The New York Times tells of how the National Enquirer put together the John Edwards story.
Pulling together reporters to dig into the rumor, Mr. Levine began something that once seemed unthinkable: not only the downfall of a presidential candidate with a meticulous image, but, for the sensational tabloid, something resembling respectability.
By being the first and, largely, the only publication pursuing the Edwards story through his denials of the affair and of fathering a child out of wedlock, The Enquirer is under consideration for a Pulitzer Prize, and it has strong support for its bid from other journalists. The success has Mr. Levine considering opening a Washington bureau to look for more dirt among politicians.
But if reporting something that the MSM ignored – seemingly in order to protect a favored politician – what does that say about the respectability of the MSM? Or at least about their credibility?
Did the MSM learn their lesson?
“There’s no worse crime in journalism these days than simply deciding something’s a story because Drudge links to it,” according to NBC’s chief White House correspondent, Chuck Todd. Really? No worse crime? Not Dan Rather’s use of forged documents in a one-sided 60 Minutes hit piece intended to cost President Bush re-election? Not the plagiarism and fabrications of former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair and the New Republic’s Stephen Glass?
No. They wouldn’t want to use Drudge. But wait. Didn’t he break another story about a politician favored and protected by the media? Just asking.