Sympathy for Elizabeth Big Reason Media Held Back

Mainstream media, not knowing what to do, fumbled reportage
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2008 3:24 PM CDT
In this image made from video and provided by Chuck Olsen, Rielle Hunter films John Edwards after a rally in New Hampshire on Friday, Dec. 29, 2006.    (AP Photo/Chuck Olsen)
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(Newser) – The mainstream media found itself in an awkward bind when evidence of John Edwards' affair began trickling in, writes Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post. Why such a half-hearted effort to confirm the story? Kurtz doesn't think the liberal bias charge holds up and says sympathy for Elizabeth Edwards, disdain for the National Enquirer, and even staff cutbacks for such investigations played bigger roles.

Big media's reluctance to jump on every rumor is a good thing, but in this case it ultimately made itself look "clueless," Kurtz writes. "Perhaps there is a middle ground where media outlets can report on a burgeoning controversy without vouching for the underlying allegations, being candid with readers and viewers about what they know and don't know."