Friday, July 25, 2008

Media Hypocrisy on John Edwards Love Child Shocker

Fox News is now confirming the National Enquirer's breakthrough story on former vice-presidential candidate John Edwards' love child:

A hotel security guard told he intervened this week between a man he identified as former Sen. John Edwards and tabloid reporters who chased down the former presidential hopeful after what they're calling a rendezvous with his mistress and love child.

The Beverly Hilton Hotel guard said he encountered a shaken and ashen-faced Edwards — whom he did not immediately recognize — in a hotel men's room early Tuesday morning in a literal tug-of-war with reporters on the other side of the door.

"What are they saying about me?" the guard said Edwards asked.

"His face just went totally white," the guard said, when Edwards was told the reporters were shouting out questions about Edwards and Rielle Hunter, a woman the National Enquirer says is the mother of his child.

The guard said he escorted Edwards, who was not a registered guest at the hotel, out of the building after 2 a.m. Edwards did not say anything while he was escorted out, said the guard, adding that at times the reporters on the scene were "rough on him," sticking a camera in his face and shouting questions.

The guard did not recognize Edwards at the time of the incident, but said he concluded it was the 2008 presidential hopeful after hearing reports about the incident and finding an Enquirer reporter's notebook at the scene.
I have been waiting to report on this, as the story first appeared as unsubstantiated rumors. But there's much more credible reporting on the story now, for example, Captain Ed at Hot Air.

Betsy Newmark has also been hot on the trail with a post today, as well as on Wednesday,
where she wrote:

If this story about John Edwards is true, and the National Enquirer really seems to have the goods on him, all I can marvel at what a total sleaze he is. While I might be crass enough to get some shivers of schadenfreude at the description of him ducking into a hotel bathroom in the early morning to escape National Enquirer reporters and photographers and waiting for hotel security to escort him out of the bathroom, I can't help thinking of his poor wife and small children. And there is also his newest child to feel sorry for. It's always the innocent who suffer the most in these sorts of stories.

If the National Enquirer is correct, his girlfriend (are mistress and love child passé terms these days?) was six months pregnant in December 2007. Do the arithmetic.
He and his wife announced that her cancer was back in March of that year and he must have been out working on his second family just a few months later. And it was all during the campaign last year when he still might have had a chance at the nomination. What is it with these politicians that they think they're immune from standards of normal decency?

We'll be able to trace the parameters of a feeding frenzy when it involves both a Democratic politician and a sex scandal uncovered by the Enquirer. Will the MSM give it the same sort of focus that they gave the arguably lesser scandals involving Larry Craig and Mark Foley? Will it travel the path from the National Enquirer to Drudge to the blogosphere to talk radio to cable TV to the MSM? Or will this story be limited to the fringes of the media?
Byron York reminds us of how the media ran with the story of Rush Limbaugh and oxycontin that had been broken by the Enquirer. Mickey Kaus, who has been talking about this story since it first broke last year wonders if this will be
the first presidential-contender level scandal to occur completely in the undernews, without ever being reported in the cautious, respectable MSM? That's always seemed an interesting theoretical possibility--a prominent politician just disappears from the scene, after blogs and tabloids dig up dirt on him, but nobody who relies on the Times, Post, network news or Mark Halperin has the faintest idea why.
I'm cynical enough about the MSM to think that this story won't break through their protective ranks. If they can barely bring themselves to cover the Republican nominee for president, are they really going to take time from Obama's travels and adulation abroad in order to report a scandal about a Democratic politician?
This is the same press that's now contributing to the Obama campaign by a ration of 100-to-one over John McCain. (Source: "Putting Money Where Mouths Are: Media Donations Favor Dems 100-1").

See also, Roger Simon, "Getting Rielle - The Enquirer Files a Criminal Complaint in Edwards Love Child Case."