It’s also worth noting that ABC—which was apparently the first news outlet to catch wind of the prostitution allegations, and which spent months trying to independently confirm them—found the women’s claims so dubious that it avoided reporting the prostitution claims, even as other mainstream outlets were giving them prominent billing. This stoked the ire of conservative media watchdogs, such as the Media Research Center, which took ABC to task in a report last month:

ABC has yet to do a single morning or evening story on the brewing sex scandal. Menendez actually appeared on the January 27 edition of ABC’s This Week. But guest host Martha Raddatz failed to ask about the controversy. There was only one mention of the scandal, on the February 3 This Week, when ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, asked Democratic Senator Harry Reid: “Are you comfortable with [Menendez] serving as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as these investigations continue?…There are some relatively serious allegations here. Are you confident he did nothing wrong?”

In retrospect, ABC News looks pretty smart. Unfortunately, others were not as cautious: As I reported yesterday, according to LexisNexis, Menendez’s name has appeared alongside the word “prostitute” in more than 900 news stories, blog posts, columns, and broadcasts in the past several months.

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Mariah Blake writes for the United States Project, CJR's politics and policy desk. She is based in Washington, DC, and her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, Salon, The Washington Monthly, and CJR, among other publications.