We learned in court today that it was not just a matter of one $2,000 payment (which Eichenwald says was repaid by Berry's grandmother). Eichenwald used a fake name and address to give Berry even more cash before he started working on the story. It seems these covert payments also slipped Eichenwald's mind, even when jolted by the sight of his $2,000 check to Berry which surfaced in evidentiary proceedings in a Michigan courtroom earlier this year.
Could this be why Eichenwald wanted so badly to scare people off this story? Threatening to sue other journalists is frowned on in journalism circles under any circumstances. Doing so because you have something to hide would be unforgivable. As, of course, would paying for a story and then lying to your editor about it (and let's not even get into the kiddie porn conspiracy theories bubbling under the surface here).
I have no personal feelings toward Eichenwald one way or the other. I haven't been gleefully awaiting his downfall or anything. Indeed, I always thought he was pretty sharp and did good work. If there's one reason I've continued to post on this topic, it's that I feel a little betrayed. The first time I posted about KE it was to praise his commitment to transparency.