Sen. John Edwards was a dream presidential candidate for the media – a populist, lefty lawyer with face and even hair for TV. (Especially the hair.) The North Carolina senator was a self-made man who also made millions of dollars along the way and won the Democratic endorsement to be the vice presidential candidate in 2004. He was the poster boy for ambitious trial lawyers everywhere and his run for president had the media buzzing. Even his wife’s awful struggle with cancer was used as a plus for his campaign.
Until it all crashed and burned. Edwards, the fabulous, was ruined in a sex scandal that showed how he betrayed his dying wife despite the news media telling of their perfect marriage. That betrayal could also get him up to 30 years in the pokey. And the news media that were once so fond of him continue covering for The Man Who Would Be Clinton.
The April 23, issue of The New York Times whitewashed Edwards so thoroughly that it skipped the party he belongs to. Yes, a man who was once a vice presidential candidate, a man who only recently ran for president for theDemocratic Party – that’s not a salient point. In fact, the story was later updated to correct “an erroneous dateline and contributor line.” Not for the most important fact in the story. “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” indeed.
It wasn’t even the first time the paper had done it. That was how the Times first broke the story in 2011, leaving out his political party. No wonder, the formal name for the Times really should be: The New York Times (D-NY).
Too bad the Times hasn’t been the only media outlet so focused on former Sen. Dreamy that they’ve forgotten their journalistic responsibilities. On June 3 last year, as the Edwards scandal was in full bloom, all three broadcast networks covered it. But only CBS mentioned he was a Democrat.
NBC certainly has run interference for the former presidential candidate. On June 6, 2011, Matt Lauer, of NBC’s “Today,” ticked off objections to Edwards’ indictment like a defense attorney. “Some critics blast the government’s case against the former presidential candidate. Why they say what he did may not have been against the law.” He added in his most neutral way, “Did the government overreach?” And, in case you had a doubt, the chyron that appeared on screed read: “Bad Guy or Bad Case?: Legal Experts Question Indictment of John Edwards.”
In September last year, the network followed with lefties from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington that seems to want anything but those things. Instead, CREW actually defended Edwards thanks to the platform provided by NBC.
Then there’s The Atlantic, which produced an 1,800-word story that never mentioned both Edwards and the author were Democrats. Those points have been mysteriously updated after the fact. Funny how that works.
But to truly appreciate the media hackery going on here, flash back to the end of 2007. New York Times writer Kate Zernike wrote a loving profile of Edwards and his wife Elizabeth. Zernike called Edwards’s run for president “a shared mission.” His wife was “her husband’s most trusted adviser, his chief provocateur and his most popular surrogate.”
Zernike played Elizabeth Edwards’s “incurable” cancer for every ounce of sympathy for her husband:
“In the hospital room after her diagnosis, Mr. Edwards had asked his wife to marry him again. They renewed their bond on July 30, their 30th anniversary, standing in their backyard before a small group of friends and relatives.
They wrote their own vows, describing what they meant to each other, how fused their lives had become. As Mr. Edwards started to speak his, he had to stop, overwhelmed with emotion. He paused for a long time, never taking his eyes off his wife.”
Yeah, he never took his eyes off his wife, except when he was having that affair with Rielle Hunter, impregnating her, and using campaign money to hide the fact. As a scumbag, he is perhaps unmatched in recent American political theater. He is one of the few whose antics can make former Rep. Anthony Weiner look like a gentleman.
More specifically, he’s a scumbag Democrat, one of the most prominent men ever prosecuted in America. He ran for president with a viable chance of winning. Had he been a Republican, news media outlets would lead with this story every single day until November. Every story would be headlined some form of: “GOP Presidential Candidate Implicated in Sex, Corruption Scandal.” They would never let anyone that a GOP party standard bearer was cheating, lying, corrupt monster.
Instead, the news media cover it like it was of mild importance. Perhaps the real headline should be: “Media Implicated in Sex, Corruption Scandal.”