Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Where’s the Edwards love-child story?

National Enquirer scoop or not, there appears to be way too much smoke here for the major mainstream media to continue ignoring the story about the out-of-wedlock child that John Edwards may have fathered.

With everyone from Drudge to Leno to Wonkette riffing on a tale that began trickling out at Christmas, the MSM look foolishly out of touch by continuing to remain silent about the allegation that Edwards fathered the girl recently born to a former campaign aide.

This is a messy and unseemly matter that I wish never had seen the light of day. Now that it is festering on the web, on talk radio and around the watercooler, mainstream journalists owe their readers and viewers their best professional efforts to sort fact from innuendo.

While only Edwards, the woman and their DNA lab know the truth at this point, the media at a minimum must assemble an accounting of what to date has been reported and what, if anything, has been corroborated, debunked or remains in question.

Even though his presidential campaign is over, John Edwards has sought to be a major public figure for a decade. As such, he long since has forfeited any claim to privacy for his family or himself.

In both of his campaigns for the White House, Edwards made his wife and family major centerpieces of his political narrative, often alluding to the tragic death of his teenage son and frequently using his two youngest children as campaign props.

When it became known early in the 2008 primary that the talented and appealing Elizabeth Edwards was suffering from a potentially fatal recurrence of cancer, both the former vice presidential candidate and his courageous wife decided to press forward with his pursuit of the Democratic nomination.

To their credit, the Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News and Observer are two of the few mainstream media outlets to have openly discussed the story. The papers, which share coverage, not only sought to quiz the former senator about the allegation but also turned up the birth certificate for the child in question, revealing in the process that no father was named.

The rest of the mainstream media need to start writing and talking about the story, too. If not, their silence will be viewed as complicity in a suspected cover-up and their already fragile credibility will slip still further.

If Edwards was fooling around on the side while putting his ailing wife and little kids through the rigors of a national campaign, his duplicity deserves to be exposed. If Edwards has been accused unfairly, then he needs to stop running from the media and clear things up.

His recalcitrance has been fueling the story. Now, only his forthrightness can stop it.

27 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

..You just have to wonder why the MSM would ignore this story if not for their liberal bias. They certainly can't claim squeemishness about revealing piccadillos or emnbarrassing political stories. Senator Larry Craigs' bathroom reveries got wide MSM coverage, but pale in importance to a Vice Presidential candidate fathering a bastard child, or stepping out on his dying wife. The story has got to sell papers and airtime, so not publishing it goes against their fiduciary interests and , if not to protect a friend, what else could be their motive ?

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at it this way -- if Edwards were a Republican, would the story have been written days or weeks ago? Umm .... YES.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fear of expensive lawsuits is one possible reason why the MSM have ignored this one. If the police charge Larry Craig with a crime, they can't get sued. But anyone coming forth with documentation or information confirming a possible love-child risks being taken to court, including the media outlet.

Remember that our media are driven by big corporations with profit motives. Inevitably, the only stories they will run now are those that fit their political and financial agenda.

6:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alan, are you as curious as I am of the source for these Edwards stories? The latest from the National Enquirer is a grainy pix of Edwards holding what the newspaper says is his love child in the hotel room. So who was in that hotel room to take that pix on what looks like me could be a cell phone camera?
Lets count together now, Edwards, baby and.......
Maybe it is my background as a reporter who occasionally got beaten on a story, but I always make it a practice of looking for a source of stories I read, and then contemplate the reason that source's motivation.

7:49 AM  
Blogger John Ettorre said...

Good for the serious quality media to insist on spending their time and attention on stories that are actually important, and ignore the noise from the crap media. The guy's no longer a candidate, so it's a non-story. It's really that simple.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Andy Bechtel said...

As noted in your post, there's some coverage by North Carolina papers. But it's broader and played more prominently than you let on.

The News & Observer of Raleigh had an Edwards story on its front page today, and as I write this, it's the centerpiece story on its Web site. The paper's public editor has also written a column about the difficulty of covering this story.

The Edwards story is also on the home page of the Charlotte paper's site and on the McClatchy DC bureau site.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The MSM owes us this, if only as payback for all the times we had to hear about John and Elizabeth celebrating their anniversary in a Wendy's, or that ridiculous story about having to leave a restaurant without ordering after it occurred to John's father (who as a mill supervisor apparently never made more than 8 cents an hour) that the restaurant might charge money for its food.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Pat said...

