On John Edwards ‘Love Child’

“Double standard!” cries Slate media critic Jack Shafer.  “An elaborate cover up!” whines hacktacular OG ‘even the liberal’ blogger Mickey Kaus.  ‘Liberal bias!’ wails the wingnutosphere (surprise, surprise).

All that self-righteous sturm und drang simply because the MSM hasn’t dove on recent reports from that bastion of responsible journalism, The National Enquirer, alleging that former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards cheated on his wife, Elizabeth, with a woman named Reille Hunter.

Oooh.  Shocking.  A liberal Democrat with no moral values–way to conform to years of movement conservative propaganda, John Boy.

Sorry, kiddies; as John Cole aptly notes, the Grand Old Party has upped the ante on sex scandals to the point where a mere (yes, heterosexual) extramarital affair (and illegitimate child) is now small beer, not worthy of the print expenditure:

The reason no one is paying attention to the alleged affair and love-child is simple. You guys have made standard affairs boring (I know, I know. You claim to be a Democrat.). No one is claiming Edwards was seen in two wetsuits hanging from the ceiling with a dildo lodged in his rectum. There is no DC madam with a black book involved. No one has transcripts of him instant messaging teen-age congressional pages or crashing their dorms in a drunken stupor. There is no arrest record for soliciting oral sex in an airport bathroom, complete with feisty confrontations with the arresting officer on video tape. There is no religious hypocrisy and gay prostitution and meth-fueled sodomy binge to talk about.

In short, aside from the fact that all there is to the story is an Enquirer report, it is just boring. You all have made standard affairs pedestrian and dull. Even when you use the phrase “love child,” what it boils down to is a guy allegedly sleeping with a woman. Pretty tame stuff, given what the GOP has provided us for the past few years.

Now maybe if he got caught engaging in oral sex with goats. That would probably get some attention.

I think there’s something to be said about the innate homophobia contained within media coverage of the aforementioned events. But the hook that made them ‘newsworthy’ by mainstream press standards is the fact that, in most instances, the principals were all on record as being militantly homophobic Christian conservatives; their moral (and, in many cases, legal) transgressions were thus in direct opposition to their images and records as public officials.  Even former NY governor Elliot Spitzer was a grandstanding anti-prostitution crusader, so when he was caught in the middle of a prostitution ring, the immensity of the hypocrisy was too much for the jackals in the MSM to ignore (even as the puritanical response once again served as a revealing Rorschach Test of the collective American unconscious).

So, unless there’s more blood to this latest (alleged) ’scandal’, one shouldn’t be surprised (nor shocked and outraged!!11one) at the underwhelmed non-response from the press.

Of course, as David Corn notes, even if this story never makes the 24 hour cable news cycle, the allegations have effectively removed Edwards from VP consideration:

[W]hether you read about this matter in the Times or not, the veep-vetters of the Obama campaign have probably paid the story notice. If Edwards is still in contention, he better have for them a rather convincing denial to allay suspicions that this time the scandalmongers of the Enquirer might have actually gotten it right.

Regardless, one wonders if the McCain campaign really wants the media to be talking about political figures running around behind the backs of their sick wives.

Ahem.

16 Responses to “On John Edwards ‘Love Child’”

  1. Matt says:

    It’s boring? Sorry, I need a better explanation than that. I can accept that there may be reasons, but it is not because it is boring. To not even give a hint of this in any newscast or major website is…incredible. 80% of the news is boring or repetitive, why not at least mention this story about a recent candidate for potus who is still very much in the public eye and may be part of Obama’s administration? Where are the late night joke tellers and smirking cable commentators? I just can’t buy into this not being covered because it is boring. The homo/hetero argument also seems a little weak. Simple political bias and personal relationship (wanting to protect Elizabeth) seems more accurate. I can even believe they wanted to protect the extremely gracious Mrs. Edwards, she does not need this. But, that must not apply to others (Craig, Spitzer, etc.). So I don’t mind you throwing out excuses, just make them a little more plausible than “it’s boring”.

  2. sunflower says:

    Ditto what Matt said.

  3. RH Potfry says:

    It’s boring? Are you really going to float that as the reason this isn’t being covered?

    The man prostituted his cancer-ridden wife for campaign donations. Yeah, there’s no goat or dildo involved. But the utter hypocrisy and revelation that John Edwards is undeniably a bad human being should warrant a bit more coverage than this.

