Getting Less Squeamish By the Minute

Less than a month ago, the Public Editor of the New York Times, Clark Hoyt, addressed his paper’s failure to cover the John Edwards “love child” story until after Edwards’ interview with ABC News, in which he confessed to the Rielle Hunter affair. Hoyt explained that this kind of story just isn’t up the Times’ alley:

I do not think liberal bias had anything to do with it. But I think The Times — like The Washington Post, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, major networks and wire services — was far too squeamish about tackling the story. …

It is … the kind of story that The Times seems instinctively to recoil from, just as it ignored such stories in its own backyard as A-Rod and Madonna and Christie Brinkley’s ugly divorce, and played down the “love child” scandal involving New York City’s only Republican congressman, Vito Fossella, earlier this year. …

Edwards-Hunter was “classically not a Times-like story,” said Craig Whitney, the standards editor.

That’s not all: the Times has limited resources to cover the Presidential campaign, and it has to devote itself to the stories that are really important:

“Edwards isn’t a player at the moment,” said Richard Stevenson, who directs the newspaper’s campaign coverage. “There are a lot of big issues facing the country. The two candidates are compelling figures, and we have finite resources.” He said he agreed that Edwards was “fair game for journalism of this sort, but this hasn’t seemed to me to be a high priority for us at this moment.”

Today, the Times has three front-page stories about Bristol Palin. It’s nice to see that they’ve gotten over that squeamish feeling. Seems like we’ve learned something about their priorities, too.

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