House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) last month sent a letter to former Fox News host Diana Falzone asking for her to provide documentation about the conservative cable network's decision not to run reports about Stormy Daniels' alleged affair with President Donald Trump. Although Falzone has a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) with Fox, her attorney said NDA's exclude government investigations.
According to a report from The New Yorker, Falzone had specific details about Daniels' alleged affair with Trump and the amount he allegedly paid her to keep her quiet.
“She had the amount, she had the corporate names that the original settlement was named in, she had the dates of the affair and she asked me to confirm those details," Daniels' attorney, Keith Davidson, told MSNBC.
One of the Oversight Committee representatives, Ted Lieu (D-CA), said he believes in subpoenaing people who have NDAs if it allows them to speak freely:
I am authorized to make the following statement: If you feel silenced by an NDA and need help from a Congressional committee, please contact, or have your attorney contact, the House Judiciary Committee. https://t.co/wBk9w6pn0i— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) March 13, 2019
While Democrats are quick to say that Fox News was trying to "burry the story" to protect President Trump, former Fox News executive Ken LaCorte said the story lacked any credible evidence. LaCorte wrote a piece in Mediaite, explaining his decision to put a lid on the story (emphasis mine):
Two weeks before the 2016 presidential election, as the editorial head of Fox News online, I reviewed a draft news story that said porn actress Stormy Daniels had confirmed having an affair with Donald Trump a decade earlier. The only problem was … Stormy hadn’t said that.
Daniels and her associates were playing a bizarre cat-and-mouse game with Fox News and other outlets, trying to get their story out without fingerprints and, ultimately, without enough proof to publish.
We and others practiced solid journalism. Now, that’s being spun in an effort to prove the opposite.
On October 18, I got my first look at the Stormy Daniels story written by Fox reporter Diana Falzone, who primarily covered celebrity news for print and video. It wasn’t a detailed investigative piece as the media has portrayed this week, but a 9-paragraph story that sorely needed backup.
It included: a two-word confirmation – “it’s true” – from an unnamed Daniels “spokesperson,” an anonymous quote from a friend who said she’d dropped off Daniels to meet Trump at a hotel, and quotes from The Dirty owner, who said that he had spoken to Daniels in 2011 and she had confirmed the affair.
It lacked: any mention of payments, a hush money contract or any corroborating evidence beyond the two secondhand accounts.
On top of that, Stormy Daniels herself had publicly denied the whole thing, a denial she would maintain for another year.
The story wasn’t close to being publishable, and my decision to hold it was a no-brainer. I didn’t do it to help Trump and never said nor implied otherwise. It was such an easy call that I never even informed my direct boss or anyone in management about it.
Still, our editors told Falzone to keep digging until, a week before the election, Stormy and her friends went radio silent.
There are so many things wrong with the Democrats' take on this. For one, they're launching investigation after investigation because they want to find something to run that makes Trump out to be a bad guy. The Russia probe proved to be one giant waste of time and taxpayer money so now they're seizing upon whatever they possibly can.
The Democrats have had an issue with Trump taking on the mainstream media and calling out their fake news. They've gone to bat for CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post and The New York Times. They're all about protecting the "freedom of the press" except when it comes to Fox News. You know why? Because Fox bucks their narrative and actually waits until evidence is there to corroborate what's being said. Executives like LaCorte weren't going to publish a news story that could ultimately be false. They wanted to have their ducks in a row with proof in their hands. That's not "protecting the president." It's called being a responsible journalist.
One thing to keep in mind though: the freedom of the press allows each outlet to have their own editorial agenda and point of view. Editors can decide if and what they publish. Story selection happens and that's up to each outlet to decide what's right for their editorial point of view and their audience. There is absolutely nothing that said Fox had to run with this story, even if there was corroborating evidence (which there wasn't).
Democrats are moving to get explanations for editorial decisions made by a private entity and it's absolutely dangerous. This moves us one step closer to the government controlling what information is put out there and what information is kept quiet. It's what other parts of the world – Hello, China! – have done to control their population and keep dictators in power. The freedom of the press is supposed to serve as a check on government. The watchdog function the media has would no longer exist if various government committees and groups had say in every story that hit the front page or made it on network television.
Here's Cummings full letter to Falzone:
This piece has been updated to include Ken LaCorte's title as a former Fox News executive.