Newsweek Takes Heat for Interview With Ex-House Speaker, Admitted Child Molester Dennis Hastert

Writer Alexander Nazaryan is under fire for his decision to interview the disgraced ex-House Speaker

Dennis Hastert

On Thursday Newsweek published a lengthy piece about congressional dysfunction. The feature by Senior Writer Alexander Nazaryan included a unique twist, the first on the record comments by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert in two years.

Hastert, who ruled the house from 1999 to 2007, largely fell out of public view after after admitting he had paid off various men who he sexually abused while working as a wrestling coach at a high school in Yorkville, Illinois. Hastert ultimately pleaded guilty to a felony crime of “structuring” or deliberately withdrawing specific amounts of cash in order in order to skirt federal bank reporting requirements. The funds were being used to pay off a man Hastert had molested years before.

Though the Newsweek piece itself was on the prosaic side, the publications and Nazaryan came in for immediate fire for providing Hastert with a platform.

Politico’s Capitol Bureau Chief,  John Bresnahan‏, seemed particularly aggrieved as seeing Hastert’s name resuscitated.

“Everyone involved in this travesty should really examine how the hell something like this gets published,” he said in a nasty tweetstorm.

Nazaryan declined The Wrap’s request for comment.

It’s been a bumpy October for the legacy publication, now owned by IBT Media. Last week, the magazine was forced to publish a full article retraction of a story claiming that Marilou Danley, the companion of Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock, had used two social security accounts and had two husbands at once.

“The initial report was based on the marriage record of Danley, who was known under a different name when she married Geary Danley in Clark County, Nevada. Newsweek mistakenly matched that record to a different person who, like Danley, had also gotten married in Clark County and lived in California,” the magazine said in their retraction. “The mistake was revealed when a Newsweek reporter re-interviewed a family member of one of the women who had initially declined to comment in our story.”

A source familiar with the matter told TheWrap at the time that a surge of new writers hired in the last month without an increase in editors had led to sloppiness in the newsroom.