« Watcha Gonna Do? | Main | Why visit the troops if you can't make it a photo op? »

Enquiring Minds

Well, the National Enquirer is being slapped around again -- this time for their "bust" of former Senator (as well as former vice presidential nominee, former presidential candidate, and potential Obama cabinet officer or running mate) John Edwards' roundezvous with a woman who -- it is alleged -- recently gave birth to his "love child."

The Enquirer story is based on solid facts: Rielle Hunter (the woman in question) did recently give birth, the father has not been formally identified, and Edwards did meet with her in a hotel. Further, they have their standard anonymous sources stating that Edwards and the woman had a long-standing affair, starting when she was filming a documentary on him and his campaign for president.

A lot of people have been wondering why this story is getting so little play in the mainstream media. Edwards, as I noted, is a former US senator, former vice-presidential nominee, former presidential candidate, and a possible Obama running mate or Cabinet officer. Also, he made his relationship with his wife (who is fighting cancer) a key point of his campaign.

The most common dismissal I've seen is that "it's just the Enquirer." After all, they're just a supermarket tabloid. They don't have any journalistic credibility.

I beg to differ.

I don't read the Enquirer, but I do know a little about their history. And to me, that gives them some credibility.

In 1981, they were sued for libel by Carol Burnett after they said she had been drunk in public. They lost that suit, and paid out a hefty sum. And they vowed that they would not make that mistake again.

Ever since then, the Enquirer has been exceptionally careful to not get caught in the wringer again. They double-check their sources, and make sure they have at least one person on the record making the allegation. And that caution has paid off.

The Enquirer -- probably in part because they don't subscribe to common journalistic ethical principles like "we don't pay sources" -- has nailed down quite a few major scoops over the year. They were all over the Monica Lewinski scandal, they broke a lot of the details. When OJ Simpson denied ever owning a pair of Bruno Magli shoes, the kind identified with the killer of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, they dug up a photo of him wearing a pair. They were also first with the word that Simpson had written a book called "If I Did It." They dug up the illegitimate child Jesse Jackson had fathered on one of his staffers, and that he had used his organization's money to pay her off. And they were the first to allege Edwards' affair with Hunter, and to say that she was pregnant with his child.

As I said, I don't read the Enquirer. Not even at the supermarket line -- I usually have few enough items to hit the express lanes, and don't have the time standing there. I don't really care for them.

But that dislike is based not on their lack of accuracy, but their news judgment. They are, when it all boils down in the end, a tabloid. They focus on celebrities and sensationalism and lurid headlines, and I don't care for that.

But as far as accuracy goes, the Enquirer has a damned good record. After the Carol Burnett lawsuit, they've gotten very, very careful -- kind of like the ex-smoker railing against the evils of tobacco. In fact, I'd put their record for accuracy above the New York Times, CNN, and the major network news operations.

You want to ignore the John Edwards/Rielle Hunter love child story? Fine. Just come up with a better reason than "it's just the Enquirer." Yes, they're slimy. Yes, they're bottom-feeders. Yes, they're paparazzi. Yes, they're scum.

But they have earned a reputation for accuracy, and it's only the fools who dismiss their reports out of hand.


TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/30692.

Comments (32)

Besides, Ponyboi IS a lawye... (Below threshold)

Besides, Ponyboi IS a lawyer. If there was no truth, where is his threat to sue?

JT, that is what I tried to... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT, that is what I tried to say the other day. I don't care for them (The Enquirer) but they do investigate and are correct. Get ready for the lefty's assailing you for going against Edwards. Yes, Edwards was maximizing the sympathy level with his support of his wife when her cancer came back. All the while he is schlepping a producer. That is two america's. ww

"But they have earned a rep... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"But they have earned a reputation for accuracy, and it's only the fools who dismiss their reports out of hand."

lol

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/7/25/9551/87873/937/556389

Why didn't the media cover this?!??! I am so outraged!!!

Your words here are so reminiscent of Noonan...
"Is it irresponsible to speculate? It is irresponsible not to."

The other damning item is t... (Below threshold)
kbiel Author Profile Page:

The other damning item is that the MSM did not say, "it's just the Enquirer," when it came to Rush Limbaugh's prescription drug problem.

8 out of 10 adult readers l... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

8 out of 10 adult readers locked in a waiting room with 24 different news stand titles to choose from, choose National Enquirer first.


