Fox News goes silent on Matt Gaetz and his sex trafficking scandal

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Fox News has not even mentioned the congressman's name in nearly two days.

Fox News Channel has avoided mentioning or reporting damaging details of the allegations of sexual impropriety against Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) for over 41 hours.

Gaetz has not been mentioned on the conservative network since Wednesday evening, according to a search of the TVEyes media database.

The last time Gaetz's name was mentioned on Fox was during a report on "Special Report with Bret Baier" at 6:22 p.m. on Wednesday. The brief 32-second report noted Gaetz's denial of the story, first reported by the New York Times on Tuesday, and included his unverified claim that the story is actually about a plot to extort money from his family.

The Times initially reported that the Department of Justice opened an investigation last year into whether Gaetz had sex with a minor and paid for her to travel with him, possibly violating sex trafficking laws.

After the story broke, Gaetz appeared on "Tucker Carlson" on Fox to defend himself and deny the allegations. During that interview, Gaetz attempted to draw Carlson into his story, suggesting that Carlson had met a woman Gaetz was involved with.

"You and I went to dinner about two years ago," Gaetz said. "Your wife was there, and I brought a friend of mine, you'll remember her."

"I don't remember the woman you are speaking of or the context at all, honestly," Carlson said.

Carlson was reportedly "pissed" about Gaetz's comments, a source told CNN.

After Gaetz's appearance, Fox reported on the initial allegations covered, but new details have emerged since Baier's Wednesday — and the network has ignored them.

On Thursday night, the New York Times reported that the Gaetz investigation involves multiple women who say they were recruited online for sex and received cash payments for those activities. Some of the women say they took ecstasy, which is illegal, with Gaetz, according to the Times.

Joel Greenberg, an ally of Gaetz who has been indicted on federal sex trafficking offenses, introduced Gaetz to some of these women, a source close to the investigation told the Times.

The paper also reported that it has reviewed text messages and payment receipts involving the transactions.

Additionally, CNN reported on Thursday that Gaetz showed nude photos and videos of women he slept with to fellow lawmakers in Congress. One video "showed a naked woman with a hula hoop," CNN reported.

None of this has been reported by Fox News. Its audience also hasn't been told about a report from the Daily Beast that Gaetz allegedly accompanied Greenberg to a government office where an official was purportedly making fake IDs.

Until this week, Gaetz was a frequent guest and subject on Fox News. A search of TVEyes finds 102 mentions of Gaetz on Fox News between March 1 and April 2 of this year.

Gaetz often appears on panel segments of Fox shows like "Hannity Tonight," "The Next Revolution," and "Fox and Friends," which are then posted as clips on Gaetz's frequently updated official YouTube channel. In his appearances, Gaetz regularly promotes Donald Trump and so-called "MAGA" policies while attacking Democrats.

Gaetz's ubiquity on cable news led to reports earlier this week — before the scandal broke — that he might resign from Congress to pursue an on-air position with one of the right-wing networks, possibly Newsmax TV.

Gaetz claimed he has had discussions with several outlets, including Fox, but a spokesperson for Fox News denied it, telling Salon, "No one with any level of authority has had conversations with Matt Gaetz for any of our platforms, and we have no interest in hiring him."

Robert Herring, CEO of One America News, also said he was not interested in hiring Gaetz.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.