  4. mgk says:

    There is at least one dildo involved: John Cole.

  5. matttbastard says:

    So, I take it all you Nutty McWingnuts thought the MSM should have been all over the Enquirer’s breathless allegations re: Dubya hitting the bottle again (and fucking Condoleeza Rice)?

  6. Craig says:

    Good of you to redirect the valid arguments about the callous rationalization offered by John Cole. and try to make it an argument about the merits of the Enquirer.

    Regardless of their well-earned tawdry reputation, it is the same publication that either broke, or provided accurate, early-on breaking news on issues such as Rush Limbaugh’s drug abuse, Gary Hart’s dalliances, and OJ Simpson’s murders, and other high-profile stories. So, although one shouldn’t give such a story automatic credibility, it also shouldn’t be dismissed out-of-hand simply due to who the publication is.

    Somehow I doubt that you were quite so dismissive about NE’s story regarding Rush, when it first came to light.

  7. matttbastard says:

    Good of you to provide evidence showing how the average wingnut is reflexively credulous of dubious media outlets if it conveniently suits his or her preconceptions. At least this partially explains the inexplicable popularity among the knuckle-dragger set of Newsmax, WND and Townhall.com.

  8. matttbastard says:

    (Also, apparently y’all missed the irony of Cole’s remarks. How shocking. Plz to be going back to licking Hugh Hewitt’s penny loafers, kthnxbbai!)

  9. tas says:

    Are you fucking people kidding me with this shit? It’s the NATIONAL ENQUIRER! And beyond that, they have no proof at all of their accusations. None whatsoever — no photographs (which tabloids are famous for), nothing. And you think the MSM should report this? Fine. I say that George W. Bush had anal sex with RuPaul — report that. If you don’t, you’re biased. And if you don’t think my example and yours two apples from them same tree, then you’re a fucking retard.

  10. Craig says:

    MattyB, maybe if you didn’t insist on putting everyone with a different opinion than yours into a wack job box, you may have a chance to have a real discussion at some point. Reflexive actions, indeed!

    I’ll try to make my very measured point one last time in hopes that Tas’s head doesn’t explode again. This “love child” story has been hanging around on the fringes for a while now. Yes, clearly it may be nothing but a circumstancial puff of smoke. But occasionally smoke leads to a fire. The National Enquirer has an earned rep for many loony stories, but it is an unavoidable truth that they have also accurately broken some significant scandals in the political/celebrity world. I don’t think people are asking for this story to be swallowed whole on the basis of the current story being presented. And they shouldn’t. But to give it zero credence just because its the Enquirer, is deliberately ignoring past precedent.

  11. tas says:

    Now I’m going to disagree with Mattt here — I don’t think the media hasn’t reported this story because it’s boring. There’s just no story.

    Honestly Craig, do you think that no MSM reporter or editor has checked this story out to see if it has any legs? Any credibility at all? Do you honestly think that every reporter and editor of every mainstream media outlet — including the Murdoch owned ones like the Wall Street Journal — are so liberally biased that none of them have look into this story?

    If you do believe that, you’re an idiot. (Or as I put in more strongly in my last comment, you’re a chest slapping drooling fucking retard.)

    Use some critical thinking skills ferchristsake. Yes, we all know that the Rush Limbaugh popping pills story was broke by the National Enquirer, but the MSM didn’t bite on that story until they verified it. And they could verify it in that case because the Enquirer reported that Limbaugh was being investigated — call up the agency responsible for the investigation and ask them if it’s true, and whammo. A story! But with the Edwards story, there is no verification — none whatsoever. No photographs and, apparently, no audio of surprise interviews with Edwards. I’m a blogger and occasionally a reporter, and when reporting I keep a digital camera and voice recorder on me at all times. If I’m going to report something, I’m going to have evidence to back up my assertions. That’s called journalistic responsibility — which the Enquirer’s reporter apparently has none of whatsoever because he has not produced any evidence of his allegations.

    And subsequent MSM queries into the matter — which have surely happened — have come up blank.

    I mean, fucking duh asshole. I can’t believe I have to explain this fucking shit. Ever thought of thinking of yourself for once before hopping on the looney toon fucking bandwagon? Moron.

