Thursday, August 7, 2008

John Edwards Scandal: Dems Want Denials from Edwards

"If there is not an explanation that’s satisfactory, acceptable and meets high moral standards, the answer is 'no,' he would not be a prime candidate to make a major address to the convention."
--Don Fowler, a former Democratic National Committee chair, as reported in Tabloid's claims threaten Edwards' role at party's convention

Distress Could Have Been Avoided if Press Had Done Their Job

The meter is running for John Edwards to answer the National Enquirer's allegations that he fathered an illegitimate daughter, lied about it and orchestrated an "elaborate coverup".

And, with the Democrat National Convention less than three weeks away, it was prominent Democrats who started that meter running yesterday.

According to the Raleigh News & Observer, Gary Pearce, the strategist who ran Edwards' 1998 Senate race, was blunt:

“He absolutely does have to [resolve it]. If it’s not true, he has to issue a stronger denial,” said Gary Pearce, the Democratic strategist who ran Edwards’ 1998 Senate race. “It’s a very damaging thing. ... The big media has tried to be responsible and handle this with kid gloves, but it’s clearly getting ready to bust out. If it’s not true, he’s got to stand up and say, ‘This is not true. That is not my child and I’m going to take legal action against the people who are spreading these lies.’ It’s not enough to say, ‘That’s tabloid trash.’ ”

Former DNC Chair, Don Fowler was succinct on whether Edwards would be accorded a prime speaker's spot at the convention--which according to reports he was promised when he endorsed Barack Obama.

"If there is not an explanation that’s satisfactory, acceptable and meets high moral standards, the answer is 'no,' he would not be a prime candidate to make a major address to the convention."

What's changed the media picture in the last several days? Why is the Mainstream Media suddenly interested in reporting on the scandal now, just a few weeks away from the Democrat National Convention, when they wouldn't touch it for seven months ago?

Ryan Tate, at Gawker, sizes up the changed media scenery as though he were using X-Ray Specs [Exploding The Edwards Mistress Scandal]:
See, previously the Edwards scandal was just an irrelevant trifle about how the maybe next U.S. attorney general or even vice president had a baby with another woman while his wife died of cancer and possibly paid the mistress hush money and lied to everyone about it. But now it's about how a speaker at a meaningless convention might distract the media from covering the media event in the way media handlers prefer. In other words, a REAL story.

What's up for grabs now is a prime prime-time speaking spot and, as Tate explained, a distraction-less Denver convention. But where is Edwards?

LBG points out that Edwards has disappeared from public view since July 30. [John Edwards Scandal: Where in the World is John Edwards?]:

Despite the fact that Edwards was in the midst of promoting his Half in Ten national poverty tour, the July 30th appearance at the AARP symposium in Washington, D.C. was Edwards’ last known public appearance.

As she points out, Edwards' Washington sighting was only his third appearance since the morning of July 22, when he was cornered by the Enquirer's reporters at the Beverly Hilton.

A story on the McClatchy Newspapers wire listed several details sure to unsettle Democrats planning for Denver, "Tabloid's claims threaten Edwards' role at party's convention":

* Edwards evaded (The McClatchy story calls it "brushing off") reporters after a July 30 speech in Washington, D.C.--including at least two from McClatchy papers in North Carolina--by exiting through a side entrance normally reserved for kitchen help. [John Edwards Scandal: Edwards Bolts from Reporters Once Again]. Edwards reportedly answered journalists' questions at the time with "Sorry," and "I don't have time for that now."

* A reporter at the Edwards estate in North Carolina got no response Wednesday when he rang the buzzer.

* McClatchy reports Edwards' designated staffer for the press has yet to respond to email requests for an interview.

* The story also reports that "Friends and former staffers refuse to comment now, though they helped Edwards last fall by dismissing an October story in the Enquirer of a sexual relationship between Edwards and a campaign videographer when it initially broke."

* The Raleigh News & Observer reported that: "Sorry cannot help you on this one," wrote Jennifer Palmieri, a former top Edwards aide, in an e-mail Wednesday."

On July 26, The Politico reported [Everybody wants a piece of Obama] that "Edwards told others he was promised a prime time speaking slot when he endorsed Sen. Barack Obama". Traditionally, also-rans in the primaries are offered opportunities to speak to the convention.

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 May, we revisited the Edwards story [John Edwards: Looking for Rielle Hunter’s Baby News, VP Love, After Obama Endorsement] and asked a few questions:

Mark, a commenter at New York Nerd, sounded absolutely like a fortune teller when, back on January 6 2008, he predicted that the MSM, which imposed a blackout on any news concerning the Hunter-Edwards affair, would only become interested in the affair IF Edwards won the Democrat nomination.
Might that not still hold true, if Edwards is the VP candidate again?

We’ll see.

The Mainstream Media has proved unusually resistant to any and all curiosity where the curiously “coincidental” happenings of the Rielle Hunter-John Edwards story is concerned. Maybe the “Two Americas” Edwards referred to meant the ordinary curiosity that most folks exhibit upon reading about the circumstances surrounding Rielle Hunter and John Edwards–and the Mainstream Media brand of decidedly selective curiosity about all things involving the Democrat Party.

Democrats will be right to wonder what might have been, if the press had fulfilled their adversarial duties back in December, when the Enquirer's Edwards allegations went from the general, featuring unnamed sources, to the specific, with dates, names and locations?

If only.


* Byron York, NRO, talked to David Perel, Editor-in-Chief of the National Enquirer [John Edwards: Picture of a Scandal]. One topic was the Denver convention.

But is there anything else? Maybe the Democratic National Convention, coming up a little more than two weeks? “Obviously, the convention has not been our driving force behind the story,” Perel says. “The reporting takes however long it takes. It took seven months to go from the December story to the [Beverly Hilton] meeting….But if it happens to be a happy coincidence — if the story just happens to be breaking around that time, in terms of maximum exposure — “ Perel pauses. If the convention wasn’t part of the timetable before, it is now. The Edwards pictures might make a nice splash with the Democratic delegates gathered in Denver.

* A comment from Ping2007 on the News & Observer website to the story cited above:
"Diaper Change We Can Believe In"!

* Ann Coulter's response to the Washington Post reporter, who defended the total blackout on the National Enquirer's John Edwards' love child story, telling the Times of London: "Edwards is no longer an elected official and he is not running for office now. Don't expect wall-to-wall coverage." [Only His Hair Dresser Knows for Sure]

"Isn't there some level of coverage between "wall-to-wall" and "double-secret probation, delta-force level total news blackout" when it comes to a sex scandal involving a current Democratic vice presidential and Cabinet prospect?"

More Coulter licks against the MSM; among which was this gem:

But with a Democrat sex scandal, the L.A. Times is in a nail-biting competition with The Washington Post, The New York Times, ABC, NBC and CBS for the Pulitzer for "Best Suppressed Story."

At this point, it's a dead heat.

by Mondoreb
images: dncc; thumbs; National Enquirer; Technology360

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