Alan Butterfield is the Enq... (Below threshold)
Lura:

Alan Butterfield is the Enquirer reporter claiming to have witnessed Edwards in the hotel for a rendezvous with his alleged mistress.

"For those unfamiliar, Butterfield is a reporter for the National Enquirer-yes, the supermarket tabloid-and is the one who "broke" the gay sex-ring story about Ed Smart and several of his brothers. The story was based on information obtained from unnamed sources. Later it became known that some unnamed sources were paid $10,000 each. In the end, the information proved to be false and two reporters, Kevin Cantera and Michael Vigh of The Salt Lake Tribune, were fired due to their involvement in the fiasco."

'Academic freedom, The National Enquirer and U'
from The Daily Utah Chronicle, 10/23/03

http://media.www.dailyutahchronicle.com/media/storage/paper244/news/2003/10/23/Opinion/Academic.Freedom.The.National.Enquirer.And.U-537032.shtml

Funny, jp2, two of the thre... (Below threshold)

Funny, jp2, two of the three articles cited in that posting are NOT the Enquirer. Lura's on more solid ground, but in that case the Enquirer was conned by two of its own and settled up. So that actually helps me prove my point -- when they're dead wrong, going after them is very profitable. And Edwards has done a lot more scummy things for a buck than sue the Enquirer.

J.

So then if you don't go aft... (Below threshold)
jp2:

So then if you don't go after them, it means it's true?

Very interesting logic. Also means Bush has been having a booze crisis.

Irresponsible not to speculate...

A couple points.Fi... (Below threshold)
jim2:

A couple points.

First, Edwards cannot be dismissed as oout of the political picture for several reasons, including the ones you mentioned. Don't forget, also, that there he still "holds" Dem delegates (66, IIRC) who would supposedly be ready to support his nomination for President.

Second, the hotel security guard who Enquirer said escorted Edwards out of the hotel has confirmed the Enquirer account, per Fox:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,391426,00.html

Since the guard account mentions cameras and since the hotel likely had surveillance tapes, this story seems unlikely to go away.

Is jp2 the new "lee lee" no... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Is jp2 the new "lee lee" now?

An even bigger story in the... (Below threshold)
Dave:

An even bigger story in the Enquirer is that Bush has hit the bottle again!

Here's a quote:

Another source said: "A family member told me they fear George is 'falling apart.' The First Lady has been assigned the job of gatekeeper." Bush's history of drinking dates back to his youth. Speaking of his time as a young man in the National Guard, he has said: "One thing I remember, and I'm most proud of, is my drinking and partying.


But you can get the full scoop here:

BUSH'S BOOZE CRISIS

Jay,You have reach... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Jay,

You have reached a new low.

Enquirer story has been con... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Enquirer story has been confirmed. See Drudge. Enquirer files lawsuit against motel/security guards who removed them from the 'cat house'.

As MM says: BWAHAHAHAHAHA. Did I get enough HA's?

I call 48 hour rule. If at ... (Below threshold)
glenn:

I call 48 hour rule. If at the end of that time Silky has filed a large lawsuit or video of the alledged incident has surfaced we will know the truth. point is, if you are a Democrat the press will cover for you about almost anything as long as you don't make them look stupid or gullible.

"A lot of people have been ... (Below threshold)
fg:

"A lot of people have been wondering why this story is getting so little play in the mainstream media."

That's an easy one and in one word...DEMOCRAT

Filing a lawsuit has <a hre... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Filing a lawsuit has never been an indicator of innocence. Those who use that as your barometer are just lazy.

You should be far more conc... (Below threshold)
Dave:

You should be far more concerned about Bush's continued drinking. After all what if Bush gets a 3am phone call? Do you want somebody drunk making decisions that affect the lives of millions of people.

Another interesting tidbit ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Another interesting tidbit Jay....

One of the articles I read in like the last graph they mentioned that the reporters and the photog where all registered guests of the hotel. ... And Edwards was not.

That was really near brilliant to register the reporters. Now Edwards is the one "trespassing."

Perhaps it is SOP for these folks who use these borderline tactics... but I was stuck that someone had the presence of mind to do it.

Why don't you wait for the ... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Why don't you wait for the facts to emerge before hanging the guy? That's what responsible journalist do.

"You should be far more ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"You should be far more concerned about Bush's continued drinking. After all what if Bush gets a 3am phone call? Do you want somebody drunk making decisions that affect the lives of millions of people."

I HOPE that was sarcasm.

