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In the grand tradition of Daily Caller scoops, the latest one leveling sex scandal allegations at Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., seems to have underwhelmed the general public.
Last night, the Drudge Report and the Daily Caller were hyping a sex scandal involving a “powerful” U.S. senator. It turns out, the story involved two Dominican women who claim Menendez paid them for sex. The evidence is pretty flimsy, relying on testimony from the two women, who identified a client as Menendez by looking at a picture. Nor does the Caller have any evidence that Menendez was definitely in the Dominican Republic at the time. From the Caller:
“When shown a photograph of Sen. Menendez, the women said they recognized him as the man with whom they’d had sexual relations at Casa de Campo this spring. Both said they were brought to the resort with the understanding they would be paid for sex.
Neither knew the identity of the man at the time. Both claimed to recognize him later as Sen. Menendez.
‘He called him[self] “Bob,”‘ said one.”
Menendez spokesman Tricia Enright told Salon: “This accusation is completely false. We will not dignify it with a response.”
Twitter pundits reacted with various levels of indifference:
Let's say the Menendez theory is true, and so's the scandal. Does Christie even ask for Menendez to go?— daveweigel (@daveweigel) November 1, 2012
The Menendez allegations look like they merit serious investigation. But probably not by a web site that headlines them "LATIN LOVER"— Michael Roston (@michaelroston) November 1, 2012
Sorry, Drudge. Not interested in the Menendez scandal. NJ needs our help right now, and there are more important stories before election.— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) November 1, 2012
The Caller’s recent history of trumping up “game changing” scoops, as it did with the 2007 video of Obama speaking about race, probably also contributed to the underwhelming response.
And then there’s reporter Matthew Boyle, who wrote the Menendez story, and his own recent history of getting things wrong. For instance, in a story last September, he erroneously reported that the EPA was hoping to hire “230,000 new bureaucrats — at a cost of $21 billion” to implement new greenhouse gas regulations, which the EPA admitted may be “absurd” and “impossible to implement.” In reality, the Department of Justice was trying to defend a rule that would prevent the EPA from requiring the additional employees to regulate greenhouse gases.
Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at email@example.com.More Jillian Rayfield.
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