Benny Hinn and the National Enquirer

O Canada. Did someone up there fail to get the memo that the National Enquirer isn't exactly the most trusted outlet on earth?

Apparently not. Kenneth Kidd of the Toronto Star released the following report this morning.

There's a new televangelist soap opera.

Reports this week suggest a still-married Benny Hinn is now romantically involved with Paula White, another television preacher with a colourful past.

Here's a quick review for those who don't know the people involved. Benny Hinn is best-known his healing healing and television program This Is Your Day. Earlier this year, his wife filed for divorce. Paul White is the pastor of Without Walls International Church in Tampa. In 2007, she and her fellow pastor/husband Randy divorced.

Back to the Toronto Star's story, I couldn't find the so-called reports. Take a quick scan of Google news, Yahoo news, whatever you use, and you probably won't find any mainstream reports of this alleged affair either. I am in no way defending or condemning Hinn or White, and I am not suggesting that they did or did not have an affair. From a journalist's perspective, the point is, where do these reports come from?

The closest "report" I could find was a brief in the National Enquirer teasing you to pick up its next issue with a spread on Hinn/White. Here are the first few sentences of the National Enquirer story:

Married TV evangelist Benny Hinn is hiding a shocking secret love affair from his flock!

In a blockbuster exclusive sure to rock the worldwide Christian community, the Enquirer has learned the popular televangelist recently sneaked off with fellow minister Paula White for a romantic trip to Rome.

We caught the couple walking hand-in-hand out of the five-star Hotel Hassler, where Pastor Benny was booked into the presidential suite under a false name, on July 13.

Although the 57-year-old multimillionaire faith healer and host of TV's "This Is Your Day" is separated from his wife Suzanne, the couple are not yet divorce.

Rick Hiebert blogs that Swedish Twitterers are also posting on Hinn.

Yes, the paper broke the John Edwards mess, but reporters still have an obligation to follow up and do their own reporting. I guess there was a small attempt:

Neither Hinn nor White could be reached for comment Friday.

That's nice.

Unfortunately, the Star's 600 words on Hinn and White's background and the sidebar by Rick Sznajde on "Other televangelist troubles" give added weight to the story. Keep in mind, there's a big difference in most people's minds over "reports suggest" and "the National Enquirer reports."

But please keep watching. Help us spot mainstream reports.

That is, if there are any out there worth reading.

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