The main stream media is mostly all aghast to utter National Enquirer and Pulitzer Prize in the same breath. The Pulitzer Prize board initially scoffed at the submissions of the National Enquirer, citing technical reasons but then did an about-face and decided their submissions did indeed fit their criteria to participate for the prestigious journalism award. Many readers, bloggers and some smaller media outlets as well, some who never laid eyes on an issue of the National Enquirer, often called a supermarket tabloid, tabloid trash etc. jumped on the bandwagon of “tabloid or not if their reporting and writing deserve it, they should receive a nomination. And so they did.
They are being nominated for both investigative journalism and national news reporting for the John Edwards scandal. The National Enquirer picked up on the story way back in 2007 and pretty much relentlessly kept at it for a few years. It started initially with a tip and snowballed with many staff reporters digging and of course in many cases paying. The main stream media frowns on checkbook journalism and in many cases feels people will say anything given enough money. The other side of the coin, according to the National Enquirer staff is “people only get paid after a tip or story is found to be credible and true.” However you view it, in the John Edwards case they definitely got what they paid for.
While Edwards was busy writing -off the Enquirers’ headlines of him while he was still in the running, as “tabloid trash” the Enquirer reporters were many steps ahead of him already figuring out his little fling with Rielle Hunter had culminated in a pregnancy. Still the main stream media didn’t touch any of this with a ten foot pole. By the time Edwards finally dropped out of the race and admitted to an affair the regular news outlets found themselves quoting and giving credit to the National Enquirer. As Edwards went on news show claiming he was not the father of Hunter’s child the Enquirer persisted and the main stream media backed off. The Enquirer was correct again.
I don’t think it is so much that the Enquirer pays for information as the main stream media barely pays their reporters. As newspapers and news outlets fall by the wayside because of sliding ad revenue the people who report and write the stories are cut. Whole investigative teams are cut because they say they can’t spend the manpower on a few stories. They instead concentrate on the quick read, quick soundbite and even quicker in-depth reporting.
The Edwards story wasn’t just about a stupid politician doing yet again another stupid thing, it had far wider reaching implications. He is presently under investigation concerning his use of presidential campaign funds. Some think he used this money to keep a lid on Hunter and not disclose their child. It wasn’t until the Enquirer was going to disclose DNA testing that he admitted he was the father. This is a man that lied to the American people every step of the way and he COULD have been a presidential nominee or more… Call it a tabloid or whatever you want-they did their job as the watchdog . Which is what journalists are supposed to do.