I don’t think journalists should just go around spreading rumors. On the other hand, when the existence of a Beltway rumor is an important factor in people’s thinking, as in the Condi Rice case, then it does seem important to me to draw attention to its existence. I myself know nothing about Rice’s personal life and wouldn’t care either way, but that is the rumor and it does effect the Bush team’s thinking. Similarly, Bill Richardson’s prospects as a VP were hurt by talk of unspecified (or at least not specified to me) sexual skeletons. This strikes me as the kind of thing people should know about, not because the underlying facts are relevant, but simply because if you want to understand what’s happening in DC you need to know this stuff.
A Word On Rumor-Spreading