January 24th, 2010
10:59 AM ET
9 years ago

Reliable Sources: National Enquirer editor on the Pulitzer

Washington (CNN) – Former Presidential Candidate John Edwards went to Haiti this week, leaving his own personal earthquake for another day. Edwards told NBC News on Thursday that he is the father of his former mistress' two year old daughter, a story that the National Enquirer first reported more than a year and a half ago. Barry Levine, the executive editor of The Enquirer, which has scooped the mainstream media on virtually every twist and turn of the Edwards saga, told Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz Sunday that The Enquirer should be considered for a Pulitzer Prize, the highest honor in journalism.

"This wasn't just paying for a tip and getting some information. This was two years of exhaustive reporting, reviewing financial documents, cultivating sources, doing in-the-field stakeout work," Levine said. "This was the type of reporting that we learned about back in journalism school. 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 reported that National Enquirer is not eligible for a Pulitzer Prize because it classifies itself as a magazine.

The timing of Edwards' admission is widely perceived as intriguing given that his former campaign aide, Andrew Young, who once claimed to be the child's father, has taped an interview with ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff which will air on ABC News next Friday to promote his upcoming book release. Edwards denied paternity in an interview with Woodruff in August of 2008.

Levine said even after Edwards admitted cheating on his wife with his campaign videographer Rielle Hunter, the Enquirer was alone in reporting additional aspects of the story, such as the federal probe into whether Edwards misused campaign funds to keep his mistress quiet, the status of the paternity test, and details of a financial agreement between Edwards and Hunter.

"What's amazing to me," Levine said, "is that we were still alone on the story, for the most part. We still had to continue on. We were looking in the trail of hush money. And over the past year, we developed three significant stories in 2009."

The Enquirer has also been busy following the Tiger Woods saga. The magazine was criticized this week for a picture it published allegedly of Tiger Woods at a facility for sexual rehabilitation in Mississippi. It is now clear that the man at the facility is not Tiger Woods, and Levine told Kurtz it is a result of yet another cover-up.

"What's going on now is that there is look-a-likes coming out of the woodwork," Levine said. "All I can tell you is, we don't know who was responsible for that, whether it was the Tiger Woods camp, whether it was the rehab center. But certainly, the Tiger Woods' people, from the beginning, tried to discourage us greatly from running the first story. And what we realized was it was just the tip of the iceberg."

Kurtz asked Levine if he is certain of the National Enquirer's reporting on the Tiger Woods story.

Levine said, "We're absolutely right on this one, Mr. Kurtz."

Filed under: John Edwards • State of the Union
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