Blame it on that old piece of paper hanging on my wall, the one that says I graduated with an honors degree in Media Studies all those years ago, but I am absolutely enthralled by the drama that is unfolding regarding former Presidential candidate John Edwards.
Back in December, 2007, the National Enquirer ran a story about John Edwards and his alleged mistress, a former campaign aide and filmmaker. According to the article, Rielle Hunter was pregnant, and the tabloid claimed that Edwards was the father. Vehement denials ensued from all involved, and a close friend of Edwards’ (also a member of his campaign staff) ultimately stepped forward and claimed that HE was the unborn baby’s father. The man was a married father of three, and yet, he came out and acknowledged paternity.
Things seemed awfully fishy, even then, and there were rumors of a cover-up, with suspicion that hush money was paid using funds from Edwards’ campaign coffers. A scandalous story, if true.
And yet, the hasty denials from Edwards and Hunter were enough to shake the mainstream media off the story. The alleged mistress went into seclusion, Edwards and his ailing wife kept on the campaign trail, smiles firmly in place, and the man who claimed responsibility for the child stayed with his wife and kids. Everyone conveniently moved on.
But, not the Enquirer.
They recently published an even more explosive story that claims Edwards was caught with Rielle Hunter at a hotel, visiting their alleged child. The story has been corroborated by a hotel security guard who was on duty that evening.
Here’s what I don’t understand: WHY is the mainstream media totally ignoring this story?
So far, only Fox News–while not as “fair and balanced” as they’d like folks to believe–has had the guts to report the story. They were clever, though: Fox is keeping their emphasis more on the “media blackout” than the allegations themselves, just in case the story’s veracity comes under further question.
I’ve taken some heat from friends on the fact that I am intrigued by this story. They consider the Enquirer a less-than-reputable publication and a questionable “news source,” and therefore, don’t see a need to discuss it just yet.
Granted, the British version of the Enquirer has been forced to apologize to several celebrities in recent years for inaccurate stories, including Cameron Diaz, Teri Hatcher, and Britney Spears (although, the story they apologized about–that her marriage to Kevin Federline was crumbling–ultimately ended up being true after all).
They do get things wrong on occasion. But then again, it was the Enquirer that discovered the photo of Donna Rice sitting in Gary Hart’s lap, ending his run for the White House. They were also the ones who found the photo of OJ Simpson wearing those Bruno Magli shoes that he claimed he never owned. I do believe that tabloids like The Star, OK, In Touch, and US magazine often make stuff up just to sell magazines, but I find that the Enquirer does their homework better than the others, and actually turns up some great scoops that no other news outlet manages to find. I’m convinced this is one of those instances.
So, where the heck is the mainstream media on this? The fact that the NY Times, the major cable networks, and the other 24-hour news stations have not yet mentioned the brewing controversy is remarkable in itself. It’s likely that they scrambling now to get reporters on this story, to search out independent sources and corroborate the Enquirer’s claims, but new info is going to be hard to come by. There’s no way they’ll legitimize the Enquirer’s reporting by citing them as a source, and if Edwards’ spin doctors are worth even a fraction of what he’s paying them, they’ll advise him to keep his mouth shut for as long as possible. The minute Edwards makes a formal statement, he green lights the story and implies permission for the other news outlets to report on it.
Yes, I understand that the man’s wife is very gravely ill. I understand that he has left the public arena, for the most part, and deserves his right to privacy. But, until very recently, Edwards was also one of the people mentioned as a possible running mate for Barack Obama. He is a man who consistently wrapped himself in the cloak of “family values” when he campaigned, and spoke of the love story with his wife as proof of his commitment and steadfast nature.
Now, it appears that it was all a load of b.s. And NO ONE is calling him out on it except the Enquirer and Fox News.
This story won’t keep for long, though. It’s going to come out, and it’s going to be a doozy, on many fronts. I think we’re going to be hearing a lot more in the weeks to come about cover-ups, corruption, and illegal money transactions, in addition to the inevitable navel-gazing on the failure of the media to pursue this legitimate news story.