A robocall from someone posing as a Washington Post reporter offering money for “damaging remarks” about Alabama Republican Roy Moore is fake, the Post said Tuesday after a local station in Alabama reported on it.
The call ― an apparent attempt to discredit the Post’s reporting on sexual assault allegations against the U.S. Senate candidate ― was received by at least one person, Pastor Al Moore of Creola, who reported it to local CBS affiliate WKRG-TV.
In the recording, someone identifying himself as a Post reporter named “Bernie Bernstein” says he’s calling to “find out if anyone at this address is a female between the ages of 54 to 57 years old willing to make damaging remarks about candidate Roy Moore for a reward of between $5,000 and $7,000.”
The Post’s executive editor Marty Baron released a statement to the station saying the call is a hoax.
“The call’s description of our reporting methods bears no relationship to reality,” Baron said. “We are shocked and appalled that anyone would stoop to this level to discredit real journalism.”
The robocall comes days after the Post’s bombshell report that in 1979, a 32-year-old Moore initiated a sexual encounter with a girl when she was 14. On Monday, another woman came forward accusing Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16 and he was in his 30s.
While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for Moore to suspend his campaign, far-right outlet Breitbart spent days coming to Moore’s defense, largely by attacking the Post’s reporting and unsuccessfully attempting to poke holes in the allegations.
Alex Marlow, the site’s top editor, even suggested the Post may be conspiring to take down Moore’s campaign.
“It does look more and more like some sort of a politically coordinated attack on Judge Moore,” he said Monday on the site’s radio show. “The fact The Washington Post really put the effort in to track down these women and try to convince them to come forward, tell their story. Why did they want them to come forward? Because they just love good journalism? You guys believe that?”