Skip to comments.Why the Media Ignored a Scandal
Posted on 02/09/2010 4:02:16 AM PST by Kaslin
Two weeks before the 2008 Iowa caucuses, the National Enquirer published a detailed story reporting that Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards had had an affair, and that the woman involved -- campaign videographer Rielle Hunter -- was pregnant, and that Edwards had arranged for an aide to falsely claim to be the father, and that Hunter and the aide and the aide's family were being taken care of financially by a wealthy Edwards supporter.
It was, to say the least, explosive.
At the time, Edwards was a serious contender in the Democratic presidential race, so when the story was published, his aides prepared for what some believed would be an onslaught of media scrutiny.
But it didn't happen. Although Edwards could not have known it at the time, it turned out that many journalists just didn't want to report the news and didn't try very hard to uncover the facts.
The tale is told in the new book "The Politician" by former Edwards aide and confidant Andrew Young, the man who, at Edwards' insistence, claimed that he, and not the candidate, was the father of Hunter's child.
By mid-December 2007, Edwards knew the Enquirer story was coming. With Iowa fast approaching, he came up with an I'm-not-the-father cover-up scheme, believing that having Young claim paternity would deflect blame away from the candidate himself. "It's going to be a one-day story, Andrew," Edwards told Young, according to Young's account. "No offense, but the press doesn't give a s--t about you."
So the statement was drafted. In addition to claiming paternity, Young wrote that Edwards "knew nothing" about the relationship.
It was a preposterous lie, but Edwards went ahead, offering the one-paragraph explanation to any reporters who asked. The candidate and his top advisers, Young wrote, "expected the (media) onslaught" to begin as soon as the Enquirer posted its story online. Young sent his family out of town to spare them the firestorm.
But then ... nothing. "To our relief, no serious newspaper or TV network picked up the story because they couldn't find a source to confirm it," Young wrote. The damage was confined to a few Web sites. "We began to think that perhaps our strategy had worked," Young said.
What followed was a bizarre series of events in which Fred Baron, the wealthy Edwards supporter, paid enormous sums of money to fly Hunter and the Youngs around the country to keep them out of sight until after the Iowa caucuses, and then the New Hampshire primary, and then, when the campaign fizzled but Edwards still had hopes of making it onto the Democratic presidential ticket, until after Hunter had the baby.
Still no word of it in the press. But the Enquirer was not finished. In July 2008, the tabloid published a detailed account of Edwards' visit with Hunter and the baby at a Los Angeles hotel.
"Andrew, they caught me," a tearful Edwards is quoted as telling Young in a phone conversation. "It's all over."
Surely now, Young thought, the media would jump on the story. But it didn't happen. The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the broadcast networks and the cable-news outlets -- none reported the story. This time, though, it finally bubbled up, from the blogs to talk radio to late-night television. By the second week of August, Edwards appeared on ABC News to semi-confess.
An explosive scandal had been kept out of the press for months at a time when the man at the center was an important player in national politics. Why?
Young thought it was because the Edwards camp so tightly controlled information that journalists weren't able to find sources to corroborate the Enquirer's reporting. While that may have been part of it, the fact was, many editors and reporters just didn't want to tell the story.
Maybe they admired Edwards' cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth. Maybe they saw no good in exposing Edwards' sordid acts. Maybe they looked down on the National Enquirer. Or maybe they were just biased. "In the case of John Edwards," said Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz, "even though it was clearly out there -- everybody in America knew about this well before CNN and the New York Times and the Washington Post got into this game -- there was still a great reluctance."
Of course, in the end the story came out anyway -- but only after the sheer weight of Edwards' corruption made the facts impossible to ignore, even for sympathetic journalists.
The leader of the MSM, Keith Olbermann, had no comment.
Maybe they were just biased. Maybe? What gave ya the first clue Sherlock? Reporters not wanting to report unflattering things about big time democrat players is nothing new. Nothing new at all.
Each reporter assigned to a ‘leading’ candidate in either party simply doesn’t want to lose the gig - they love doing those meaningless stand-ups at campaign stops where nothing is said and nothing happens but the reporters still dutifully repeat campaign-issued talking points.
Campaign coverage in the age of the Internet is a relic of the 1930s when the only way to obtain ‘news’ was to ride the train along with the candidate.
With Democratic candidates, of course, there is an added dimension in which statism is given more disguises than Lon Chaney ever dreamed up. Each Dem candidate is Robin Hood, Santa Claus and Superman rolled into one.
Advertiser beware! There will come a day when no one will buy your products because you advertise with this scum and filth!
Not true. He was never a contender, serious or otherwise.
“Or maybe they were just biased.”
Umhhh - what exactly was the nature of that bias? Because we all know (since we’re continually told so) that there’s no left-wing bias in the MSM, right?
He could'a been sonethin'.
If it was a republican presidential candidate the story would have led every report every night and the story would have camped out on the front page of every MSM source in the country. That it didn't for Edwards is just further proof of bias...no "maybe" about it.
Andrew Young was a tool and stupid to boot. Now he writes a book seeking to shine up his image for his next political “trick”?.
You and I both know the word for this guy.
Anybody know if Olberman is is still leading Sponge Bob Squire Pants in the ratings?
He barely lost to Zero in Iowa. Too bad that he didn’t beat Obama. After all, we haven’t had a child crawling around the Oval Office since Monica Lewinsky.
“If it was a republican presidential candidate the story would have led every report every night and the story would have camped out on the front page of every MSM source in the country.”
Yup. Just compare the treatment of the Edwards’ story to the treatment by the LSM of Palin writing 4 or 5 words on her hand (GASP!) for a 45 minute speech...
What you said
That one makes me laugh so hard at the MSM...they keep going on about how "brilliant" Obama is but he's unable to talk to a class of 6th graders without a podium and a teleprompter. Offset that with a few words scribbled as a reminder. Some superb orator Obama is...well, at least when someone gives him words to say and he doesn't mispronounce them...but when he talks without a teleprompter the inner idiot comes out.
IMO, job security. When the GOP took over Congress in 94 after decades of Rat control, the inside the beltway reporters lost their contacts to the seats of power.....but they still had them at the rat WH. Come 2001, they had NOTHING, hence the constant GOP and Bush bashing. The MSM, which is definitely left leaning, started to culture relationships with RINOs a-la McNut, but will toss them aside in an instant for a relationship with a rat. Just as they never vetted Edwards with any integrity, so to with Zer0.
Re-runs of Sponge Bob are ahead of Olbermann in the ratings. Olbermann should consider changing his slot to a cooking show to try to boost ratings.