Investigations of Sources: “We’ll investigate sources if necessary,” Levine says. I ask if that means he will hire a private investigator to look into a source’s background and life. “If I feel it’s necessary,” he says. “Obviously, on many stories we’ve tied our credibility to that source’s credibility. If I’m concerned about a story or a source I’ll check them out just like I will check out a celebrity or newsmaker.” That includes checking the source’s statements about themselves against what the investigator finds, and “seeing if they are who they say they are.”

Traditional Fact-Checking: Yes, they do this boring old kind of verification as well. Levine says there are roughly six people in the magazine’s Florida-based research/fact-checking department. They check quotes with people who have gone on the record and verify information such as the spelling of names, addresses etc. (The department was created after Carol Burnett won a judgment against the Enquirer in 1981). “The fact-checking department are not necessarily involved in vetting sources but they are involved with the editorial and legal process,” he says.

Say what you want about their brand of journalism, but you can’t say that Enquirer doesn’t care about vetting and verification. And, yes, I’d be willing to submit myself to Levine’s battery of tests to back that up.

Correction of the Week

“IN yesterday’s edition of the Irish Sun, we published a story about an arrest made by gardai in the investigation into the murder of innocent Noel Crawford.

“The photograph accompanying the story was stated to be a picture of the late Mr Crawford but it was in fact an image of the late Limerick criminal Noel Campion.

“We apologise unreservedly to the Crawford family for any distress caused by the error.

“We would once more like to point out that Mr Crawford had no criminal record.” – The Sun (U.K.)

If you'd like to get email from CJR writers and editors, add your email address to our newsletter roll and we'll be in touch.

Craig Silverman is the editor of RegretTheError.com and the author of Regret The Error: How Media Mistakes Pollute the Press and Imperil Free Speech. He is also the editorial director of OpenFile.ca and a columnist for the Toronto Star.