Friday, July 25, 2008

Could It Be You?

During my shore vacation, my reading has been less of the serious news and political reading that I usually do. So, I happened upon the story about the John Edwards affair earlier this week. I almost wrote about it then, but hesitated because of the source of the news story -- the National Enquirer.

I normally would never rely on the veracity of anything carried in that rag or others like it, unless it was reporting something like George Bush was off the wagon or Laura was divorcing him. Then, the more outrageous, the better.

I wasn't able to find anything about the story anywhere else, so I dismissed it as scurrilous lies to derail Edwards' chances at the VP spot. Then, I saw the story discussed by one of my favorite bloggers, Shaun Mullen of Kiko's House, who focused on the lack of media attention, John Edwards & Larry Craig: The Hypocritical Media's Double Standard, observing:

It is a story with three of America's favorite subjects -- celebrity, sex and hypocrisy -- but you'll have to look awfully hard to find it.

* * * *

But when the National Enquirer breathlessly reported that former presidential candidate John Edwards had visited an alleged mistress and their love child at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Monday night you could have heard a pin drop. As of this morning, only the Los Angeles Times among mainstream media outlets has picked up the Enquirer story, according to a Google News search.

It is possible that the Enquirer story about Edwards' alleged linkup with Reille Hunter is false, based as it is on circumstantial evidence and unnamed sources. . . .

But my gut tells me that there is something to the Enquirer story and sooner or later that will be confirmed. The real crime here is the double standard that the mainstream media is using in an era when the lines between tabloid journalism and traditional journalism have become blurred.
See also, Why the press is ignoring the Edwards "love child" story and What John Edwards Scandal?.

As Shaun mentioned, it wasn't picked up by a major paper until Wednesday, the LATimes, National Enquirer alleges John Edwards affair; blogosphere readies salt shaker. Even then, it was carried by one of its blogs, and featured the blogger angle on coverage of the story.

At the Huffington Post, John McQuaid Edwards Love Child, Yawn takes the contrary view, saying that the press should respect the privacy of Edwards, now that he is out of the public eye:
Oh, please. Edwards is a politician, which automatically puts him in the public eye. But, frankly, this is a tenuous pretext at best for covering his personal foibles right now. He is a private citizen. He is not running for president. He doesn't hold office, as Craig did -- still does! He didn't cop to committing a crime, then absurdly try to weasel out of it as Craig did.

It sure looks like Edwards is a hypocrite who misrepresented himself by showcasing his wife and kids so prominently in the campaign. But his campaign was unsuccessful. Voters didn't buy his arguments or his life story as reasons to elect him. In short, nobody cares about this now, except as celebrity gossip. And that's how it's going to play when the media picks it up, as it probably will."
I generally agree with McQuaid's position on this issue. Truthfully, I don't even feel that a current politician's "indiscretions" should be anyone's business but that of the spouse, if any -- unless the politician has made "moral values" part and parcel of their political belief system. If so, then the public should know that they are being hypocritical. You should not get to spout off all the platitudes about family values, then go off having a little fun on the side without any consequences.

Well, now that it's out there, the question arises:

Could it be true? The biggest thing that tends to go against it is the fact that the Hotel where Edwards supposedly had his liaison was hosting a Television Critics Association summer press tour at the time, 'Enquirer' links John Edwards, Rielle Hunter, so he'd be crazy to pick that spot to have a rendezvous. Edwards is a smart man, so I can't imagine him being that sloppy with his personal "affairs" (literal and figurative).

McQuaid comes up with the better one -- hasn't the National Enquirer heard of video cameras? The cost has come way down these days for a compact decent video camera.

UPDATE (7/27): I think the story will most likely hit the mainstream media in the next few days or so, since I'm seeing more reportage of it. See, e.g., Sleaze scuppers Democrat golden boy and Say It Ain't So, John. Why Progressives Need To Get Out In Front Of The John Edwards Affair Rumors.

I'm not sure why there is such surprise about the fact that the Edwards "affair" (if there is one) has been ignored by the press. It's just more of the same. After all, as I noted when he exited from the primary, the campaign of John Edwards was pretty much dismissed by the media during the primary itself, so why should now be different?


Anonymous said...

Last year the Nat'l Enq had the story of Merv Griffen's death for 3 weeks running before, on the 4th week, it got it right; he had died. But I generally find its "reporting" (mainly paying low paid people the rich/famous must deal with in their daily lives) credible and usually verified by other sources later on. So I am inclined to believe the Edqards story. The interesting issue is why others have not picked up on it. Can't be anything high-minded, based on, e.g., coverage of Anna-Nicole's death hoopla.

Susan said...

I clicked wrong button and became anonymous. But I'm not ashamed to ID myself by first name [and more if any of the blog's devoted readers truly need to know]. Also, I realize I mistyped Edwards, but it was too late to correct or withdraw. All TMI, I know.

JudiPhilly said...

For some reason, the press just doesn't like to give Edwards any press. They did this during his campaign and this may be just more of that.

I'm sure if he were named VP or was appointed to a cabinet position, things would be different -- the media would be all over the story as soon as he was named. That would supply maxim media exposure for -- the media.

Finally, I'd like to think that a bit of the reticence is out of respect for his wife Elizabeth, who is well regarded.