Friday, August 08, 2008

MSM's failure to follow-up on the Enquirer's Edwards-Hunter stories

National Review's Byron York writes about it. I comment below the star line.

York begins - - -

I spent part of Thursday corresponding with people at major news organizations that have not reported the John Edwards “love child” story. Why haven’t they mentioned the scandal? Are they doing their own investigating of the National Enquirer’s allegations? Are they under management directives not to report it?

Most of the conversations — all of the revealing ones — were off the record; like anyone else, people in the press aren’t particularly eager to speak publicly about topics that make them uncomfortable.

But from the exchanges, it’s possible to piece together some of the rationales journalists are using to continue not to report the Edwards story — and to see how the whole strange episode will end. So without quoting anyone or betraying any confidences, here is what appears to be going on:

First, the journalists don’t believe that news organizations should just uncritically pass on the reporting of the Enquirer. They have a point; the Enquirer has been quite accurate on some stories and inaccurate on others. One could argue that the tabloid’s reporting on this particular story contains a wealth of detail that remains un-denied by Edwards or anyone else. Still, there’s nothing wrong with news organizations being skeptical of the source.

But the question is not whether the news organizations should simply repeat the Enquirer’s reporting. It’s whether they are actively pursuing the story, doing their own reporting in an effort to confirm the basic allegations that Edwards had an affair with campaign staffer Rielle Hunter, and then had a baby with her, and is now covering it up. And here it appears — from this completely unscientific survey — that there is not a lot of independent reporting going on.

Instead, some big-time journalists seem to believe the Enquirer has nailed the story, and they are waiting for the tabloid to release the full results of its reporting. In the meantime, they are staying away from the story because it appeared in the Enquirer.
In other words, they’re waiting for the Enquirer to fully report a story that they wouldn’t otherwise report… because it’s in the Enquirer.

That could have changed by this point.

If news organizations had thrown a lot of resources at the story in an attempt to confirm (or disprove) the Enquirer’s allegations, it’s likely some of them would have come up with something in the two and a half weeks since the Enquirer reported the story on July 22. Instead, there has been nothing. ...

York's entire article's here



One excuse most MSM have used for their failure to investigate and report on the story has to do with "there were no witnesses."

That's not true as far as the Enguirer's July 22 report is concerned. Five witnesses are named: two Enguirer reporters, Bill McGovern who the NE says drove Hunter to the hotel, Rielle Hunter and John Edwards.

Remember Anita Hill's sexual harassment charge against Clarence Thomas?

Hill and her media flacks who rushed her unsubstantiated charge onto the front pages of America's newspapers and demanded the Senate Judiciary Committee investigate it (which the committee did , with the hearings televised), have never produced a single witness to what Hill charged, unless you count Hill and Thomas as witnesses.

The MSM's treatment of the Edwards-Hunter story has demonstrated once again the old MSM double standard.

Hat tip: Jack in Silver Springs


Anonymous said...

Jack in Silver Springs -
I had totally forgotten the Anita Hill accusations which nearly derailed Clarence Thomas's nomination. Once again, an example of the favoritism played by the press - Republicans must be guilty of something but Democrats are pure as the driven snow or else what they have done in their private lives is not germane to the good that they have and will do as public servants.