CBS: Did you see what the Washington Post reported about Menendez?
posted at 12:45 pm on February 16, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
Earlier today, I wrote about the Washington Post’s reporting on the FBI probe into sex scandal allegations against Robert Menendez, and how that will likely give other media outlets an entree. The dam looks like it may be breaking in the rest of the national media. Here’s CBS:
The FBI is investigating allegations that Sen. Rob. Menendez, D-N.J., patronized prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, two people familiar with the investigationtold the Washington Post.
One source told the Post that investigators are focused on whether Salmon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor and major Menendez donor, provided the Menendez with prostitutes while he was vacationing in the Caribbean nation. Another person indicated that the FBI is looking into allegations of underage prostitution and sex parties.
The FBI, according to the sources, was tipped off by a series of anonymous emails alleging that Menendez had patronized the prostitutes while vacationing at Melgen’s resort home in the Dominican Republic. Prostitution is not illegal in the Dominican Republic, but solicitation of underage prostitutes is.
So far, nothing on ABC or NBC websites, but we’ll see whether they pick it up later today. The New York Times reports on it more obliquely today, taking a very skeptical look into the allegations and questioning the motives of the accusers:
“My duty as a U.S. citizen obligates me to report what I consider to be a grave violation of the most fundamental codes of conduct that a politician of my country must follow,” said the first sentence of the e-mail, sent by a person who identified himself as Peter Williams. The e-mail, and others that followed, then went on to detail claims related to Mr. Menendez and the underage prostitutes, as well as decadent outings on a yacht.
But there was something immediately suspicious about Mr. Williams, said Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor who is now executive director of Citizens for Responsibility, which is based in Washington. Mr. Williams provided some accurate details about Dr. Melgen’s life in the Dominican Republic, but would not agree to speak by phone, and he also said he had been aware of Mr. Menendez’s activities since 2008 — but was only now coming forward. That, Ms. Sloan observed, was seven months before Mr. Menendez faced re-election.
Pete Williams is the nickname of former Senator Harrison A. Williams Jr., Democrat of New Jersey; in 1983, he became the first senator jailed in 80 years, for his role in the so-called Abscam case, in which agents posing as Arab sheiks offered bribes to members of Congress. Perhaps in adopting that name, the person who sent the e-mail about Mr. Menendez was making a cruel joke.
As I’ve noted on more than one occasion, there is reason for some skepticism about the allegations, as there should be for any allegations of this sort when sources remain anonymous. But it also pays to be skeptical about the motivation for skepticism in the media, especially when it seems that the level of skepticism depends on which part of the political spectrum the target of the allegations seems to fall.
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