Only a fool would assume that the media is not working on this story. But before anything can be published, key questions have to be answered. And only a fool would think that getting those answers is an easy process. I appreciate Anonymous's eagerness to cast this as a partisan matter. It reveals his/her motivation, which is to score political points rather than understand the truth.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MSM (for the most part-excluding McClatchy) got it right. This story is National Enquirer fodder and does not deserve to be in serious publications that should be spending their time reporting truly important issues. MSM should not be getting is cues, or having its coverage dictated by gossip rags, random bloggers and late night tv comedians.

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can learn more about the objectivity of a news organization by examining what they do not report than by what they do. A week ago, our NATO ally Turkey launched a dozen airstrikes on Iraq and our Kurdish allies there. Fat chance you'll learn about it in the U.S. Why?

12:19 PM  
Blogger rknil said...

I'm torn between not wanting another gossip piece in the "MSM" and not wanting to see any more of the Obama action figure mentality in the newsrooms.

The Obama action figure -- find it at an "unbiased" newsroom near you.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Mike Kelley said...

This story is slightly reminiscent of Newsweek Magazine not printing it's scoop about Clinton and Monica back in the day. Matt Drudge had to break that one. The MSM is only out for scoops if they help the liberal cause. No wonder the internet and blogs are kicking their butts.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

The media sure seemed to eager to report on a possible relationship between McCain and a Lobbyist that had the legs knocked out of it before the presses were finished. They also sucked up the Foley accusations which were sourced from Rahm Emmanuel's office directly, and did not involve a crime (it was accusations of lewd email between people of consenting age, and did not even reference any actual sex).

Now we have Glorious Leader Edwards, with multiple eye-witness accounts and photographic documentation of a liason, and the media are going to hold their noses. LOL!

Edwards is even a candidate for President (he suspended his campaign and kept his delegates, and didn't withdraw his nomination).

But you know, his name doesn't have an [R] at the end.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This story is National Enquirer fodder and does not deserve to be in serious publications that should be spending their time reporting truly important issues."
Ya, just like NYT covering McCain's infedelity allegations.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a Charlotte Observer reporter who wrote the story you are crediting to the Raleigh N&O. Note the credit line. Mark Johnson works for the Observer. The reporter who questioned Edwards in Washington was Lisa Zagaroli, who works for the Observer.

And it was the Observer, not the N&O, that first got its hands on the birth certificate.

The two papers are owned by McClatchy, and share some coverage, and publish stories by the other’s reporters, which is why Johnson’s story appeared in the N&O as well as the Observer.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous TMLutas said...

Before this story came out, Edwards had a reasonable shot at a cabinet post, perhaps another run as VP. Now, not so much.

Is Edwards not going to address the Democrat Party in Denver? Why not? There's been nothing on the evening news that would justify an effort to keep him off the podium in prime time.

You can't seriously say that Sen. Edwards is just a private citizen and hiding the story makes those who don't pay attention to the National Enquirer look like fools when they wonder to their friends what happened to that bright, good looking senator. What's left of the MSM audience deserves better.

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait for the next such scandal that involves a Republican, then compare and contrast.

3:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democrats (whether they're the leaders of the MSM, or legislators, or even voters) have a fierce tendency to stick their heads in the sand when unpleasant truths emerge. Thus, they constantly dispute obvious truths -- JEdwards turning out to be much worse than a scumbag even though Dems adored him for many years now. Other truths they flail at: drilling will help our country immensely (just look at Norway and all other big producers), current high tax levels will continue to choke our economy, but Obama wants them even higher, and on and on.

4:18 AM  
Anonymous dscott said...

Were it not for the agenda based reporting of the MSM and being the de facto mouth piece for the Dem Party, the tabloids would not be credible. The fact that the National Enquirer is now a credible publication is a testiment to the failure of MSM journalism.

7:45 AM  
Blogger John Ettorre said...

The tabloids are not credible to serious people, including those who know how to spell the word "testament" properly.

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've got to be kidding! You want our MSM to report on this crap? That's why we have gossip rags and late night comics; to cover stories full of innuendo and fantastic speculation. Let's get our eye back on ball, people.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous dscott said...

Eye on what ball? John Edwards has now finally admitted to his affair. Were it not for the NE and the blogs and then finally FNC, he would never have admitted his behavior. He repeatedly lied to the public and the MSM acted as though they were covering up his misconduct. Bill Clinton did the same thing, and the MSM gave him a pass. Yet for some strange reason with far less evidence John McCain was accused by the MSM for the exact same thing. So what ball does the MSM have it's eye upon?

