Edwards, Enquirer, Self-Examination…

Politico’s Michael Calderone explains “why I also didn’t write on John Edwards:”

It was decided that writing on the rumors — without confirming them — simply validates the Enquirer, a tabloid that’s broken celebrity scandals wide open but still isn’t regarded by many as a credible news source. And while the Enquirer deserves credit for some great shoe-leather reporting, the magazine still plays by a different set of rules than Politico or other outlets. And that includes the willingness to pay sources for verifiable information, which Perel said today on “Reliable Sources” was a tactic employed in their Edwards investigation…

Politico reporters worked at confirming the story independently on several fronts…

The New York Times’ Public Editor analyzes the Times’ approach to the story as follows:

But I think The Times — like The Washington Post, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, major networks and wire services — was far too squeamish about tackling the story. The Times did not want to regurgitate the Enquirer’s reporting without verifying it, which is responsible. But The Times did not try to verify it, beyond a few perfunctory efforts, which I think was wrong.


Richard Berke, an assistant managing editor, said that The Times has sometimes struggled in an increasingly tabloid news environment to figure out how to deal with such stories. “We are still feeling our way on this,” he said…“We run the risk of looking like we’re totally out of it,” Berke said, “or we’re just like the rest of them — we have no standards.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.