What you need to know: Rolling Stone’s February hit piece by Hunter Walker, which centers on Teddy Daniels, relies on unnamed sources to achieve its political ends.
The same courts in which Daniels’ ex-wife filed claims about Daniels categorically rejected the very same claims.
Still, Rolling Stone moved forward with their reporting, and reported those baseless and utterly rejected claims as fact.
Rolling Stone is the same publication that defamed University of Virginia students and a dean, earning itself a defamation lawsuit it ultimately lost.
Between The Lines: Far-left press like Vice, The Guardian, and Rolling Stone have keyed in on a Lt. Governor race in Pennsylvania that usually doesn’t draw national attention.
National outlets have used partisan language mixed in with unfounded allegations in an effort to discredit an America first candidate.
Why it matters: The illiberal left has become dangerous, according to The Economist. The left’s trend of destroying political opponents such as Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas continued into the post-Obama era with Brett Kavanaugh, and Donald Trump. “Don’t underestimate the danger of left-leaning identity politics,” The Economist warns.
The Big Picture: Teddy Daniels is the only pro-Trump candidate for Lt. Governor in Pennsylvania this primary election cycle, per Spotlight PA.
SHODDY JOURNALISM AT ROLLING STONE
In keeping with the breakdown of journalistic ethics guiding the writers and editors at Rolling Stone magazine, the formerly music focused publication has continued its foray into politics with a months-in-the-making hit piece on Pennsylvania’s only Trump-backing Lt. Governor candidate, Teddy Daniels.
The poorly sourced Rolling Stone article published in February attempts to smear the leading Lt. Governor candidate in Pennsylvania’s Republican Primary.
After reviewing documents related to each of Hunter Walker’s claims in the Rolling Stone story, The National File can confirm that the Rolling Stone report has been officially debunked.
The combat-wounded Daniels, whose Purple Heart sits on President Trump’s desk, is a former law enforcement officer and football standout from Pennsylvania who played his college football in the Big East at the University of West Virginia, lining up against the likes of Warren Sapp.
It is noteworthy, then, that Rolling Stone would editorialize out of the gate, using the verb “haunts” to describe Teddy’s long service of military and law enforcement service.
Rolling Stone’s conclusion that Daniels is “[haunted]” by claims that he “harassed” his ex-wife, and the magazine’s reliance on non-existent evidence in support of that claim, rates as a journalistic failure.
Without asking Daniels whether he is indeed “haunted” by these unfounded claims, it would be impossible for Hunter Walker or Rolling Stone to determine whether that claim is in fact true.
Rather, headlines written in this style are not considered to be journalism, but are rather considered by most of the leftist on-line fact checkers to be “opinion,” or “fiction.”
Since the claim cannot be confirmed, and rather is the opinion either of the opinion writer, of Hunter Walker, or of his fiction editor at Rolling Stone.
According to Journalism Standards published by the City University of New York’s Newmark J-School Research Center, the standards of journalism require that reporters consider what CUNY calls its “Five Pillars of Verification.”
Those pillars include provenance, source, date, location, and motivation.
Rolling Stone’s Walker hinges his entire article on the provenance of the claims, which, in most cases, happened to be court documents.
On the surface, court documents might seem to be damning.
The source in each of those court filings and claims against Daniels, however, was an aggrieved ex-wife who dragged out a custody battle for nearly a decade and a half, who repeatedly filed petitions which were repeatedly shot down by the very same courts.
Yet Rolling Stone wants readers to project the authority of the courts onto the baseless claims they reprint.
The date of the claims further poses problems for Rolling Stone’s reporting.
Furthermore, These poorly founded claims made by Hunter Walker and Rolling Stone were all decades old, ranging from 1999 to 2005, and some overlapping into 2011 emails.
The location, or context, of these claims poses a large problem for Hunter Walker and Rolling Stone as well. The context is a custody battle.
As countless millions of Americans will attest, there is no expectation of impartiality between two warring parties in the context of a custody battle.
Additionally, the motivation for the very existence of these claims is clearly in dispute.
Rolling Stone failed to produce the name of the person making the claims, and in the case of the ex-wife, they offered no other sources to corroborate the claims.
And finally, the same courts in which these multiple rejected complaints were filed rejected the claims repeatedly. Given that Daniels’ ex-wife multiple legal actions against him failed on numerous occastions, it is unclear how any of it is either timely or newsworthy, once the best practices of journalistic standards are applied.
