How did the Daily Caller end up landing its big, dubiously verified scoop about New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez consorting with prostitutes? Turns out it may have had less to do with dogged reporting than the ability to ignore what now at least three other media outlets that passed on the story say they could not: serious credibility problems.
Earlier this week, ABC News' Brian Ross — who's had a few misses himself over time — reported that ABC had itself investigated claims made by three women in the Dominican Republic that they'd been paid to have sex with the senator. The network ultimately didn't run the story because the women refused to provide identification and told stories so similar that the network believed they'd been coached. Late last week, that impression seemed to be confirmed by the Washington Post, which reported that one of the women admitted to being paid to tell the story.
The Huffington Post's Michael Calderone fleshed out the story substantially today, suggesting that two other media outlets passed on the Menendez story before it filtered through to the Daily Caller.
The New York Post’s Josh Margolin and Newark-based Star-Ledger’s Ted Sherman were each contacted last summer with the claims that Menendez had sex with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic and investigated them, according to sources familiar with the matter. Neither reporter found enough credible evidence to publish a story based on the claims.
It is extremely safe to assume that the New York Post would have been thrilled to have a scoop focused on a Democratic senator paying for sex, had it believed the story held up.