I HOPE that was sarcasm.... (Below threshold)
Dave:

I HOPE that was sarcasm.

Not in the least. According to Jay, "The Enquirer has a damned good record." And since the Enquirer reported that Bush's booze problem has returned, the possibility of booze affecting Bush's judgement would be very real. And the consequences far more devastating then Edward's problem. Other presidents have given up drinking during times of war for this very reason.

Having a drink to a democra... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Having a drink to a democrat is the same as lying, cheating and insulting your cancer ridden wife and kids. See how it goes. Dave we are convinced you are not a bright person, please do not provide anymore proof. ww

Oyster,The Command... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Oyster,

The Commander In Chief is always on duty. One never knows when or where the next crisis will occure. The question should be, is Bush unfit to command and should he be releived from duty. If his drinking problem has returned, the answer is yes, Bush is unfit for duty and should be relieved.

Having a drink to a demo... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Having a drink to a democrat is the same as lying, cheating and insulting your cancer ridden wife and kids. See how it goes. Dave we are convinced you are not a bright person, please do not provide anymore proof.

Thats not true. Having a recovering alcoholic as a president fall off the wagon during a time of war is far worse.

1. Were not talking about a single drink. Bush is a recovering alcoholic. Alcoholics can not stop themselves at one drink.

2. What Edwards is being accused of doing only affects his family. Bush's drinking affects world security. If Bush gets a 3am phone call he could need every ounce of judgement to divert a major crisis.

Dave, not to give credence ... (Below threshold)
epador:

Dave, not to give credence to your accusations any more to the ones regarding the Edwards kerfuffle, if we apply your standards to the legislative branch, who have to VOTE for war to be declared, and appropriate for war needs, then would there be a quorum on either side of the aisle? I'm talking about alcoholics who are drinking.

And for those wanting to to... (Below threshold)
epador:

And for those wanting to torpedo Edwards for his wayward genitals, what would happen if we applied strict marital fidelity standards to all elected officials? How many empty slots would we have to suddenly fill on both sides of the aisle?

Now I don't have a problem with deposing those who repeatedly QUIBBLE and LIE about such things, but that's a different matter. If we used verity rather than verisimilitude in evaluating and choosing our elected officials, we'd have quite a different government and society.

It is the Commander In Chie... (Below threshold)
Dave:

It is the Commander In Chief who receives the 3am phone call and has to make quick key strategic desicions that affect the outcome of the war. He must be prepared to do so at all times.

Personall I think all politicans should give up drinking during times of war. It's a small sacrifice compared to those our soldiers are making.

No matter what the subject ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

No matter what the subject of the post, some trolls always try to turn it into a Bush Bash on nearly every thread.

It's boring. Not good for a blog.

No matter what the subje... (Below threshold)
Dave:

No matter what the subject of the post, some trolls always try to turn it into a Bush Bash on nearly every thread.

You guys make it so easy. Your arguments are so often based on flimsy logic that can be applied to republicans just as easily.

Are the any photos or video... (Below threshold)
Iggy:

Are the any photos or video of this supposed incident?

If not, why not? Don't Enquirer paparazzi have cameras?

Dave, then it WAS sarcasm. ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Dave, then it WAS sarcasm. Originally. But after your subsequent commentary I'm beginning to wonder.

The whole issue is that it's the Enquirer. The Enquirer! You're focusing a whole lot more attention to the possibility of one story being true while downplaying the other.

Again - they both came from the ENQUIRER. Let it go at that.

I don't think the mainstrea... (Below threshold)
Robert Paul:

I don't think the mainstream media can sit on this story for too much longer. Sooner or later this thing is going to pop and Edwards is going to have to address it. I know the clips of the pre-presidential campaign that Rielle and Edwards worked on together had disappeared off the internet for a while. It seems they're back up but who knows how long, with Edwards experience as a trial lawyer I wouldn't be surprised to see them taken down again in a few days.

John Edwards - Webisode 1
http://www.webcastr.com/videos/politics/edwards-webisode-1-plane-truths.html

John Edwards - Webisode 2
http://www.webcastr.com/videos/politics/john-edwards-missing-webisode.html

John Edwards - Webisode 3
http://www.webcastr.com/videos/politics/missing-edwards-webisode-3-plight-of-uganda.html

John Edwards - Webisode 4
http://www.webcastr.com/videos/politics/missing-edwards-webisode-4-plugs.html




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy