Without informing readers in the story or elsewhere, on Monday night The Washington Post deleted its explicit claim that the Dominican prostitute who recanted her allegation against Sen. Robert Menendez had appeared in a video posted to The Daily Caller.
In a story by investigative reporter Carol Leonnig, the Post initially reported at 4:47 p.m. that “the women’s videotaped claims, with their faces obscured, were played on the conservative Web site The Daily Caller. The news site reported that ‘the two women said they met Menendez around Easter at Casa de Campo, an expensive 7,000-acre resort in the Dominican Republic.'”
But by late Monday evening, the paragraph had been changed to read, “the videotaped claims of two women, made with their faces obscured, were posted on the conservative Web site the Daily Caller” — making it ambiguous whether the two women who appeared in TheDC’s video are the same ones Leonnig identified as retracting their allegations against Menendez. (RELATED: Washington Post mixes up one prostitute with another in attempt to debunk story by TheDC)
The revised story goes on to strongly suggest that the women who recanted are the same ones who appeared on TheDC, without making the claim directly.
Readers were not notified of the update anywhere on the article page of Leonnig’s story, and the time stamp was removed to make it impossible to know when the edits went into effect.
The Post published another story at noon on Monday by Leonnig covering TheDC’s refutation of her original piece. In it, Leonnig does not explicitly state her investigation covered the same women interviewed by TheDC. (RELATED: Statement from The Daily Caller).
Last year, the Post reported that it was “ending its decades-long practice of employing an independent ombudsman to critique the newspaper’s journalism and field readers’ question.”