Gawker posted this a few days ago. I meant to call it to your attention. It begins - - -
If you want an efficient, capsule summary of why you haven't read anything in newspapers or seen anything on major network news about how John Edwards ran from National Enquirer reporters in a hotel parking garage, about how he hid in a bathroom for 15 minutes, and about how he was holed up overnight with his alleged mistress and love child — an awesome, amazing story — parse these three revealing sentences from Washington Post "gossip" columnist Roxanne Roberts, in response to one of many persistent questions about the scandal in an online chat yesterday:
“The Enquirer is not going to sell papers with nuance or sensitivity. I need more reporting from a credible source before I'm prepared to pass judgment. I'm not sure Edwards is a real candidate for the VP job, but if so will have to address this one way or another.”It's important to keep in mind, when reading this odd answer, that traditional news media used to have something of a lock on the dissemination of information, and allowed themselves to be convinced that they had a bizarre duty to filter even accurate information of interest to their audiences, and to do so in the service of reinforcing various social institutions and norms, even though their jobs, their Constitutionally-protected jobs, were to do just the opposite, to disseminate information and challenge long-cherished moral codes.
This self-shackling, this corruption of a trade, has become fundamental to American news media, and in the quote above we see Roberts concisely showcasing her own deep-seated instincts.
First, there's a dig at the Enquirer, the implication that the publication threw aside the nuanced truth to sell newspapers. This sort of reflexive swipe itself lacks nuance, and ignores history. In 1994, the Times declared that, on the OJ Simpson story, the Enquirer "stands heads and shoulders above [any other publication] for aggressiveness and accuracy."
Slate's Jack Shafer in 2004 offered support for the tabloid's standards, if not its presentation, in "I Believe The National Enquirer/Why Don't You?," noting, "if you correct for stylistic overkill, you find a publication that is every bit as accurate as mainstream media."
Granted, the supermarket tabloid has stumbled, including with a 2006 libel case involving Kate Hudson, which it lost, and a retracted story involving false allegations that Cameron Diaz was cheating. But so have plenty of other publications, many with fewer than the Enquirer's 1 million readers. …
The rest of Gawker's post’s here.
I’ve posted before refuting the “It’s in the National Enquirer” MSM excuse for covering up a story concerning a prominent Democrat. See, for example, my post NE's Edwards-Hunter tryst story's verifiable.
How much legwork does it take to confirm with police that NE reporters filed a criminal complaint accusing Beverly Hilton Hotel security of roughing them up while protecting Edwards and spirting him out of the hotel?
What does it take to ask the police whether they’re investigating the complaint?
If yes, can they say what they’ve learned so far? Have they interviewed John Edwards, the principal witness to the alleged roughing up?
If yes, what did he say?
If the police aren’t interviewing Edwards, why not?
Folks, I’m sure you can think of many other questions reporters could ask to verify or refute the story including, “Hey, why don’t we call John Edwards and ask him some questions?”
Hat tip: Walter Abbott