If Alex Pareene and Doree Shafrir think they can go around taking all the blame for Gawker ignoring the John Edwards story last fall, they’ve got another think coming.
The day the National Enquirer story broke on the Edwards affair (almost two weeks after Mediabistro did a nice pointed little Rielle Roundup), I had this IM conversation with a Beltway reporter:
It went on from there. We dug around a little, but not enough. By the time we started getting anything actually new on the story, Pareene (at the time still mired at swampy Wonkette) was all over it. When you’re working for a stable of niche blogs, the thinking is it doesn’t make sense to have two sites running down the same story when they could be using that time to produce unique content. Seems reasonable, if frustrating and limiting.
Sooooo we let it go, barring the arrival of an email from Rielle Hunter herself delivering photographic evidence of her affair with the senior Senator from North Carolina. Which would have been pretty fucking sweet.
Wait! Could this mean it’s still Pareene’s fault—that speedy little devil—that Gawker didn’t stay on the story? Sigh. No such luck.
So: Why didn’t we or anyone else stalk this juicy, potentially huge story for all it was worth, like the Enquirer? It certainly wasn’t out of party loyalty or our undying John Edwards crush—the guy’s a dick and always has been. Son-of-a-millworker, my foot and ass.
The press is stumbling all over itself to give its readers an explanation (sort of like the one I just gave above!) They run the gamut from diminishing resources and manpower to cutbacks, layoffs, the primaries, the dubious credibility of both Hunter and the Enquirer, and the fact that nobody knows a politician who hasn’t fucked around, so how is that news?
Well, it’s sure as hell news once someone sluttier than you hits it out of the park. The best excuses so far are detailed descriptions of the reporter’s long-standing personal knowledge of Hunter and her flimsy connection to the Edwards campaign. Super job! You tooootally knew! You were on the inside, man! And you did…what? Nothing? Nothing.
The reason we ignored this story is that we are idiots. I even apologize, actually. There. Now (and yes, I am that chick), as Jed Bartlett/Aaron Sorkin used to say: What’s next?