How will the media cover the Robert Menendez scandal?

NJ Senator is battling allegations that he was involved with prostitutes


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 04, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly. In the "Weekdays With Bernie" segment tonight, as we reported last week, Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, now the head of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, under investigation for links to a Florida doctor who may have committed fraud.

Senator Menendez flew on Dr. Salomon Melgen's jet at least twice, did not reimburse, apparently violating senate rules. When the story broke, he did write a check for more than $50,000.

But that was long after he took the flights. Far worse than that are allegations that underage prostitutes may have been connected, I should say, with Menendez and the doctor in the Dominican Republic.

Senator Menendez vehemently denies that but the democrats are on the defensive.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC HOST: There are some relatively serious allegations here. Are you confident he did nothing wrong.

HARRY REID, U.S. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Oh, I have confidence he did nothing wrong. But that's what investigations are all about.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're fine with him serving while the investigation goes forward.

REID: Oh, sure. He is, he is -- he has been and will be a great member of that committee.


O'REILLY: Joining us now from Miami, the purveyor of, Mr. Goldberg.

So, do you think the mainstream media will aggressively cover this story. And, remember, it's not just about Menendez.


O'REILLY: But this doctor -- he gave his house to Bill and Hillary Clinton, huge donations to the Democratic Party, lots of influence within that party, a lot of money to Menendez himself. How do you think this is going to come down.

GOLDBERG: Let me tell you what we already do know. The three major networks, broadcast networks, ABC, NBC and CBS, on their flagship broadcast, the Monday through Friday evening newscast, have not covered this story at all.

On the evening newscast on ABC, NBC and CBS on the weekday edition, haven't covered it at all. So, when conservatives say, sure, if this were -- if Menendez were a conservative republican and not a liberal democrat, you'd show a lot more interest.

I think they're probably onto something. Here is where it gets tricky, Bill. If I were in charge of one of the networks, and I got a tip that Menendez was involved with adult prostitutes in the Dominican Republic where prostitution is legal, I would not cover the story.

No interest whatsoever. Unless a politician is spouting from the bible and telling us how much family values means to him, it's not of no interest to me.

Here's where it gets even trickier. If I got a tip from a shady source and it was "backed up," I put that on quotation marks, by two prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, that he was involved with underage girls, I wouldn't cover that either.

I know nothing about these sources and I'm not going to go on the air, or in print, with such an explosive allegation, unless I know who the sources are and if I know that they're telling the truth for sure. And I know nothing about them.

Where this story becomes legitimate, and here is where you picked it up on The Factor last week, is when the FBI gets involved in the investigation. Then it becomes a legitimate story.

And the three networks, on their evening newscast, Monday through Friday, haven't covered that aspect either.

O'REILLY: Now, that's interesting, because you said it exactly right. We got the story earlier last week. And we didn't do it because of exactly what you said.

You can't be throwing out all this will lascivious crap which the media does all-day long now, the Internet does it, the tabloid shows do it, without some kind of back-up, that's legitimate back-up that you can hold accountable.

Two anonymous prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, they could be anybody. And, you know, you can't do that.

But once the FBI gets involved and once he writes the check, Menendez writes the check, all right, --

-- that he acknowledges he didn't tell anybody about the plane trips, which you can't do, all right, so he should be sanctioned by the Senate for that, all right.

And then the FBI is carting things out. And then you see that this doctor, what a sleaze ball this guys is.


He's got the liens against him. He didn't pay his taxes. He's throwing money all over the place. And, you know, he's got a casa de campo house and he's here, he's there.

Then you've got to cover but the networks decline. Any excuse for them declining.

GOLDBERG: To put the -- geez, I hate to do this because I don't think this is the reason. But to put the best face on it, they're uneasy with the sex part because of the same reasons that --

O'REILLY: So, you don't have to cover that part. Just cover the fraud part.

GOLDBERG: They should cover that. I totally agree. That's -- it's a legitimate news story when a good friend of a United States senator is under FBI investigation for what he allegedly or -- I take that back, for what he may have done on his own, but he didn't just do stuff on his own. They flew down in the same private jet down to the Dominican Republic.

O'REILLY: They're pals.

GOLDBERG: Yes, so that becomes a legitimate story. And the fact that the networks haven't covered that that tells me that they are not going to make too big a deal out of this under any circumstances.

O'REILLY: They may have to though. Because it is a federal crime for any American to go anywhere and have sex with underage people.

And we're going to get into that tomorrow. We're going to define that.

GOLDBERG: And if he is charged with that crime, of course, they'll cover that. But they are not going to be rushing to cover anything that they don't have to cover.

O'REILLY: All right, Bernie, thanks very much. We appreciate it

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