We understand that political scandal sells, but today’s media frenzy regarding the latest allegations and events about VOXXI founder Dr. Salomon Melgen and Democratic Senator Bob Menendez are quite frankly, nuts.
Here is the scoop. Today both CNN and Politico reported a Univision segment that one of the young women specifically accused by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) through an email by a “Peter Williams” as a prostitute involved with Menendez, denied that she was ever a prostitute or ever met Menendez.
According to CNN:
The woman, identified as 21-year-old Yaneisi Fernandez, says she’s never met Menendez or worked as a prostitute.
“I’ve never participated in those activities, I don’t know those people or that man,” Fernandez told Univision.
Menendez is battling allegations of improper travel and parties with prostitutes, claims he’s vehemently denied. He’s been in the spotlight as scrutiny escalates over his relationship with a generous donor whose plane he took to the Dominican Republic and who has business ties in the Caribbean nation.
The documents released by CREW identify Yaneisi Fernandez as one of the prostitutes connected to Menendez, allegations she told Univision were completely false.
“No, that is completely false. I don’t even know that man. Not even through TV have I seen him,” she said. CNN is not able to verify Fernandez’s story.
A translation of the Univision interview with Fernandez was e-mailed to reporters by staffers in Menendez’s Senate office. The translation was confirmed to be accurate by CNN.
An official working for Menendez told CNN the video “is pretty damning to those who continue to peddle ‘Pete Williams” allegations and all this garbage.”
“Real people get hurt,” the official said.
In the meantime, the Miami Herald responded to the story with the following post, called “Did Univision really talk to suspected prostitute in Bob Menendez case?” Are you ready for this wonderful reporting? Here is what the Herald said:
We looked for prostitutes matching this and other descriptions and had no luck, although there’s evidence that some of them existed.
But Univision apparently found a Yaneisi Fernandez (slightly different spelling although she looks like a Yaneisy Fernandez on Facebook) in the Dominican Republican town of Matanzas. And she says she’s no hooker, never has been and her mom says she has a certificate to prove her daughter, about to be wed, is a virgin (really, she says that).
“I’ve never been to Casa de Campo, I’ve never participated in those activities, don’t know those people or that man,” the young lady says.
So this is either a bombshell of a scoop. Or it might be the height or irresponsible reporting.
Either Univision interviewed an alleged prostitute. Or it spoke to some poor private country girl and asked her if she was a whore. And then it put it on television.
Univision doesn’t say how it reached her. It also doesn’t note that the ethics watchdog group CREW mentioned its doubts about the young woman it found on social media who looks 1) a lot like the one Univision spoke to and 2) doesn’t resemble the young woman described by the tipster:
We found social media profiles for a Yaneisy Fernandez in Santo Domingo who seems to be around the right age, but in photographs accompanying the profile, the young woman does not necessarily match the physical description Mr. Williams provided (this is, of course, subjective, but the young woman we located did not appear fair-skinned, light-eyed or particularly thin).
Now, let’s step back for a minute. We know that there are still several questions that should be asked about Menendez and Melgen, especially the issue of possible influence peddling, but can we all pause and see what is happening? We have now reached a point where a major media outlet is actively trying to locate alleged prostitutes and another outlet claiming that the initial story of the outlet looking for alleged prostitutes is “irresponsible reporting” because that other outlet admits that they have actively looked for prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.
Step away from the story, media. Let the FBI and the Senate Ethics Committee do its job. If something is found, you will be the first to know, we are sure of it. If nothing comes out of it, then you will know that, too. This story has officially become ridiculous. And it’s all the media’s fault.