The only fault which its critics can ascribe to The National Enquirer is that it strikes while the iron is hot. The establishment media prefer to strike when it is cold, very cold. They call their reticence prudence when it is nothing more than complicity. Such is their hubris that they can sit on a story for a year or more, and, when they finally deign to report it, assert that it only became "fit to print" when they deemed it so. In the Edwards' case that moment came only when Edwards himself was compelled to admit the truth of The Enquirer's story to Bob Woodruff so that the scandal could be put to rest before the start of the Democratic Convention and Edwards and family airbrushed preemptively from the proceedings.
The Enquirer scooped everybody on this story because it paid for it. The so-called professionals scoff at The Enquirer because it pays its sources, which supposedly violates a journalistic canon which is nowhere to be found in the annals of journalism and which all great editors and reporters have "violated" both before and after the dissemination of news became some kind of vocation. They expect, of course, to be paid themselves for what they report but are loathe to pay anyone else. Can anything be more hilarious than the churlishness of Woodruff and Bernstein when Deep Throat finally emerged from the shadows to outscoop them and collect a long overdue pay day (which would have been theirs had they been left to disclose his identity posthumously)? Money is a less toxic motivation than most. Hatred, envy, the desire to wreak vengeance -- all these can disfigure the truth more and are less reliable than the profit motive. Yet informants with the basest motives can pass muster so long as they do not expect to be compensated for their information while those with the most transparent motive of all are shunted aside as mercenary. None of it makes any sense unless one regards newsgathering as the exclusive domain of journalists, or, rather, their own monopoly. That, of course, would be very foolish indeed.
Something else distinguishes The Enquirer from its mainsteam competition. Although decidedly conservative in its defense of family values -- because it publishes sleeze does not mean that it is on the side of the sleezeballs -- The National Enquirer is not a right-wing or even a politically-driven publication. If I remember correctly it was also the first to expose Newt Gingrich's infidelities. Gingrich went a step farther than Edwards when he asked his cancer-stricken wife on her deathbed for a divorce so he could marry his mistress. Well, maybe Edwards is working his way up to that.
When the MSM finally reported the Edwards story it repeatedly asked in mock indignation: "What would have happened if Edwards had been the Democratic nominee instead of Obama?" Having crowned Obama as the nominee long before he had secured the nomination, and even when Hillary's overwhelming lead in super delegates made it unlikely that he would be the nominee if the Michigan and Florida delegates were seated, the media's speculation about a "what if Edwards?" is the most lackadaisical of all hypotheticals. And it begs a response: "What if any of the stories which The Enquirer has published about Barack Obama over the last year proves as devastatingly accurate as its reportage on Edwards?"