On CNN's "Reliable Sources" on Sunday, host Howard Kurtz, The Washington Post's Amy Argetsinger and I debated the ramifications to the media coverage of Arnold Schwarzenegger's so-called 'love child.'
In this instance, there was barely a hiccup between reporting the news and revealing the mother's name, Mildred Baena, (which Howie – old-school, dude! – declined to name on the show).
I feel that if every other outlet is reporting her name, it makes no sense not to do so. And, as I say on the show (clip below), if Baena is keeping her pictures up on her own Facebook page for days after the news has broken, then she is basically inviting that coverage. I don't feel the same way about identifying her son, however, who is a minor.
Before we started debating, Howie got a great exclusive interview with Mark Barabak, the L.A. Times reporter who was the lead on breaking this news. He confirmed what TheWrap reported earlier this week, which was that the paper got a tip, and followed it up with old-fashioned reporting.
He suggested that colleagues of Schwarzenegger were willing to confirm the story, and that the paper approached Mildred Baena and Schwarzenegger himself to give them a chance to comment – rather than to confirm or deny the existence of a child. That, said Barabak, the reporters already knew was a fact.
Anyway, have a look: