Reuters Spins a Tale of Scandal Involving Cohen and Falwell Jr. Over "Racy Photos"

Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, smiles as he listens to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, at a rally Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The media think they have another bombshell on their hands.

This time it involves an “exclusive” by Reuters entitled “Trump Fixer Cohen Says He Helped Falwell Handle Racy Photos.” Sounds juicy, doesn’t it? Well, until you get into the details at least.


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Months before evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr.’s game-changing presidential endorsement of Donald Trump in 2016, Falwell asked Trump fixer Michael Cohen for a personal favor, Cohen said in a recorded conversation reviewed by Reuters.

Falwell, president of Liberty University, one of the world’s largest Christian universities, said someone had come into possession of what Cohen described as racy “personal” photographs

So was Falwell having an affair that he needed Trump’s “fixer” to make go away? That’s certainly the impression you get from the headline. The answer? Nope.

…the sort that would typically be kept “between husband and wife,” Cohen said in the taped conversation.

Let me get this straight. Someone stole personal pictures of Falwell and his wife and the story to Reuters is that they sought to keep them private? The sheer level of scandal here is hard to comprehend. I had no idea husbands and wives do intimate things that they’d like to not be shown publicly. Thanks Reuters, for reporting this story which seeks to do nothing but embarrass someone.

They go on to suggest that Falwell Jr.’s endorsement might have been based on Cohen helping him take care of the issue with the photographs. Their evidence? Well, they have none, but when has that ever mattered?


Reuters has no evidence that Falwell’s endorsement of Trump was related to Cohen’s involvement in the photo matter. The source familiar with Cohen’s thinking insisted the endorsement and the help with the photographs were separate issues.

There was a time when the highlighted area meant this would have never gone to print. But we live under Trump rules now, which means anything that can even slightly poke at the President is worthy of publication.

In reality, Falwell Jr. was being illegally blackmailed.

The Falwells told Cohen that someone had obtained photographs that were embarrassing to them, and was demanding money, the source said. Reuters was unable to determine who made the demand. The source said Cohen flew to Florida and soon met with an attorney for the person with the photographs. Cohen spoke with the attorney, telling the lawyer that his client was committing a crime, and that law enforcement authorities would be called if the demands didn’t stop, the source said.

The matter was soon resolved, the source said, and the lawyer told Cohen that all of the photographs were destroyed.

Instead of reporting that as the primary story because blackmail is bad, Reuters chose to frame their headline and the majority of the story as Falwell Jr. having some scandalous activity covered up by Michael Cohen in exchange for an endorsement.


That’s journalism today.

My personal opinion of Jerry Falwell Jr. is pretty low. Despite that, I have no problem saying that this is garbage reporting. The headline alone appears slanderous in its purposeful omission. They could have easily put “…with his wife” after “racy photos” and it would have still fit fine. They didn’t do so for obvious reasons.


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