Minutes after O'Reilly's shocking meltdown with Alan Colmes - and when I was certainly in no mood to give him any props - he rightly questioned Tucker Carlson over those anonymously-sourced accusations about Senator Robert Menendez consorting with prostitutes. You may recall I criticized O'Reilly for denouncing anonymously-sourced stories - as he worked them into a discussion anyway - and for subsequently ignoring the recent evidence undermining the accusations. Well, file this under "Credit Where Credit Is Due." However, O'Reilly did allow Carlson to waffle on the question of whether the accusing women took money for their stories and he allowed Carlson to skate on media reports that undermine the Daily Caller's allegations.
As Media Matters wrote about the segment:
(Carlson) dodged the question of whether the women interviewed by the Daily Caller might have been paid by political operatives to tell their story, as evidence from ABC News and The Washington Post now suggest.
Responding to O'Reilly's inquiry about whether the allegations were fabricated, Carlson stopped short of declaring that the women the Daily Caller interviewed were not paid to tell their story. Instead, he said that he was satisfied that the person who brought this story to the Caller "received no money from anyone," later saying, "Did our source take money? ...[T]he answer is, no, he didn't."
In addition, Carlson spent most of his time attacking the Washington Post story while ignoring the even more damning reporting by ABC News. And O'Reilly let him do it. Still, I'll give O'Reilly credit for saying the following:
I have a lot of trouble with the prostitution angle of this story because you put forth some allegations but you don't have a name attached to them. ...You know what this world is. They'll say anything for money. There might be people trying to set up Menendez and I think that has to be taken into consideration. And now the Washington Post basically says it's a bogus story about the prostitutes. And you say?
After Carlson called the Washington Post story "ludicrous," and defended The Daily Caller's reporting as "straightforward, traditional journalism," O'Reilly continued to question whether the allegations had been "manufactured." He said, "You know, I just don't know. ..I'm a little queasy with the prostitution angle on this." However, he did make a point of noting the FBI investigation into Menendez' donor. "I think that's the bigger, bigger story," he added.
So while I give credit to O'Reilly for his overt skepticism, I can just imagine how he'd grill someone who reported a similarly story on, say, NBC News, and then dodged questions about whether or not the accusers had been paid.