Former Fox News editor Ken LaCorte explained Friday why he decided not to publish a story before the 2016 election alleging that then-candidate Donald Trump had an extramarital affair with porn star Stormy Daniels.
The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer alleged in a report this week that Fox opted not to publish the story because they were trying to protect Trump from the scandal. According to Mayer, the Fox reporter who chased the story had “confirmed it with Daniels through her manager at the time, Gina Rodriguez, and with Daniels’s former husband, Mike Moz” and had seen a contract between Daniels and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen about a cash settlement.
LaCorte alleges in a piece for Mediaite that Mayer never even spoke to him about the accusation in detail — instead only asking him to confirm or deny a specific quote he was alleged to have told the reporter about why he was shelving the story.
And rather than killing the story over politics or a desire to protect Trump, LaCorte says the piece was poorly sourced and not the “investigative” piece Mayer made it out to be. (RELATED: Fox News’ Martha MacCallum Says Stormy’s Lawyer Canceled Interview)
“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 The Dirty owner, who said that he had spoken to Daniels in 2011 and she had confirmed the affair,” LaCorte explained.
LaCorte also claims that the story pitched to him included no mention of a contract or hush money payment and no corroboration beyond the “secondhand accounts” of the affair. The former Fox editor also notes that other outlets received similar tips about the affair and did not publish them.
“The story wasn’t close to being publishable, and my decision to hold it was a no-brainer. I didn’t do it to help Trump and never said nor implied otherwise. It was such an easy call that I never even informed my direct boss or anyone in management about it,” LaCorte wrote.
“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.'”
The New Yorker did not return a request for comment.