National File has reached out to Hunter Walker himself, as well as his editors, to inquire as to whether they considered any of these factors when they decided to create a news item which could be so easily debunked.
THE ANATOMY OF A ROLLING STONE HIT PIECE
The poorly sourced Rolling Stone article published in February attempted to smear the leading Lt. Governor candidate in Pennsylvania’s Republican Primary has been thoroughly debunked by the National File.
The National File can confirm that The Rolling Stone hit piece on Teddy Daniels is a smear job on par with the Russia-Gate “Piss” Dossier paid for by Hillary Clinton in an effort to derail Trump’s campaign and administration.
National File is publishing this categorical fact check refuting Rolling Stone’s original article after reviewing multiple source documents related to thinly sourced and ultimately dubious claims made by Rolling Stone.
The poorly sourced and thoroughly debunked Rolling Stone hit-piece attempted to paint Daniels as an abusive spouse who repeatedly failed to pay child support.
Those claims have now been thoroughly debunked by National File.
Rolling Stone even discredits its own claims at multiple points in the article.
Crucially, Rolling Stone focuses primarily on two decades-old incidents separated by more than ten years between them.
In addition, Rolling Stone either negligently failed or intentionally chose not to mention that Daniels actually overpaid on child support, which has been verified by documents reviewed by National File.
Further, Rolling Stone failed to mention that Daniels worked under a police chief with long documented Neo-Nazi ties, who has a “history of retaliatory behavior” when attempting to paint the former officer as a bad cop.
Rolling Stone’s article primarily hinged on a late 90’s legal battle between Daniels and his ex-wife over custody and visitation rights pertaining to the couple’s child.
Court officials publicly rebuffed the claims made by Daniels’ ex-wife during the custody battle.
After allegations were made against Daniels, a presiding court official ultimately rebuffed Daniels’ ex-wife’s claims, saying that the woman had previously agreed that Daniels could visit their child in a consent order, as even the Rolling Stone article was forced to admit.
Rolling Stone admitted that the claim was tossed.
Daniels’ ex-wife, whom Rolling Stone refused to name, had accused the former police officer of having previously engaged in threatening conduct.
The Stones reporter Walker even added that the woman’s attorney “had no recollection of the case from two decades ago.”
Over a decade later, in 2013, the court denied Daniels’ ex-wife’s petition, saying she “could not meet the required burden of proof” about the alleged physical abuse a decade earlier after the ex accused him of failing to pay child support and physical and mental abuse in order to obtain a protection order.
Daniels, who served on active duty with the U.S. Army, was in Colorado beginning in 2011, served in Afghanistan in 2012, and in 2013 was back to his duty station in Colorado. Daniels was never even in Pennsylvania during the time period in question.
Rolling Stone also based an entire harassment claim leveled at Daniels on a single email sent by Daniels to Daniels’ ex-wife’s supervisor, fourteen years after their divorce.
That lone email clearly proves that Daniels was not harassing his ex-wife, and in contrast shows that Daniels’ tone was polite and matter-of-fact. “Could you please forward me her office number? I am filing papers next week for her to be served by the Sheriff at work since I have no other contact info,” Daniels wrote in his email. “I do not wish her or the hospital any public embarrassment and hopefully with her office line, things can be worked out before things are brought into the public eye,” he wrote.
The ex-wife’s petition included a follow up email from the hospital’s director of security, who “strongly urge[d]” Daniels not to “continue to harass” his ex-wife “at her place of employment.” The email was the only evidence of the alleged “harassment” that was reported on by the outlet.
CHILD SUPPORT: PAID
According to documents reviewed by National File, Daniels actually overpaid his child support.
Rolling Stone failed to do the necessary journalistic legwork to ascertain whether the claims made by Daniels’ ex-wife about him were based in reality.
As it turns out, Daniels was even reimbursed by the state for overpaying his child support after an administrative error led to an erroneous record including missed payments. Documents reviewed by National File confirm that Daniels received at least eight checks from the Child Support Administration of Maryland after the error was corrected and he was found to have overpaid.
Thus, the claim by Daniels’ ex-wife that he is “a chronic offender of continuous failed payments” for child support has also been thoroughly debunked.
Furthermore, National File has reviewed a criminal background check on Daniels, that was conducted in 2022, and found that the former police officer has no criminal record.
If Daniels failed to pay child support, he would have been criminally charged.
