The future vetting process for salacious political rumors is taking shape. Those most beyond-the-pale will often start with partisan blogs, which are unteathered by journalism standards and motivated to find the worst in their adversaries. For example, liberal bloggers reported that VP candidate Sarah Palin faked a pregnancy for a fifth child to cover up for a pregnant daughter.
Traditional outlets will stand back and wait for permission to publish, which can be easily granted by a comment from a public spokesperson. In the Palin episode, this permission came when a McCain aide commented that he had no evidence the story was being pushed by the Obama camp.
With partisan blogs motivated to generate such rumors, and public figures providing permission to publish simply by acknowledging them, we can expect a bawdier future of news.