Saucers of Mud

July 25, 2008

You Can’t Even Wrap Fish with an Online Newspaper

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 12:04 pm

I’m omitting some links from this story both so as not to encourage the miscreants and so as not to publicize the rumor any more than needed. You can find out what I’m talking about by searching online for the quotes, if you want.

A blogger at a certain online publication has long been pushing a rumor about a certain Democratic politician having an extramarital affair. (This blogger has a track record of swallowing — no not that — shaky rumors about Democratic politicians having affairs.) Recently, the National Enquirer, which was the original source for the story, claims to have discovered the politician visiting the woman in question in a hotel; its photographers chased him around the lobby. The online publication’s media columnist wrote an angry column about how the mainstream press is ignoring the story, comparing it to coverage of Larry Craig’s arrest in the Minneapolis airport. He says:

Now, as I’ve already said, the two stories aren’t completely analogous. A cop charged Craig with a misdemeanor, and he pleaded guilty. There’s no denying the police blotter is always news, and there’s no denying that Craig deserved the hypocrisy scrutiny. [redacted], as far as we know, is guilty of nothing beyond running away from tabloid reporters in a Beverly Hills hotel stairway in the wee a.m. after visiting a female friend in her room. [In fact, we don’t know what he was doing in the hotel — MW] Also, all of the Enquirer’s published “evidence” of [redacted] affair comes from unnamed sources.

He goes on to say:

So why hasn’t the press commented on the story yet? Is it because it broke too late yesterday afternoon, and news organizations want to investigate it for themselves before writing about it? Or are they observing a double standard that says homo-hypocrisy is indefensible but that hetero-hypocrisy deserves an automatic bye?

That’s my sense.

This man is a media columnist? Perhaps, yes, news organizations would like some additional confirmation about the alleged affair before they run with a story based only on the word of the National Enquirer. Perhaps they went with the Craig story when they did because an arrest report is more trustworthy than a bunch of unnamed sources in the Enquirer. It was rumored for a while that Craig was gay — I’d heard the rumors, and I’m not particularly close to Idaho political sources — but no newspaper ran the story until the arrest report became public. (Not to mention that Craig has favored all sorts of legal sanctions on gay people, which has no analogy in this case.)

Especially rich is that the media columnist says (between the two snippets I quoted earlier):

If [redacted] had no affair and fathered no love child, it should be easy to erase the hypocrisy charge, and the press owes him that, pronto.

Yes, because it’s extremely easy to prove that something has never happened. It should be easy for this columnist to erase the charge that his colleague sometimes blows goats, and he owes it to him to do that, pronto. Or to shut the fuck up.

[Note: I’m not saying that the politician in question has not had an affair; I have no idea. I’m saying that it would be irresponsible for major newspapers to discuss the allegations when there’s no evidence in support of them beyond the National Enquirer. I’m also not saying that he or his colleague blows goats.]



  1. This just in–the politician admits the affair, not the baby.

    Comment by Matt's mom — August 9, 2008 @ 1:44 pm

  2. Sure, but that doesn’t excuse the ‘journalists’ who thought that papers should be reporting this story when it was still a National Enquirer exclusive.

    Comment by Matt W — August 9, 2008 @ 3:26 pm

  3. I don’t think the papers should have shied away from it because only the National Enquirer had reported it. Of all the tabloids, the Enquirer is actually fairly likely to base scandalous reports on fact. The papers should have downplayed the story because it’s of only scandal value and Kaus (because he’s basically shallow) has been hyping it even after it became totally uninteresting – scandal involving guy who isn’t running for President! Oh noes!

    After reading this remarkable article in the LA Times by someone who knew the chickie involved:,0,4015084.story
    I do think that the former Presidential candidate may have taken the title of “dumbest f–king guy on the planet” away from Doug Feith. Also, everybody who called Monica Lewinsky a bimbo owes her an apology.

    Comment by Ben — August 10, 2008 @ 9:25 pm

  4. John Edwards might well be (or have been) in consideration for Obama’s v-p candidate. Some are saying this finishes his career, but some women I know have said, WHO CARES? about the affair–especially in view of John McCain’s past peccadillos. (Or is that an Arizona dish featuring small mammals and hot peppers?)

    Comment by Matt's mom — August 11, 2008 @ 11:45 am

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