Yesterday, seemingly out of the blue, Matt Drudge headed his website with an image from an upcoming National Enquirer front page. Because Drudge is archived, I can show you the page.
With the Iowa caucuses two weeks away, and Edwards developing some steam, that’s a pretty provocative and potentially damaging story… even if untrue. Using Google news, I started scouting around for additional details. There were none easily found even at the National Enquirer’s site.
It’s easy to write this stuff off, except I believe it was Drudge who broke the Monica Lewinsky story. Beyond that, this is not Generoso Pope’s Enquirer, breathlessly tracking Elvis at K-Mart.
This afternoon, the story has slid from it’s top-of-the-page perch, but is still posted by Drudge. The John Edwards headline now links to the Enquirer’s reporting, which includes denials and a claim of paternity from Andrew Young (a former Edwards insider, not the former Atlanta mayor and congressman).
With Google, it’s possible to work backwards on a story. In this case, it was like a small brush fire which smoldered for months before bursting out. There were rumors in September, published on Huffington Post (in a fascinating story “Edwards Mystery: Innocuous Videos Suddenly Shrouded In Secrecy,” where cover-up, unexpected silence and obfuscation made the reporter more, not less, curious) and other bits and pieces, mostly on thinly read blogs.
That there is scant ‘legitimate’ news coverage of this story nearly a full day after it broke implies the story can’t be verified… in other words, in its original version it’s probably not true.
Will this damage Edwards? Is this a political hit job or maybe the result of a ‘rush to publish?’ Or, maybe it is true.
Enquiring minds want to know!