The former Fox News executive who killed a story that could have exposed the alleged affair and hush money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels with President Donald Trump just weeks before the 2016 presidential election explained his side of the story on Friday.
The New Yorker reported on Monday that former Fox executive Ken LaCorte stopped the story from being published in advance of the election. According to the New Yorker, LaCorte told the story’s author that it couldn’t run because Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News’ parent company Newscorp, “wants Donald Trump to win.”
The news resulted in widespread backlash against Fox and the New Yorker piece led to a decision by the Democratic National Committee to deny Fox News the opportunity to host any debates for Democratic presidential candidates in the 2020 race.
In an op-ed for Mediaite, a media news website, LaCorte, who ran editorial on for the digital operation at Fox News until 2016, wrote that the real reason the story was spiked was because the sourcing by entertainment reporter Diana Falzone was too thin.
“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,” LaCorte wrote. “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,” he added. “It lacked: any mention of payments, a hush money contract or any corroborating evidence beyond the two secondhand accounts.”
LaCorte also noted that the story “wasn’t close to being publishable” and that withholding publication “was a no-brainer.”
“I didn’t do it to help Trump and never said nor implied otherwise,” he wrote. “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.”
LaCorte also railed against New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer for not discussing the matter with him further before publishing her piece.
“In December 2018, Jane Mayer of The New Yorker asked me to talk about some of my experiences at Fox News,” he wrote. “I spoke at length with her over the months, yet she never inquired about the Stormy Daniels story at all.”