Last week, a firestorm was set off in regards to a New Yorker article that accused Fox News of punting the Stormy Daniels story back in 2016 to protect Trump. It was a predicable hit-piece, done by none other than Jane Mayer, who has made an art out of been a terrible journalist. You may remember her from such classics as accusing Brett Kavanaugh of exposing himself in college (among other false accusations) based on nothing more than a single source (a source who even admitted they couldn’t remember if it was Kavanaugh).
This latest attempt targeting Fox News was subsequently used by the DNC as an excuse to ban the network from hosting Democratic debates, you know, because Chris Wallace is so very pro-Trump and all.
Even at the time of publishing, the hypocrisy in Mayer’s article was stunning. These are the same media entities that have been caught red-handed multiple times burying stories that might hurt Democrats (or pushing false stories they think will hurt Republicans). But this time, in their telling, they finally had Fox News dead to rights. They had finally caught them shilling for Trump on the hard news side in a way that would destroy their credibility.
Then reality hit.
It turns out Jane Mayer was lying, which has become a staple of her work. Today, Ken LaCorte, who made the decision on the Stormy Daniels story in 2016 for Fox News, spoke out and he’s telling a story that exposes Jane Mayer and The New Yorker as the partisan hacks we always knew they were.
Two weeks before the 2016 presidential election, as the editorial head of Fox News online, I reviewed a draft news story that said porn actress Stormy Daniels had confirmed having an affair with Donald Trump a decade earlier. The only problem was … Stormy hadn’t said that.
Daniels and her associates were playing a bizarre cat-and-mouse game with Fox News and other outlets, trying to get their story out without fingerprints and, ultimately, without enough proof to publish.
We and others practiced solid journalism. Now, that’s being spun in an effort to prove the opposite.
Ask yourself this. If the Stormy Daniels story was worthy of publishing in 2016, why did not one else do it? Mr. LaCorte addresses this directly.
In the recent national coverage of this incident, based on an article in The New Yorker, no one has questioned why Stormy would try to leak an anti-Trump story exclusively to Fox News, seen by virtually everyone as a pro-Trump outlet. In reality, she was actually talking to a handful of others as well.
If you continue reading, you’ll see that slate.com was also in the mix. None of these outlets ran the story because Ms. Daniels stopped talking and denied everything. Why? Because she had just recently signed an NDA. At that point, there was simply not enough evidence to publish the story about her and Mr. Trump.
Yet, only Fox News is being singled out as doing something nefarious for not running with it. The reason is because of a lie within Jan Mayer’s 10,000+ word screed.
A week before publication, I received a few phone calls from a New Yorker fact checker confirming my quotes. Her last one was a surprise, asking me to confirm or deny what they heard from a secondhand source, alleging I had told our reporter it was “good reporting” but we shelved it because of Rupert Murdoch’s politics. I neither said nor even thought that because neither of those things was true.
I sent Mayer an email with some explanation and an offer to talk, and she responded: “sorry but I didn’t know fact-checkers called, I was hoping to call you first. we just added this to the story today. I’ll call in a bit. up to my eyeballs right this moment.” She never did…
…In her 11,635 word piece, she didn’t find room to mention the paucity of evidence we had, the conflicting statements nor the other outlets which responded exactly as we did.
Jane claimed she simply didn’t have time to make contact with the person who’s supposed quote was the entire basis of her story. Yet, she had time to interview all sorts of other random people. Her excuse doesn’t pass muster and it’s not an excuse anyway. The piece should have been delayed if that was the situation. They never should have went to print before taking the time to talk to Mr. LaCorte. From the beginning, he denied ever saying that Rupert Murdoch shelved the story for political reasons. Mayer and The New Yorker didn’t care. It was all about the narrative.
It should also be noted that Mr. LaCorte doesn’t even work at Fox News anymore, so he has absolutely no reason to lie or protect anyone here. Despite that, he is pointedly saying that it was his decision to boot the story, not because of politics or Trump, but because it was a garbage story without proper sourcing at the time. That’s the same conclusion many other, far more liberal outlets came to as well.
In the aftermath of The New Yorker piece, as networks and publications far and wide ran with the false narrative, not a single reporter reached out to Mr. LaCorte to ask him about the quote and whether it was even true. It’s a stinging indictment of just how awful the current mainstream media landscape is that no one would even bother to get his comment. He sums up their malpractice succinctly at the end of response.
The ultimate irony is that in its zeal to hang Fox News for journalistic malfeasance, the media tossed journalistic standards in the trash can and gave readers the 100% wrong impression of Fox and the Stormy Daniels story.
Journalists: these are the reasons why half of America believes Donald Trump when he calls us “fake.”
Indeed. It’s stories like this that are fueling the push for stricter libel laws in regards to the media reporting objectively false information. At this point, I can’t say that I disagree with that effort. Things are completely out of hand and media members are getting more and more comfortable with resorting to outright lies in order to push their biased narrative. There must be repercussions for such damaging behavior or it will never stop.
Enjoying the read? Please visit my archive and check out some of my other articles.
Please follow and share on Twitter: @bonchieredstate