Reimbursement checks addressed to Teddy Daniels after the administrative error was corrected by the Maryland Child Support Administration
TEDDY’S LAW ENFORCEMENT CAREER vs. ROLLING STONES’ FICTION
Relying solely on claims made by Daniels’ ex-wife, Rolling Stone published the uncorroborated and false claim that Teddy Daniels was terminated by a police force he worked with for nearly seven years early in his career.
Daniels was never fired from any police department. What is more, Rolling Stone did not produce any documents to verify the alleged termination claim. Daniels ultimately served with the Bel Air Police Department from 1999 until 2006.
While with the department, Daniels won an award for his stellar law enforcement work in 2002 when he was named “Law Enforcement Officer Of The Year.”
An awarded presented to Daniels in recognition of distinguished service with the Bel Air Police Department
In an effort to turn the unfounded allegations of one un-named source into a narrative, Rolling Stone’s Walker cited claims by Daniels’ ex-wife that he was “fired” from a police department to support the publication of their allegation.
Upon conferring with law enforcement officials, National File has found that as Daniels’ career progressed, it would have been difficult for him to obtain multiple positions within law enforcement, let alone be commended for distinguished service, if he had a record of misconduct.
ROLLING STONE’S HIDDEN WHITE SUPREMACIST PROBLEM
Rolling Stone insinuates that Teddy Daniels was suspended and that his decision to leave had to do with his suspension.
According to sources inside the department at the time, however, it was widely known that Combs was an open white supremacist, and that Combs did not take kindly to those who spoke up about his white supremacism.
The fact that Rolling Stone placed any emphasis on an alleged incident in Minersville in 2010, shortly before Daniels left law enforcement and enlisted in the U.S. Army, but failed to mention Combs’s widely reported white supremacy problem indicates that Walker or Rolling Stone either knew Combs was a white supremacist and wanted to hide it, or that they were ignorant of that fact.
At the time, Teddy Daniels was employed by the Minersville Police Department in South Central Pennsylvania. While employed by Minersville PD, Daniels worked under a police chief, Michael Combs, who has repeatedly been accused of having ties to white supremacist and Neo-Nazi organizations.
According to an Allentown Morning Call article from 1996, Combs, who was a captain at the time, was known to wear a swastika pinned among commendations and awards decorating his chest.
Multiple officers testified that Combs would frequently wear the pin and that it was a massive point of contention in the department. Combs was also known to have a history of retaliatory behavior and would often target employees he disliked.
From the Allentown Morning Call:
“Capt. Ronald Manescu, who was Combs’ partner at one time, recounted recently that he arrested a black man in 1981 for disorderly conduct for being belligerent and verbally abusive toward Combs. Manescu said the man told him that the reason he got upset was that he saw a swastika on Combs’ uniform.
Manescu said he looked closely at Combs’ uniform when the man told him that. ‘I saw a circular pin with a swastika on it,’ he said, recalling that he pointed at the dime-size red and black pin and said to Combs: ‘That’s the reason this guy is so (ticked) off at you. Because of that.’”
Additionally, fellow officers, former policemen and an assistant district attorney told the paper that Combs would frequently decorate his office with Nazi paraphernalia. He was also known to distribute white supremacist literature, membership application and make derogatory remarks about minorities. In one instance, Combs reportedly waved a burning Puerto Rican flag in front of a Latino officer’s face, according to the Allentown Morning Call.
According to a local paper, Daniels was suspended from the department over “unspecified allegations” in August of 2010, and eventually left the department just a few months later.
National File has reached out to Hunter Walker and Rolling Stone to ascertain whether they knew that Combs was a white supremacist, and whether they believe that officers under the employ of a white supremacist should remain silent and continue working for a known Nazi sympathizer.
After leaving Minersville PD, Daniels joined the U.S. army and was wounded in Afghanistan. Daniels received a Purple Heart for the campaign and eventually entered private security. In order to do so, Daniels was forced to undergo numerous federal background checks.
These rigorous checks go so far as to obtain testimony from neighbors as to the applicant’s character. Daniels last passed one of these background checks in 2021, when he was rewarded with a private detective license.
“The court finds that the Petitioner is of good character, competency and integrity and further that the petitioner has met all of the statutory requirements for the issuance of a private detective license,” reads a court document from 2021. It would have been nearly impossible for Daniels to obtain such a license if he had a record of misconduct while in law enforcement.
A court record showing that Daniels passed a rigorous federal background check in 2021