Following Star's tabloid scoop on the breakup of Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston, the more respectable press sprung into action, discovering the split happened weeks ago. People is off to Alaska to learn more.

The Associated Press confirmed the breakup with Johnston, who said it happened "a while ago." How long ago? A People source said "a few weeks."

That's right around the time Palin, daughter of the straight talkin' non-newspaper-readin' former Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin, sat down for a long interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren and said she'd "eventually" like to marry Johnston, father of her baby Tripp.

Now she's implying Johnston (or maybe his "white trash" family?) did something scuzzy. Via AP:

Bristol Palin said in a statement issued through a spokeswoman for her mother's political action committee that she was "devastated."

"Unfortunately, my family has seen many people say and do many things to `cash in' on the Palin name," she said. "Sometimes that greed clouds good judgment and the truth."

Juicy! Time Inc. has already dispatched a People reporter to Wasilla, Alaska to Hoover up more dirt, we hear.

The New York Times also thinks this is a big story: the buttoned-down newspaper is carrying the Palin-Johnston breakup news on its website, via Reuters, via an anonymously-sourced article in People. Not that we object, but isn't this the same paper that ignored an anonymously-sourced story about John Edwards — an actual politician, as opposed to the teenaged daughter of one — having an affair and love child, and that raised questions about People's ethics? Just asking!