The executive editor of the supermarket tabloid that relentlessly pursued the John Edwards love-child story took to the airwaves Sunday arguing the National Enquirer deserves to be recognized by the Pulitzer prize board.
Barry Levine, executive editor of the National Enquirer, on CNN’s Reliable Sources said the tabloid has received “ground swelling of support for us by bloggers” to be considered for a Pulitzer prize.
“This was the type of reporting we learned about back in journalism school,” Levine told host Howard Kurtz. “Every aspect of journalism came into reporting this story, and I think our reporters, photographers and researchers deserve this moment to be acknowledged by the Pulitzer committee.”
Kurtz, however, pointed out that the administrator of the Pulitzer board has said that the National Enquirer is not eligible because they market themselves as a magazine.
“Well Mr. Kurtz, I think that first of all it is great that we’re even talking about the National Enquirer and Pulitzer together,” Levine said.
In 2008, the magazine tracked Edwards, rendezvousing with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter, at a Beverly Hills hotel and confronted him when he ran into men’s room trying to escape the National Enquirer’s reporters.
“It was that moment that Edwards knew this was up,” Levine said.
Edwards, the former 2008 Democratic Presidential candidate, subsequently admitted he had been having an affair with Hunter but denied the tabloid’s stories — until this week — that Edwards was the father of Hunter’s infant daughter.
Levine said the tabloid, not always regarded for high journalistic standards with its willingness to pay for information, “worked very hard for two years to do this story.”
“This wasn’t just, you know, paying for a tip and getting some information. This was two years of exhausting reporting, reviewing financial documents, cultivating sources, doing in the field stake out work,” Levine said.
He said Edwards “could’ve ended this thing very early. Instead he wanted to delay it.”
“We really had to work overtime and develop multiple sources before our editors down in Florida allowed us to print this story. This was the type of story that continued to take work and work and, you know, Edwards continued to deny it. He called it tabloid trash, he said we were making things up,” Levine said.