Last week, the left-leaning media erupted when The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer reported that, in addition to practically being President Donald Trump’s propaganda outlet, Fox News had crushed a story about the then-candidate’s affair with porn star Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election.
About halfway through Mayer’s story, which quotes mostly people who hate Trump trashing Fox News, Mayer tells the story of Diana Falzone, a previous Fox reporter who wrote a story about the Trump-Daniels affair and alleged payment. Mayer described Falzone’s unpublished article as a well-documented story she had worked on for months.
Falzone had worked on the story since March, and by October she had confirmed it with Daniels through her manager at the time, Gina Rodriguez, and with Daniels’s former husband, Mike Moz, who described multiple calls from Trump. Falzone had also amassed e-mails between Daniels’s attorney and Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, detailing a proposed cash settlement, accompanied by a nondisclosure agreement. Falzone had even seen the contract.
Mayer then claimed Falzone’s story was passed around from editor to editor at Fox, with the then-top editor of FoxNews.com, Ken LaCorte, finally killing the story by allegedly saying, “Good reporting, kiddo. But Rupert wants Donald Trump to win. So just let it go.”
Mayer included a denial from LaCorte, but went on to claim Fox also killed a story from Falzone showing the National Enquirer had purchased the exclusive rights to Daniels’ claims to avoid publishing them. It wasn’t until January 12, 2018, that the story saw the light of day — reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Mayer’s story gave the left-leaning media another chance to denigrate Fox News, and caused Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez to announce no Democrat primary debates would be sponsored with the network.
LaCorte took to Mediaite to explain his side of the story and call out Mayer’s reporting. LaCorte said the story he was provided by Falzone was not the well-sourced, “detailed investigative piece” portrayed by Mayer, but was instead “a 9-paragraph story that sorely needed backup.”
“It included: a two-word confirmation – ‘it’s true’ – from an unnamed Daniels ‘spokesperson,’ an anonymous quote from a friend who said she’d dropped off Daniels to meet Trump at a hotel, and quotes from [gossip website] The Dirty owner, who said that he had spoken to Daniels in 2011 and she had confirmed the affair,” LaCorte wrote.
“It lacked: any mention of payments, a hush money contract or any corroborating evidence beyond the two secondhand accounts,” LaCorte added.
LaCorte pointed to the Daily Beast, “Good Morning America,” and Slate as other outlets with similar information that chose not to run the story. Slate had also seen the "contract" Mayer described, but it was unsigned and used alleged pseudonyms for the parties involved.
These outlets were not mentioned in Mayer’s article. LaCorte also questioned why Mayer believed an anti-Trump story would be leaked to what appeared to be a pro-Trump network.
LaCorte also accused Mayer of not asking him about the Daniels story over their lengthy discussion for her article. He said he was approached by The New Yorker’s fact checker just a week before publication and asked Mayer about the Daniels story being included. He said Mayer said she would call him soon to discuss but 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,” LaCorte wrote.
After LaCorte published his account of killing the Daniels story, Mayer took to Twitter to claim his “complaint is unfounded.”
“This complaint is unfounded. I interviewed LaCorte extensively, quoted him 4 times, included his assertion that Falcone's story 'hadn't passed muster.' Any claim I didn't tell his side is false. Falzone can't defend herself - she's under an NDA, but 3 sources corroborate her,” Mayer tweeted.
Except, LaCorte acknowledged he talked to her at length – just not about the Daniels story. The four quotes Mayer mentioned from LaCorte had nothing to do with the Daniels story. The only quote from him on the subject was one he gave to Mediaite, which Mayer included. She didn’t quote him denying that he killed the story for political reasons, she just said he denied.
That’s a long way off from telling his side of the story, as Mayer claims to have done.
Mayer continued to stand by her article by providing statements she says she received from Falzone’s attorney, Nancy Erica Smith, trying to get the Non Disclosure Agreement lifted so the former Fox reporter could defend her claims.
This certainly isn’t the first time Mayer’s reporting has been questioned. Just a few months ago she co-authored an article claiming then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had exposed himself to a woman at a party. The article offered no supporting evidence except for the woman’s account, who just a week earlier wasn’t even sure if it was Kavanaugh. Other outlets also passed on the story because of the lack of evidence, but reported on it after The New Yorker ran with it anyway.