Journalism 2010: NYT praises National Enquirer for covering story it refused to

The tabloid was playing Ping-Pong journalism, batting the ball across the table and seeing what bounce it got. Soon, bloggers identified the woman as Ms. Hunter, based on the description of her in the article — she had been a videographer working on Mr. Edwards’s campaign…

In its Dec. 31 issue, The Enquirer splashed its scoop across three pages, “John Edwards Love Child Scandal,” with seven reporters’ bylines.

Then: nothing. There was virtually no mainstream media follow-up. Today, some news organizations say they couldn’t back up the allegations, and others say the reports seemed untrustworthy, coming from a tabloid. The other reason was political. By late January 2008, Mr. Edwards had ended his presidential bid.

“When the story hit with a thud, after all that work, there were a couple of days of disbelief and trying to push our contacts at other media — ‘go after the story, it’s there,’ ” Mr. Perel said. “Once it became clear that Edwards was just going to dismiss it with dissembling remarks, ‘tabloid trash,’ that’s when we regrouped and I said, ‘This is not over.’ ”