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The Non-Pulitzer-Winning ‘National Enquirer’

Journal with Jewish DNA strikes out

Marc Tracy
May 25, 2010

Great feature in GQ about the National Enquirer’s failed bid to win a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the John Edwards sex scandal. The author is with executive editor Barry Levine when the Pulitzer winners are revealed. (The awards for best investigative reporting went to a story about post-Hurricane Katrina hospital patients who were euthanized and a story about—what else?—corrupt cops. The Enquirer wasn’t even a finalist.)

“So, okay,” the author writes,

There’s one school of thought that says whatever the Enquirer turned up on Edwards is, from a media-ethics perspective (and therefore from a journalism-prize perspective), tainted, that even if Source Y volunteered corroborating evidence freely, the fact that the paper found Source Y by greasing X poisons the well. But it’s also entirely possible—and plausible—that the newspaper editors and J-school types on the Pulitzer board are uptight prigs who just don’t want to reward the UFO-chasers at the Enquirer for straight-up eating their lunch.

Last month, in the run-up to the annual Pulitzer announcement, Levine told Senior Writer Allison Hoffman, “We’re not holding our breath. Whether we win or not, we received a huge amount of recognition from the mainstream media.”

Hoffman noted the publication’s extensive Jewish DNA: In addition to top editor Levine, the former editor-in-chief and the head of American Media Inc. (which owns the Enquirer) are Jewish.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.