The issue has ceased to be John Edwards adultery, the issue became John Edwards willingness to lie to the public, and the MSM willingness to cover up by obfuscation the poor judgement of a public figure whose political party they are clearly supporting. The credibility of the MSM is the issue when they conduct themselves with double standards and openly support a political party. If John Edwards was willing to lie about his adultery, what else is he lying about? Can you really believe John Edwards denials about not being the father of Reille's baby? The reason of course is John Edwards has played the denial game until he could no longer deny it, now he denies paying $15k a month to Reille, will he continue to deny it until more proof surfaces and then he is forced to admit the obvious? Will John Edwards continue to lie about being the child's father until he is forced to admit this also or at least until after Nov 4th when it doesn't hurt the Dems? All through this the MSM sits on the sidelines, refuses to cover the story because as it seems they don't want to tarnish their political party.

Your claims of decorum regarding the story fall flat by the lack of decorum the MSM has displayed by it's track record. You want to know why the MSM and print is going down the drain, you can start right here, the blatant political bias and the condescending lecturing of the public for it's various liberal causes. Blaming the internet for the downward spiral of the MSM is just plain childish and self destructive. So please keep your eye on the ball, be the mouth piece of the Dem Party and continue to advocate liberal causes until the last employee walks out the door and turns off the lights for the last time.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Evil Pundit said...

Well, it's official now.

The National Enquirer is now more ethical and trustworthy than the New York Times.

The credibility of a once-mighty industry has been destroyed by its partisan political bias.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you needed further evidence of the death of the MSM and the creation of a generation of stenographers, here it is.

EEWWWW, a story broken by a supermarket tabloid (just like Gary Hart and "Monkey Business"), and confirmed by TV reporters. The only role the MSM played is stenographic. No effort, no sweat, just write accurately what they say as they taught you in journalism college courses. Have a tape recorder handy to make sure your quote is correct.

Comes now the predicted backlash, yards of could-have, would-have, should-have armchair analysis, and the who-is-Rielle Hunter profiles. Meantime, dead tree reporters are packing their bags and heading off to Denver for a meaningless convention where media handlers are now arranging there won't even be a roll call vote of the outcome for fear it will show there are some Democrats who don't like Obama.

A compliant, lazy and gutless MSM brought this on themselves. They accepted the role of stenographers, or else there would be no reporters at this convention, or its GOP counterpart. Will there be any news? I am sure the thousands of reporters who will go will do their stenographic duties well because the only thing they can claim credit for is from the Edwards affair. Yes, they accurately quoted John Edwards' flat denial of the NE's initial story. I haven't found who failed to quote accurately what the NE reported, and what ABC-TV confirmed.

So now, how sure are we Obama and McCain don't have a Rielle Hunter skeleton kicking around out there, and why should anyone believe the MSM when it says all rocks have been turned over, and everything is already known? I don't believe anyone has really looked.

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He said he didn't love her, so it's not a love-child.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Leigh Hanlon said...

<< This is a messy and unseemly matter that I wish never had seen the light of day. >>

You'd rather the MSM have continued to ignore the story? Sheesh. No wonder it's increasingly difficult to get folks to take newspapers seriously these days.

8:04 AM  
Anonymous dscott said...

Actually the story is becoming far worse now that more of the players are becoming known. It appears that a very Machiavellian game has been played between the MSM, the NE and the Clintons.

The unsubtanciated rumor at this point is the Clintons got wind of Edwards fooling around and tipped off the NE to do their dirty work. The Clintons were counting on the NE's expose' of Edwards to knock him out of the running last October. The MSM wanting to back their candidate, Obama, at the expense of the Clintons put the kybosh on the infidelity story since most of those voting for Edwards would vote for Clinton. By keeping Edwards in the race, the MSM used Edwards to ensure Clinton could not win the Dem primaries.

We now have a mea culpa of sorts from Wolfson (former Clinton Communications Director) who is making the case that had Edwards stepped out of the race when exposed back in October, Clinton would now be the presumptive nominee of the Dem party. Now we know why the Clintons were making sour grapes that the MSM wasn't giving them fair coverage, what they were really saying is the MSM wouldn't pick up on the Edwards story. This is what happens when the MSM takes sides being the story maker instead of reporting the story.

9:36 AM  

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