AP Smear of Trump-Backed Bernie Moreno Further Collapses

2024-03-16 10:09:53

An Associated Press smear piece attacking leading Ohio Senate candidate Bernie Moreno continues to unravel as more components of the debunked hit job are exposed.

The AP ran its original piece Thursday, attempting to link Moreno to a 2008 profile on a casual sexual encounter website called Adult Friend Finder. But as Breitbart News reported, the AP debunked the salacious allegations within its own story and withheld critical evidence further eroding the tale’s validity.

Additional information has now come to light invalidating the AP’s claim that it used geolocation data to bolster its nebulous claims. According to a second AP story explaining the original story’s publication:

Beyond the work email, the profile lists Moreno’s correct date of birth, while geolocation data indicates that the account was set up for use in a part of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where property records show Moreno’s parents owned a home at the time. The account’s username — nardo19672 — appears to refer to Moreno’s full first name, Bernardo, as well as the year and month of his birth in February 1967.

But a founder of Adult Friend Finder who claims he wrote most of the early code for the website said on Saturday that no such geolocation data exists.

“The AP report claiming that the available data proves the account was created in Florida is inaccurate, as location information is manually entered during the signup process,” Andrew Conru posted on X. “In reality, there is no geolocation data tied to the account.”

The original AP story noted that “[q]uestions about the profile have circulated in GOP circles for the past month.” However, it did not offer an explanation for why no other outlet published the story during that time as the contentious Senate race grew increasingly heated.

Criticism of the AP’s decision to publish the thin allegations has poured in, even from journalists. Mike Brice of the Toledo News said the AP “claiming geo data when none exists is another unfortunate black eye for journalism” and that the new information “seems to clear” Moreno.

Moreno issued a statement Saturday on the “now-debunked vile hit job,” blaming his opponent Matt Dolan for spreading the salacious allegations. “As he always does, Matt Dolan and his allies took their cue from the liberal media and echoed this disgusting smear,” Moreno said.

The statement included a quote from his wife, Bridget Moreno, further attacking Dolan. “For him to stoop this low, simply because he’s losing this race is disgusting, disgraceful, and he should be embarrassed,” she said. “If he’s willing to slander my husband simply to win a political election, he doesn’t belong anywhere near elected office.”

She continued:

His desperate attempts will backfire, and I have full confidence that Ohioans will see through his dirty tricks and elect an actual conservative to the U.S. Senate. Now that this story has proven to be 100% false, if Matt even has an ounce of integrity left in him, he will publicly disavow this slime coming from his family-funded Super PAC.

Former President Donald Trump, who has endorsed Moreno, is headlining one of his trademark rallies on Saturday in Dayton, Ohio, in support of Moreno.

Bradley Jaye is a Capitol Hill Correspondent for Breitbart News. Follow him on X/Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.

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AP Smear of Trump-Backed Bernie Moreno Further Collapses


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