By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The Enquirer targets the Palins

It seems like a political lifetime ago, but it was only last month that the media were flagellating themselves for having ignored the National Enquirer’s (accurate) reporting about John Edwards’ extramarital affair.

Now the Enquirer is going after Sarah Palin and her family. Should the media dive in and try to verify the Enquirer’s claims? Or should they stay silent and risk being made fools of once again? I’m not sure — but that’s the question I try to answer in the Guardian.

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  1. Rick

    I would believe your curiosity of how the media will act on the accusations if I wasn’t a reader of this blog.It just looks like you wanted a place to reprint the lurid unsubstantiated gutter level slime the National Enquirer is “reporting”. Anything about Gov. Palin and her family coming from you is tainted by your obvious dislike of the woman.You could have made every point in that article without repeating what as of now is just rumors.The media acted properly with the Edwards affair story, repeating what is printed in the National Enquirer without having proof is risky to ones reputation.Bloggers like to use the “it’s out there” defense, but I think an Assistant Professor of Journalism should have higher standards than “it’s out there”

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Rick: “Unsubstantiated slime”? Yes. “Just rumors”? No. What we are talking about is reporting based on anonymous sources from a sleazy publication that often gets this sort of thing right.Just a few weeks ago, conservatives were ripping the media for not following up on the Enquirer’s Edwards stories. The Enquirer is a force that must somehow be reckoned with.

  3. Rick

    “The Enquirer is a force that must somehow be reckoned” I agree with that.But where do you draw the line?Would you repeat what they print no matter what? Or just pick what you repeat based on your politics?The media has to stop worrying about who had it first and start worrying about who has it right.

  4. LFNeilson

    If Prof. Speers had some yellow chalk with him as he passed through the Pearly Gates, he has just used it all up. The only proper way to deal with rumors is to either ignore them or investigate them. Quoting them not only multiplies the pain, but also lends credence and publicity to the rag that published them.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Larz: Agreed. But … in what way are these “rumors,” as opposed to anonymously sourced stories by a sleazy publication that often gets these things right? I don’t see how the Enquirer’s stories qualify as rumors.I refer you to what Kurtz (not Kirtz!) said in analyzing the Edwards fallout. I’m not sure how that would work, but I think he’s on to something.

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