Coverage of the Edwards Scandal Spreading

The recent story in The National Enquirer on John Edwards allegedly being caught in a hotel with Rielle Hunter, who they claim is his mistress, is just beginning to receive coverage from the mainstream media. Not surprisingly the most significant report comes from Fox News. Their willingness to be the first media source to report on this has its obvious political motivations, but this does not reduce the significance of their report. Fox reports that a security guard in the hotel has confirmed John Edwards’ presence in the hotel.

Slate links to additional members of the mainstream media who are starting to pick up this story, including the Philadelphia Daily News and The Dallas Morning News. The bloggers at The Los Angeles Times will not be discussing this story following this gag order:

From: “Pierce, Tony”

Date: July 24, 2008 10:54:41 AM PDT

To: [XXX]

Subject: john edwards

Hey bloggers,

There has been a little buzz surrounding John Edwards and his alleged affair. Because the only source has been the National Enquirer we have decided not to cover the rumors or salacious speculations. So I am asking you all not to blog about this topic until further notified.

If you have any questions or are ever in need of story ideas that would best fit your blog, please don’t hesitate to ask

Keep rockin,


Of course taking this action inevitably led to this becoming a story in itself, leading to increased coverage of the entire story elsewhere.

While it has been primarily conservative bloggers writing on this, the story is extending beyond the conservative blogosphere.  Justin Gardner writes:

Frankly, I wasn’t inclined to trust The Enquirer when they reported about this last year or earlier in the week, but since this guard has confirmed that Edwards was indeed at the hotel this has gone beyond mere trashy tabloid journalism.

Yesterday journalist and blogger Robert Stein commented on the reluctance of the mainstream media to pick up this story. The Salon War Room looked at this aspect further, after discussing some of the same examples of The Enquirer being accurate in previous stories of this type which I mentioned in my previous post. Alex Koppelman writes:

There have been complaints from some quarters about the silence from the mainstream media that greeted the publication of the Enquirer story, as well as allegations of bias. Personally, I think it comes down to a few factors, none of them bias.

First, Edwards didn’t get that much coverage in the first place, and he’s not thought of as a really serious contender to be Barack Obama’s running mate, so it’s unlikely that major outlets will devote to this story the substantial assets required to do reporting on it. Without doing that, it’s unlikely many outlets will report on the story based entirely on the Enquirer’s allegations. Even if editors and reporters believe that the story is true and the reporting is solid, it would look odd for a paper like, say, the New York Times to print a story that came solely from the Enquirer. There’s also the jealousy factor — taking the Times as an example again, the paper of record really doesn’t want to admit that it got scooped by a tabloid. And, last, there’s the Elizabeth Edwards factor. Reporters are especially careful in a case like this, because of Elizabeth Edwards’ illness.

I think he gets this right, but unless Edwards can come up with a good explanation, this story will continue to spread. Regardless, it is safe to assume he is no longer under consideration to be Barack Obama’s running mate.

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  1. 1
    where says:

    where are the pictures??

    according to the report there were photographers there –
    pictures should be all over the web by now

  2. 2
    APV Black Conservative says:

    If Mr Edwards has a “R” after his name rather than a “D” ther woud be wall to wall media coverage.We would even know the baby’s name. Such HYPOCRISY AGAIN as usual……

  3. 3
    Jerry says:

    Edwards would not have been a strong choice regardless. I feel sympathy for his family. And, before we forget, there could be a completely innocent explanation. Visiting a friend at a hotel is not unheard of. Maybe not the smartest thing to do given the political climate, I’ll give you that.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    APV Black Conservative,

    Party has nothing to do with this. There’s plenty of media outlets owned and controlled by conservatives–probably far more than controlled by liberals.

    The media has had no qualms about reporting sex scandals involving Democrats. Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, and Eliot Spitzer are a few prominent examples.

    The Salon article has better reasons why this one hasn’t made the media yet. Plus this story lacks a criminal element as well as the hypocrisy of some recent Republican scandals. A Republican with a  history of gay bashing getting caught with a male, or being arrested in an airport bathroom, makes for a much bigger story.

  5. 5
    wally says:

    (Keep in Mind the Edwards buried a teenage son and Mrs. Edwards has breast cancer. Yet this asshole repays his loyal wife by cheating on her. Edwards your scummier than even Bill Clinton. At least Bill had an excuse, he’s married to Hillary.)

  6. 6
    Susan says:

    Apparently the press cares more about Edwards family than Edwards does…….pay the price, be publicly humiliated!

  7. 7
    Ray says:

    Objectively, if the story weren’t true why not cover it and go to the guy’s defense NBC, CBS CNN???.

    Subjectively, you know it’s true.
    That’s why.

    Bias, bias and more bias.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    Objective news organizations don’t cover a story for the purpose of going to someone’s defense. The explanations above are far more likely than bias. Besides, why would CNN, the Conservative News Network, cover for a Democrat out of bias?

  9. 9
    Anna says:

    Dear  Mr.  Edwards:

    Who gave you the right to cheat on your family?  People are going to fall in love or attracted to other people but who gave you the right to persue another when you have committed yourself to a group that was created by the same attraction?  I feel since you have cheated on your family you will cheat on me as a public figure?  Please, step down and heal yourself.  Stop lying because the truth will come into the light.  This is not a mistake, it is a distraction and entertaiment you could not pass up.  You decided to forsake all committments to others and pursue your own selfishness.  I am disppointed in your judgement.  Please, take a break and heal yourself and your family.   We need strong people to change this world.  Good Luck!


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