  12. Craig says:

    Quite a style you have developed for discussing issues:

    Commenter: I have an opinion that may or may not prove out to be correct. We shall see.

    You: #&UJ&*%$#@#^&**$*8*UYY^%EE#$$%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Just because the story hasn’t broken (if there is one) within the perfect timeline in your head, doesn’t necessarily mean it never will.

  13. tas says:

    Don’t like my style? Stop acting like an idiot then I’ll stop treating you like one. If you wanted to have a level headed adult conversation then stop making foolish points that can easily be debunked via a minimal amount of critical thinking. In short, stop being a douchebag.

    And don’t try twisting the points around, either. “Just because the story hasn’t broken…” wasn’t the point of this conversation. Since I need to remind you, I’ll let you know that the point was that all you fucking tardbags are complaining about supposed liberal media bias because they haven’t yet reported on baseless accusations made by the National Fuckin Enquirer. I told you why the MSM probably hasn’t touched this story — and my reasons are very plausible. I know this because I’m a journalist; you’re not. So learn your fucking place in these discussions. In reply to my comment, you complain about my “style” and how this is your “opinion” like that has anything to fucking do with the matter; and this is even before you try twisting the original point of the conversation.

    All of this tells me that you lost the debate. Get over it, fuckwad.

    If you think that not one MSM journalist or editor in the country (or overseas) has looked into this story to see if it’s plausible — and that they wouldn’t report it because of liberal bias — then you’re a fucking moron who doesn’t deserve to have an opinion on these matters. And you may complain “I HAVE AN OPINION! LOOK AT ME, I’M SO SPECIAL!@!@#one!!#$1111!”, but it’s certainly not an educated opinion.

  14. Craig says:

    Wow, learn my place? Can you be more arrogant?

    For a journalist you don’t seem to be able to follow a specific discussion too well. I have never been screaming anything about liberal bias in this “love child” story. How about discussing this with ME, as opposed to some caricature of me that you have created based upon your stereotypes. How about conversing like real people with differing opinions?

    MY point (to Matt initially, by the way) has merely been that if the Enquirer breaks a story such as this one, their history has shown that it can’t be 100% dismissed simply due to who the publication is. They are obviously out in left field (no pun intended) on many stories, but have nailed some pretty significant ones too. Is this just smoke or is there substance? FOX News has advanced and verified a portion of the hotel story (but I’m sure you don’t regard anything they print as legitimate reporting), so we’ll soon see if there are any legs to this incident or not. I have no doubt that other reputable media WILL report on this if it does. Just because they all don’t jump on it during the same news cycle doesn’t mean its rubbish, especially a very sensitive story such as this one.

    That is all I’m saying. If you want to scream at someone who is whining about liberal bias in this instance, you’ll need to find a different target.

  15. tas says:

    Wow, learn my place? Can you be more arrogant?

    Yes.

    How about discussing this with ME, as opposed to some caricature of me that you have created based upon your stereotypes.

    You don’t debate too well, do you? First you complain about my “style” and how insulting I am, then you become a hypocrite by dishing out a few insults of your own. Poor insults, I might add. Maybe it’s you who needs a “style”. At least I’m entertaining.

    Speaking of hypocrisy, what would you say if tabloids accused George W. Bush of sex scandals and using drugs? Oh wait, they have! Yet the MSM didn’t report those stories, either — and you assholes never batted a fucking eyelash about it.

    No wonder I have trouble taking morons like you seriously.

    MY point (to Matt initially, by the way) has merely been that if the Enquirer breaks a story such as this one, their history has shown that it can’t be 100% dismissed simply due to who the publication is.

    Do you realize how many stories the Enquirer has been wrong on? Do you? IT’S A SUPERMARKET FUCKING TABLOID! People have made fun of these things for decades! Just because their fat, ugly ass prick is lucky enough to strike pussy every once in a great moon in no way means that they are a reliable news source.

    I have no doubt that other reputable media WILL report on this if it does.

    WHICH IS WHAT I’VE SAID ALL ALONG! Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick, have you even read any of my comments?

  16. Craig says:

    To quote Will Ferrell in Zoolander, “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!!!!”

    I’m going to assume you just prefer to put people on in these comments, and not be serious about any discussion. That’s the only way I can possibly rationalize your “responses”.

    Wow.

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