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July 23, 2008

John Edwards Love Child? A Newsroom Conundrum

Edwards_4It's hard out there for an ex-candidate, and for the newspapers who cover them. Take today's explosive story, so far untouched by The New York Times, Washington Post or Los Angeles Times - or even Huffington Post. John Edwards, in our own L.A. backyard, was caught skulking from the room of a lovely blonde woman, not his wife, at the Beverly Hilton around 2:30 in the morning. Nailed! By National Enquirer reporters, who were skulking in the basement - waiting for him. The woman in question turns out to be the same Rielle Hunter that the Enquirer identified last December as Edwards' mistress, who was pregnant at the time. All this on the background, don't forget, of Elizabeth Edwards' battle with cancer. Oh yes, and then there's that presidential campaign. What a mess! But all ignored in the mainstream media. The story got no traction last December after both Edwards and Hunter denied their involvement. I can well imagine the tortured discussions in responsible newsrooms today: how to treat this story? Edwards is no longer a candidate (though he might be for v.p.). Is news of his having a mistress news worth reporting? Edwards will have trouble denying his involvement with Hunter now, and if he is the father of her child, that means he was lying back in December. How long can the papers avoid this story in the age of the Internet, bloggers like me, and guys like Matt Drudge, who've posted the National Enquirer tale? 


Rachel Cohen

To be fair, the LAT is mentioning the Enquirer's reporting on the website, which is the weasel way to do the story.
And, as we all know, the Enquirer is ALWAYS wrong, except when they're right (OJ, Rush, etc.)

Art Brewster

As an independent (registered) voter not inclined at this point to vote for either of the big parties candidates I was more concerned with why Edwards and all other Democratic candidates were ignored as much as possible in the media once it was decided who the Clash of the Titans would be between (and this making for a self fulfilling prophecy)... To lick our lips and rub our hands at yet another "sex scandal" - which seems to be a normal human behaviour since time immemorial - is to be the dumb cretins who deserve what we've gotten in government for the past thirty or more years.

To place out of wedlock relationships and extramarital affairs as a gotcha question indicating capability to govern would eliminate a considerable portion of descent past presidents. Why not, for the fun of it, also ask the incredibly telling question of, "Have you ever lied before." - as something that must be answered by prospective presidential candidates - the answer to that would be more telling in a useful way.


While I actually believe the story to be true, to be fair, the National Enquirer is hardly the best source for this kind of information.
I would expect the MSM to take a few days to look into the veracity of the information (if indeed there was an incident involving the Hilton security it should be easy enough to prove) and soberly go with it.
If they don't then, then you can complain. But expecting the NYT to publish a tawdry tale about a Presidential candidate the day after just because the National Enquirer published a story about it seems to me pushing it. There is something called credible sourcing in journalism, ever heard of it ? (It is all the more important in such a delicate tale.

Carol Anne

What story?


If John Edwards were Mike Huckabee -- another former candidate who is a plausible veep pick and who made love of his wife a campaign element -- the Wash Post, NY Times, LA Times and the cable nets would be engorging themselves on the story.

The difference is two letters - D versus R. And it is a prime example of why people have come to tune out the media -- news organizations in the past three decades gave away the one thing that made them credible and indispensible -- objectivity.


Benjamin: The Enquirer is at least as reliable as the New York Times, and in this case more so, because it is not covering for a favored figure. This is an issue because Edwards was embroiled in it during the campaign. If this was Mitt Romney, you don't think the Times would have reported it by now?


Ummm...did the Enquirer produce any evidence. Don't they have photographers on staff? If they knew that Edwards was "skulking" around the Hilton couldn't they at least bring a cell phone camera.

Maybye the MSM is ignoring the story becuase there is no evidence?

sharon waxman

thanks for the comments. i don't doubt photos of all this will surface shortly. the enquirer was clearly tipped off, as they knew what room hunter was in, with whom she came, and many other details.


I really like John Edwards. He's one of those politicians I look and think "This is a good man". I really hope this isn't true.


maybe she's just his hairdresser

btw, the Huffington Post has it up - but only to comment on its yawn-worthiness


It's simple, the hoity toity champaign tinking libs aren't in the mood for this story. But, if it were a republican....


John Edwards is a politician, yes, he's probably not 100% the saint he shows himself to be but I always thought, looking at his wife and kids, that John Edwards was probably a pretty good guy who loved this wife. If this is true, then when it comes to politics, I just need to put my fingers in my ears and go "la, la, la, la, not listening..."


Is John Edward's private life that important ? Is this story a Republican Smear Campaign ? Politics and the media are are just brutal. Amazingly, as things were going so well for Barack Obama, all of a sudden this story hits the wire. Conspiracy or Fact ?



Why is the New York Times ignoring this story? You know, seeing as it gave front-page coverage to baseless rumors about a romantic liaison between McCain and a female lobbyist?

Here is what the NY Times considers to be "news":


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