THIS IS HILARIOUS – AT 5:48 P.M. ET: Yeah, I can just see it – the editor of the National Enquirer stepping up to the podium at Columbia University to receive the Pulitzer Prize. But, you know, the guy might deserve it. From the Washington Post:
The executive editor of the National Enquirer says he plans to enter his paper's work on the John Edwards scandal for a Pulitzer Prize.
"It's clear we should be a contender for this," Barry Levine said by phone Thursday, hours after the former presidential candidate admitted what the paper had been reporting all along: that he is the father of Rielle Hunter's baby. "The National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid, was able to publish this reporting."
While the staff never doubted its reports that Edwards had fathered a daughter with his former campaign videographer, Levine said, "there is vindication, finally. Mr. Edwards kept the story alive much longer than it needed to be kept alive with his denials. He has only himself to blame."
While the Enquirer stories may or may not be prize-winning material -- the paper's most significant disclosures came in 2007 and 2008, and this year's Pulitzers will honor material published in 2009 -- there is no question that the tabloid scooped the rest of the media world.
When the Enquirer first reported in 2007 that Edwards had had an affair with Hunter, the former North Carolina senator dismissed the account as tabloid trash. The rest of the media, having no independent proof, steered clear of the story, even as Edwards, aided by his cancer-stricken wife Elizabeth, was mounting an aggressive campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
COMMENT: The rest of the media had no independent proof because it wasn't interested in the story. Edwards was posing as a populist liberal, and he got a pass. It wasn't the first time, and it won't be the last.
The Enquirer won't get a Pulitzer, but the incident is instructive: Sometimes the best journalism is done by the least likely people. Often the the most mediocre, the laziest, the most conventional journalism is done by "respectable" journalists who go to tea in Georgetown and never dig beneath the surface, especially when favored people are involved.
You know, maybe Columbia could do us all a favor by awarding a special Pulitzer to the Enquirer, just to put a scare into the usual suspects. Like chicken soup, it can't hurt.
January 22, 2010