"You were scooped," one reader wrote, referring to the story about John Edwards' affair. "We pay you to find out." It never feels good to get beat on a story. It's true you pay us to find out. It's also true we don't pay sources for information, as The National Enquirer does.
ABC News' Brian Ross said that when reporting the story about John Edwards' affair, he came across sources who said The National Enquirer was offering $50,000 for information. The Enquirer's Steve Plamann confirmed that his publication pays for information but he didn't say how much it paid in the Edwards case. David Perel, the Enquirer's top editor, told David Carr of The New York Times that he has the best investigative team in the business. If that's true, The Enquirer shouldn't need to pay sources, should it, David? At the least, The Enquirer should come clean and say how much it paid sources in the Edwards case. Carr also points out: "The National Enquirer gets plenty wrong," including missing on Gary Condit and Elizabeth Smart.
Sharon Waxman, the former Hollywood correspondent for The New York Times, says tabloids pay big: "...Without a checkbook, the Raleigh News & Observer was not going to be let into the world of Rielle Hunter." We wanted to talk with Hunter. But we weren't willing to pay to talk with her. When you pay sources, they have incentive to lie or exaggerate. That's one reason why the Enquirer is wrong so often. They got this one right. But the next time they might be settling out of court, as they just did with a woman the Enquirer suggested had borne a child by Ted Kennedy.