NYT: Edwards Scandal Not Our Style, Unproven McCain Affair Is

Astounding hypocrisy alert!

Although the New York Times published a lengthy front page hit piece in February alleging without any proof that John McCain had an affair with a lobbyist eight years ago, it is now claiming that it chose not to report on the John Edwards love child scandal because it's “classically not a Times-like story.”

I guess sex scandals are only "Times-like" when they're about Republicans.

Ths is so absurd that even Times ombudsman Clark Hoyt wrote about it Saturday (emphasis added throughout, h/t Hot Air, photo courtesy ABC News):

Before Edwards’s admission, The Times never made a serious effort to investigate the story, even as the Enquirer wrote one sensational report after another: a 2:40 a.m. ambush by the tabloid’s reporters at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles after Edwards spent hours in a room with Hunter and her baby; an allegation of $15,000 a month in “hush money;” a grainy “spy photo” of him with a baby. [...]

The Times did not want to regurgitate the Enquirer’s reporting without verifying it, which is responsible. But The Times did not try to verify it, beyond a few perfunctory efforts, which I think was wrong. Until the ABC report, only one mainstream news organization, McClatchy newspapers, seemed to be making headway with the story.

Not that it would have been easy. David Perel, the editor of the Enquirer, said, “This is a very hard story to prove, and I think that has frozen people in place.”

It is also the kind of story that The Times seems instinctively to recoil from, just as it ignored such stories in its own backyard as A-Rod and Madonna and Christie Brinkley’s ugly divorce, and played down the “love child” scandal involving New York City’s only Republican congressman, Vito Fossella, earlier this year. But Edwards was different. When the Enquirer first published its allegations, he was a major presidential candidate with a compelling personal story that included a wife of 30 years with incurable breast cancer. [...]

Still, Edwards-Hunter was “classically not a Times-like story,” said Craig Whitney, the standards editor.

Times editors said that when the first Enquirer story appeared and they could not verify it after fairly cursory inquiries, they left it alone. “I’m not going to recycle a supermarket tabloid’s anonymously sourced story,” said Bill Keller, the executive editor.

That's interesting, Bill, because your February 21 hit piece on McCain was anonymously sourced. In fact, Hoyt actually addressed it:

Keller and Stevenson said it was wrong to equate the McCain and Edwards stories, as so many readers and bloggers have. The editors saw the McCain story as describing a powerful senator’s dealings with lobbyists trying to influence government decisions, including one who anonymous sources believed was having a romantic relationship with him.

So, why are anonymous sources bad when it's a story about a Democrat sex scandal, but perfectly acceptable when writing about a Republican's alleged affair?

Yes...that's a rhetorical question.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.