Yesterday, I criticized The State for sitting on the emails for six months.
The NYT has an article which is being touted as explaining why The State was unable to publish the emails till Wednesday. Apparently, the NYT swallows this as a satisfying explanation:
Reporters sent e-mail back to the originating e-mail address and to the woman, whose e-mail address was included, in an effort to verify that the messages were genuine. They never heard back, and so the paper did not publish them until Wednesday, after Mr. Sanford admitted having an affair.
I must confess I never went to J-school, and have taken no courses whatsoever in investigative reporting. But I have a really hard time believing that any halfway self-respecting newspaper or journalist would claim that the only thing they could try to do to authenticate the emails was to email both parties, and ask them to corroborate their adulterous affair. And when they never heard back from Sanford and Maria, all they could do is shrug their journalistic shoulders, and go on with other things.
Here’s what happened when they finally tried to do something more:
McClatchy special correspondent Angeles Mase on Wednesday visited the 14-story apartment building in Buenos Aires where the woman lives, according to the e-mails, which included her address. (Note: The State is a McClatchy newspaper, and Angeles Mase was effectively acting for The State.) A woman at the address answered to the name in the e-mails and, at first, agreed to speak to a visitor, but she declined after the visitor identified herself as a reporter.
It’s hard to see Sanford denying the affair if The State had done this type of digging six months ago, and confronted Sanford in person with the emails (rather than by email), perhaps armed with a photograph of Maria.
For that reason, “They never heard back, and so the paper did not publish them until Wednesday” sends me into hoots of wild laughter.