Thursday, August 7, 2008

John Edwards Affair: Media Myth of Edwards December Denials

Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!"
--Famous denial, Luke 22:60

Media Circulates False Story that Edwards Denied Affair in December

National Enquirer's December Allegations NEVER Denied

The Media's "Don't Ask Edwards, He Won't Tell" Policy

Edwards' Denials After November 29: A MSM Urban Legend

Perhaps history's three most famous denials were issued by the apostle Peter on the night that Jesus was arrested. Thus, Peter issued three more denials in one night than John Edwards has made after November 29, 2007; i.e., none.

One recurring theme turning up for Mainstream Media apologists in the last several days goes something on the order of, "Edwards denied this story in December". Variations range from yesterday's Raleigh Telegram's insistent "Edwards continuously denied the accusations," [Enquirer Publishes Blurry 'Photo' Of John Edwards] to Deceiver's July 28 "The John Edwards Non-Scandal Keeps Getting Not-Weirder":

Then, last December, Edwards denied having an affair and an illegitimate child with Hunter after the National Enquirer spotted her, visibly pregnant, living in North Carolina.

One British newspaper repeated the "Edwards' December Denial" recently. Yesterday, at NRO, Byron York cited--inadvertently, no doubt--the EDD meme. From "John Edwards: The Picture of a Scandal" (emphasis added):

Last December, when the Enquirer first named Hunter, Edwards did deny it. A couple of months earlier, when the Enquirer published a thinly-sourced story claiming that Edwards was "caught in a shocking mistress scandal that could wreck his campaign," Edwards quite emphatically denied it. "The story is false," he said then. "It's completely untrue, ridiculous. Anyone who knows me knows that I have been in love with the same woman for 30-plus years."

As our own LBG put it, in "John Edwards Scandal: Where in the World is John Edwards?":

The MSM turned a blind eye to the alleged Edwards' affair so it was a surprise when the story resurfaced in November in the Daily News. On November 29, the Daily News' Rush and Molloy published "Tabloid's affair rumor dispelled, says John Edwards". The article wrote that "John Edwards believes he's stared down the National Enquirer".

The article mentioned the Enquirer's promise to follow-up the initial Edwards affair story on October 10. The Daily News cited an Enquirer insider who admitted "there's a lot of smoke, but no smoking gun". The Daily News also quoted Edwards who claimed the story "disappeared because it's made up".

In December, a two-line item was tagged onto the end of one report that "an unnamed reporter in South Carolina" asked Edwards about it and he responded with the deflection, "Tabloid gossip" and "trashy lies". DBKP believes this occurred during Edwards' Christmas campaigning break, when he was back in North Carolina

Is this hair-splitting? Maybe, but that incident was no denial.

This point is important: it allows the those in the major media to excuse what was their complete failure to fulfill their adversarial duties for nearly eight months. Once the Enquirer allegations went from the general (October Enquirer story) to the specific (December), the press didn't ask, Edwards didn't tell--at least until July 23.

The Democrats could have save a pound of August headaches with just an ounce of December MSM investigative legwork.

As we stated earlier today in "John Edwards Scandal: Dems Worry, Call on Edwards To Come Forward":

It may be noted that Democrats could have avoided all of this–if just one major news organization would have investigated the easily-checked facts of the National Enquirer’s December edition of the scandal. [Curious Circumstances Excite No Curiosity in the Mainstream Media and The Edwards Scandal, The Press, The Enquirer and the Blogosphere]

Back in December, in the above stories DBKP wondered why not one reporter had asked Edwards, “Do you deny you’ve been in telephone contact with Rielle Hunter since she found out she was pregnant?” Hunter, at that time, was living within five miles of the Edwards campaign HQ in Chapel Hill, NC, in the house of an Edwards’ backer, driving a BMW registered to former Edwards Director of Finance, Andrew Young–all checkable facts.

But not one reporter thought it curious enough to investigate then.

In doing the research for this article, we found several "December denials" sprinkled throughout the sparse MSM coverage of the last few days. We can find no such proof that Edwards was even asked about the Rielle Hunter affair in December.

We waited, in vain in December for that one brave MSM reporter to ask Edwards about the National Enquirer's allegations. Astonished that none did not, we wrote about it in December several times.

The waiting continued, though Edwards was in the news as a possible VP pick or cabinet selection.

Our waiting was over July 23, when Edwards gave his now-infamous video "non-denial".
[Edwards Love Child: Worst Denial Video Ever]

Edwards denials came in October, with the last one on November 29, when he felt he had covered his tracks and that the Enquirer was bluffing about the affair.

The "continuous denials" and "December denials" that are being bandied about in the press as reasons they didn't investigate Edwards eight month ago?

They have all the making of a Mainstream Media urban legend: they sound good, but they simply aren't true.

It's a matter of record--for any reporter wanting to investigate.


Speaking of denial...

A few days ago, Mickey Kaus, Slate, wrote a handy "Why write about the Edwards scandal?
Here's a short clip-'n'-save response to those (including many friends) who argue the Edwards scandal shouldn't be pursued--or at least pursued too vigorously-- even if it is true:**

In the ** footnote to the above, Kaus outlines what might be the "Six Stages of MSM/Dem/Edwards' Supporter Denial".

**--For purposes of this item, I'm assuming we're reaching the next-to-final stage of the natural progression in cases like this: 1) Too horrible and shocking; it can't possibly be true; 2) It's not true; 3) You can't prove it's true; 4) Why are you trying to prove it's true? 5) It's disgusting that you've proved it's true; 6) What's the big deal anyway? ...

A check of the comments section, on any Internet locale that has written about the Edwards scandal since December, will quickly confirm Kaus' six stages. In fact, you can tell when pro-Edwards readers learned about the story by which stage of denial they were in when they penned their outraged comments.

Don Surber, in "Dems do what MSM won’t", wonders--most reasonably, we think:

When Edwards is not in Denver later this month, I wonder how ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, NBC, and PBS will explain his absence.

Oh yeah: John Who?

by Mondoreb
images: National Enquirer

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