The credibility of The Daily Caller's report that New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez had sex with prostitutes during a junket in the Domincan Republic took yet another blow on Monday afternoon as The Associated Press reported that police in the Dominican Republic have determined that an attorney named Melanio Figueroa paid three women a couple hundred dollars each to make the claims on camera. Two of those women appeared (with their faces obscured) in a video published on The Daily Caller's website; in the accompanying article, investigative reporter Matthew Boyle identified Figueroa as the women's attorney. According to the AP, the police are currently looking for Figueroa, but have yet to locate him.
The revelation confirms the Washington Post's report, published earlier this month, that an unnamed lawyer approached and paid several women to lie about sleeping with Menendez. The irony of the Menendez scandal that wasn't fizzling is that another (admittedly less sexy) case is continuing as investigators look into allegations that he improperly awarded business contracts to wealthy donors.
The biggest loser, though, continues to be The Daily Caller, whose editors have taken numerous pains to establish their website as a source of credible, well-reported journalism while also tripling-down on the Menendez prostitution story. When The Washington Post reported that a woman had told Dominican officials she was paid to make up stories, Daily Caller editor-in-chief Tucker Carlson told Fox News host Bill O'Reilling that The Post had spoken to the wrong woman: "I read the Post piece. I don't recognize anything." (In the same interview with O'Reilly, Carlson defended Boyle's piece as "straightforward, traditional journalism.") Meanwhile, a string of other outlets — including ABC News, Politico, the Star-Ledger, and the New York Post — have said they passed on the story after examining the same evidence as The Daily Caller and finding it lacking.
Still, the hope of catching Bob Menendez with prostitutes — even though Carlson once argued that Senators and sex "ought to be off limits from creeps and scandal mongers" — has become a strange cause célèbre among conservative media. Other parts of the conservative media, however, have taken to wondering if the conservative movement's outrage machine is not spending enough time getting its facts straight.