Today's contribution from the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page, who also serves on the newspaper's editorial board, is "Enquirer scores— but about the aliens." Clarence frets about mainstream media credibility under attack for not pursuing John Edwards's affair:
The blogosphere is abuzz with criticism of the mainstream media for allegedly failing to pursue the story of Edwards' alleged "love child" when the National Enquirer first reported it last year. In fact, major media did try to confirm the story without using the Enquirer as a source. It appears most of us in the MSM tend to be hung up on stodgy old-fashioned virtues like facts. The Edwards bombshell became problematic when none of the main parties in the story would go on the record to confirm the allegation. If you're going to use unnamed sources, which is questionable enough as a practice, at least make them your own sources, not those of a supermarket tabloid.
Nevertheless, now that the Enquirer bagged Edwards before anyone else, probably because of an insider's tip, bloggers from the right-wing loonasphere already are using the Edwards scoop to grant unearned credibility to other tabloid stories. These include loads of claptrap about Sen. Barack Obama, among other political newsmakers.
Page's denunciation of "the right-wing loonasphere" should be read with his own politics in mind. Clarence is a standard issue liberal and has been one for a very long time. Back in the 1980s he admitted that he'd been criticized for being too hard on President Ronald Reagan. Another Page column at the time was typical:
If you think about the poor too long, you might not think so well of the Teflon President`s policies. Though he has yet to advocate starvation, one would be hard pressed to find anyone since Ebeneezer Scrooge who has asked the poor to put as much water into their daily soup.
In a statement that should assume its rightful position among his great bloopers--right up there alongside missiles that can be called back and trees that cause air pollution--Reagan said poor people get hungry because of their ``lack of knowledge`` of available food programs.
He ought to know. There once was a time when the federal government helped hungry people get the knowledge they needed. Beginning with the presidency of Richard M. Nixon, the federal government required that states provide such ``outreach`` services as home visits for the elderly and then it matched state expenditures. Then along came the Reagan administration and
federal outreach funds were eliminated during the big 1981 budget slash.
Who would have guessed it would take Ronald Reagan to make Richard Nixon look good!
Given his agenda, it's little wonder Clarence would focus on "the right-wing loonasphere" while having little criticism for the Democratic Underground, Daily Kos, and other highly credible sources. It must be because he and his cohorts are " hung up on stodgy old-fashioned virtues like facts."
Sure. I believe that.