Sunday, August 10, 2008

John Edwards Affair, Leftblogosphere: No Good Time to Talk About Edwards

Let me tell you about a story I didn't want to write about back in December...

Left bloggers--who didn't want to report any of the John Edwards allegations back in December, never mind investigate them--are up in arms because John Edwards is being reported by Fox in August.

To be fair, the left side of the Blogosphere did
comment on the National Enquirer's allegations back in December: mostly, they hurled invective at those who did write about it.

Satyam, Think Progress [Fox News Host Refuses To Talk About Russia-Georgia War, Insists On Covering Edwards’ Affair, like a magician, wants readers to look at the war in his one hand while whisking away the Edwards scandal in his other.

Yesterday, Russia launched a major military offensive against Georgia, which Georgia has called “a state of war.” Nearly two thousand people have died and the conflict risks sparking a wider war. Also yesterday, former senator John Edwards admitted to having an extramarital affair in 2006.

Of course, a look back at a July 11, 2005 Think Progress post, It’s Not the Crime, It’s The Cover-Up, showed a completely different standard.

Hello, Washington Press Corps. What is the thirty year rule that has defined every White House scandal since Watergate? It is not the crime, it’s the cover-up that gets you in trouble.

What a difference three years--and party affiliation--make: TP was referring to Karl Rove and the Valerie Plame affair.

Steve Benen, Carpetbagger's Report, [War, schmar, there’s Edwards gossip to obsess over], has a headline just as strident. However, the tone of the post is more reasoned.

Media interest in John Edwards’ adultery controversy is probably inevitable. He’s not a sitting lawmaker or candidate for anything anymore, but he’s a well-known political figure caught up in a sex scandal. News outlets are going to cover this; it’s unavoidable.

My Left Wing, [Curmudgette :: Fair, Balanced, All Edwards, All the Time] posts the following--with which we heartily agree:

Now I would be the last person to say that the Edwards affair is not news. In fact, I've pretty consistently argued that it is news. But this is positively surreal.

The major media didn't breathe a word about Edwards while he was running for president. No effort was made to check out the places, dates, license numbers and other hard facts reported by the Enquirer back in December.

As has been noted countless times at DBKP, not one reporter even asked him about the Enquirer's allegations in December. Thus, Edwards--contrary to MSM reports that cite his "continuous denials" and "Edwards denied it December" angles to explain their non-coverage--did not address the issue of Rielle Hunter after November 29, 2007.

Edwards never had to address the Enquirer's allegations once they became specific in December. He could easily deny the October Enquirer story, which was general in nature at that point. The tabloid did not even name Rielle Hunter at that point--even though Hunter issued a denial then. [Why Did Rielle Hunter Denounce the National Enquirer NINE WEEKS Before the Paper Would Name Her as the “Other Woman?]

DBKP, though it has almost 80 stories on the Edwards scandal since December, didn't even write about the October Enquirer allegations. We felt there really wasn't anything to write about at that point: it fell totally in the realm of gossip--though who doesn't like gossip?

However, the December Enquirer allegations were a completely different animal. Anyone giving them a fair reading in August 2008 wonders that not one MSM reporter thought they were "curious", to say the least.

On December 23, 2007, we introduced one story with [The Edwards Scandal, The Press, The Enquirer and the Blogosphere]:

The story so far of John Edwards, his campaign and Rielle Hunter, the uncovering of hard facts by the National Enquirer, the Mainstream Media’s non-reaction, and the blogosphere’s fondness for the comfort that only sitting on one’s ass brings.

We observed then how the other half of the blogosphere operates.

DBKP has previously written about Sam Stein, a writer doing a fairly routine piece for Huffington Post about the new ways candidates were trying to reach Internet readers.

One of those new methods was something called a webisode, a short video for letting Internet users see a candidate in a more personal way. John Edwards wanted users to see “the real John Edwards”, as he says in his recently-rediscovered video.

Stein recounted his surprising adventures with seeing the Edwards video. That Stein was having a tough time running down something that should have been screaming for publicity interested him.

When he wrote about his adventures, a certain section of the blogosphere pilloried Stein and his musings on the subject. At that point, Rielle Hunter was not as well-known as she is today. Running down information on her required a little digging.

Sam Stein did that digging and was rewarded for his efforts with a mound of vitriol.

A reporter who had done actual work on a story was ridiculed by writers who had sat on their asses.

“Sam Stein and the Enquirer are nothing but lazy, no-good trashy gossips”

The Think Progress piece mentions a Fox interview with PBS’s Bonnie Erbe. Ms. Erbe is quoted as saying that the Edwards affair is “not the stuff the American public wants to hear about in this election cycle.”

Au contrair, Bonnie.

"Rielle Hunter", "John Edwards", "John Edwards affair" and "John Edwards scandal" were four of the top seven search terms on July 22 at one point. They have remained, to one degree or another, in the Top 100 Most Searched at Google since then. So, Ms. Erbe, there have been plenty of Americans searching for information on this topic. They had to: PBS joined the other MSM in not mentioning it, prior to August 8.

PBS didn't discuss it back in December; they didn't discuss it prior to July 21 either. Bonnie Erbe didn't want to discuss it today, though one would suppose that Bonnie knew the topic to be discussed when invited to appear on Fox News. Just exactly when would Erbe's PBS like to discuss this topic?

All readers who said, "never" or "seldom" get a cookie.

The same portion of the blogosphere who only wanted to discuss how vulgar those that did discuss it in December are back to their same arguments in August. Most Americans are vulgar, it must be supposed.

We agree that the zero-to-media-circus coverage now is a little much. However, a little discussion during the last eight months might have prevented the 24/7 news status the Leftblogosphere is complaining about today.

Some blogs have mostly remained silent or made a few comments and let it stand at that. That's a perfectly reasonable position to take: there is other news to discuss. But it's not reasonable to attack those who do discuss it.

That's the job of Big Media.

by Mondoreb
images: dbkp file

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