him to Dominican prostitutes. (Google Images)
New Jersey senator Bob Menendez was the victim of a smear campaign, falsely linking him to Dominican prostitutes. (Google Images)

After admonishing other news outlets for not jumping on the Daily Caller’s smear of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Fox News refuses to issue an apology or admit its mistake even after the allegations against Menendez are proving to be false.

Recently, the prostitutes who appeared on video on the Daily Caller website claiming to have had sex with Menendez confessed they were lying. They said they were reading from a script given to them by a lawyer and say they have never even met Menendez.

Now consider a few things. Fox News aggressively pumped this story, mentioning it more than 22 times on national television, according to a search of the Nexis database. The Daily Caller’s original story relied entirely on anonymous sources whose faces and voices were obscured by the video. There was no corroborating evidence to support the allegations. In fact, when the Washington Post first started digging into the story, the lack of corraborating evidence was the first of many red flags. Not only did Fox News perpetuate these allegations, but they even added to fuel to the fire by claiming there were even other prostitutes, some of whom were underaged.

Most of the major media outlets, other than Fox News, refused to report the story due to lack of evidence.

Fox News routinely uses partisan websites such as The Daily Caller, blogs and other agenda-driven digital sources as means to fire baseless salvos.  Somehow because the reporting did not originate with them, they try to act as if they are not culpable. Instead of admitting the error like a reputable news outlet, they refuse to acknowledge wrongdoing suggesting a profound lack of respect for journalism, the wronged person — in this case Menendez or viewers.

What’s worse is that it’s not just Fox News. We saw the same phenomena during the confirmation hearings for Chuck Hagel. It was originally reported (this time from, a right-wing site) that Hagel received money from a group called Friends of Hamas. This misinformation was repeated on Fox News and ultimately mimicked by elected Republican officials that Hagel. Later we found at that Friends of Hamas doesn’t even exist.

Back during the contrived “Friends of Hamas” scandal, instead of apologzing, Fox News invited the culprit on the air — without even mentioning the erroneous information,  further legitimizing the illegitimate.

If I were to use the same reporting standards of Tucker Carlson and Fox News, I would say this: It’s pretty obvious this was a conservative conspiracy to destroy the New Jersey senator. Can I prove it? No. Will I apologize? No. As is the case in this day and age of so-called journalism, just because I said it, makes it so. Dragging Senator Menendez through the mud over falsified, unsubstantiated information that hasn’t been fact-checked at best and was intentionally made up at worst, should be unacceptable. Because of today’s media climate, all is fair in politics and “journalism,” including smear campaigns.  Senator Menendez’s treatment by Fox News and right-wing media sites isn’t fair or just.

This article was written by Devona Walker, politics editor for The Burton Wire.

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