One thing I learned when I ran for political office nearly 20 years ago is that some opponents will simply make stuff up to malign you if they can't find anything substantive to attack you on. I also learned that many in the mainstream media are lazy and are more focused on writing sensational stories than finding out what the truth actually is - i.e., my chief opponent had a phony Ph.D and all the documentation was submitted to the Virginian Pilot but nothing was ever done with it. I lost the election by a slim margin and my opponent was later removed from office for soliciting bribes from contractors, one of who was my across the street neighbor. Things have not improved over time in the media as the sad tale of Senator Bob Menendez underscores. Menendez was accused of hiring underage prostitutes and appears to have been deliberately targeted with a smear campaign by forces presumably of the far right. As the Washington Post reports, the whole story now appears to have been a lie aimed at trashing Menendez. One can only hope that the originator of the lie is eventually identified. Here are story highlights:
Now we know why ABC News omitted any mention of these allegations: They knew stuff, and they had their doubts.
In a post today on the ABC News site, Rhonda Schwartz and Brian Ross deliver a few details that upend a Nov. 1 Daily Caller story alleging that Menendez paid for sex in the Dominican Republic. That story consisted of interviews with two alleged prostitutes who attested to having conducted transactions with the senator.
It looks as if ABC News got the same spiel as the Daily Caller. In her story, Schwartz-Ross say that ABC News received back-to-back interviews with the Daily Caller with three women who leveled the allegations against Menendez. As the Washington Post reported yesterday, one of those women has recanted the story and says that the whole operation was an effort to frame Menendez and a friend and donor from Florida, Dr. Salomon Melgen.
Three bombshells from ABC News:
Bombshell No. 1: The recanter yesterday was identified as one Nexis de los Santos Santana. That’s news to ABC News:
Bombshell No. 2 (nuclear): From the story: “Asked during the interview with ABC News how she knew that the man named “Bob” was a United States Senator, one of the other women said she had put the name “Bob” into a web search site and a picture of Menendez popped up.” Here’s what came up on the Erik Wemple Blog’s computer when we searched on “Bob.”In her interview with ABC News before the election, she said her name was Michelle Rodriguez and that she had come forward because Menendez had paid her only $100 of the $500 she had expected. She now says she was coached to make the claim.
Bombshell No. 3: ABC News reports a troubling degree of sameness among the women’s accounts: “Her account of sex with Menendez in the video interview was almost word-for-word the account given by two other women who were produced for interviews about having sex with the man they knew only as ‘Bob.’” In other words, there appears to have been some coaching involved here.
The ABC News story isn’t a game changer; it’s a game ender.
In retrospect what should have made everyone - other than the rag, the Daily Caller - question the story was the reality that it is almost ALWAYS Republicans, not Democrats, who are caught in this type of sexual scandal story. The need for sensationalism should never be allowed to trump the truth. Sadly, the GOP and its Christofascist elements seem to care about the truth less and less each passing day.