Media Won’t Talk About Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez’s Corruption Trial

Media Won’t Talk About Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez’s Corruption Trial

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez’s upcoming corruption trial has gotten very little attention from members of the media. When they do talk about it, they like to leave out the fact he’s a Democrat.

On Sunday, The New York Times published a 1,288-word article about the trial, which begins Wednesday, without once mentioning Menendez’s political party affiliation. The newspaper of record then stealth-edited the piece hours later. The updated version identifies the New Jersey senator once in the fourth paragraph as a Democrat.

Menendez faces 12 counts of corruption charges, including several bribery and fraud charges. Prosecutors say Menendez took bribes from Dr. Salomon Melgen — a wealthy doctor who was convicted of Medicare fraud earlier this year — throughout his tenure as a U.S. senator. E-mail exchanges between the two men reportedly show that Menendez frequently travelled in Melgen’s private plane to the Dominican Republic for free. In exchange, the Democratic senator reportedly lobbied on behalf of the doctor to government agencies and bureaucrats to settle a $9 million billing dispute between the eye-doctor and the government, among other things.

“Although Menendez did not pay Melgen back for the lavish gifts in money, he did pay him back using the currency of his Senate office to take official action to benefit the South Florida doctor,” prosecutors said, according to Politico

As columnist Phil Kerpen pointed out via Twitter last week, the news arms of the big three networks hadn’t mentioned Menendez by name in months. And the last time they did, it wasn’t even about the criminal case, according to Media Research Center.

Last Friday, a U.S. district court judge denied Menendez’s request to arrange trial dates around his schedule as a senator so he could vote on legislation in Washington DC. Yet that news garnered little media attention among the cable news networks.

On MSNBC, “Morning Joe” was the only show to talk about Menendez’s upcoming trial at all this past week, when the hosts interviewed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and asked him a question about the case.

Throughout the months of August and September, MSNBC has covered Menendez’s trial a total of four times on air. CNN, HLN, and CNBC have not covered it at all on air. By contrast, Fox News and Fox Business have discussed Menendez’s trial at least 18 times throughout the month of August and September.

If Menendez is convicted, Christie could choose a Republican to fill the vacant Senate seat, strengthening the GOP’s thin majority in the U.S. Senate.

Bre Payton is a staff writer at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter.
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