Friday, July 25, 2008
John Edwards and the National Enquirer Story
L-R John Edwards-Rielle Hunter
At this point, I think it is appropriate to call a halt to the little game I have been playing dropping "clues" to the Mainstream News Media and "The Missing Story". Everyone in the news business knows what the story is. Sadly, most of the American public is still unaware of a story that the MSM does not want to print-though eventually, they will have to. This week, I have been astounded at the number of my friends and colleagues, well-educated and well-informed people, who had no idea of what happened this week in Beverly Hills. The story is a result of the investigation by the controversial tabloid, the National Enquirer, a source that many are understandably unwilling to accept. Yet, the story is not based on some anonymous source, but the observations of several Enquirer reporters themselves. Additional details have come out from other sources. This is a story that is clearly legitimate. The subject of the story is former North Carolina Senator, former presidential candidate and vice-presidential candidate, John Edwards.
First of all, there are a number of reasons why this is a story of legitimate public interest. Edwards is still a public figure and is rumored to be on Barack Obama's short list for VP candidate. He is also rumored to be under consideration as Attorney General in an Obama administration. The story goes directly to the judgement, veracity and character of a man who would be in such a position.
Last year, while Edwards was running for the presidential nomination, rumors surfaced (by the Enquirer) that he was involved in an affair with a woman named Rielle Hunter and that Hunter was pregnant with Edwards' child. Both Edwards and Hunter denied the story. Later, an Edwards campaign aide named Andrew Young came forth and stated that he (Young-a married man) was the actual father of the baby.
At that point, the story seemed to die. However, the Enquirer continued to believe that there was something to the story.
What follows below is from the Enquirer story published this week, as well as an interview today of Enquirer Editor, David Perel on the John and Ken Radio Show (KFI 640 Los Angeles).
This Monday, while Edwards was in Los Angeles making an appearance with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the Enquirer learned that Hunter and her infant would be staying in the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Further, that two rooms (246-252) had been rented by Hunter's friend, a certain Bob McGovern. Acting on the belief that Edwards would show up at the hotel, a team of seven reporters set up a surveillance.
According to the Enquirer article, at about 9:45 pm, Edwards was observed being dropped off at a side entrance to the hotel. Edwards reportedly looked around nervously before entering the hotel, avoiding the lobby and proceeding down side stairs to the basement where he took an elevator. Later, reporters observed Edwards and Hunter leave the hotel, then return.
At 240 am, Edwards was observed leaving the hotel through the basement, at which time, he was confronted by reporters. According to the article, reporter Alexander Hitchen asked Edwards why he was visiting Hunter, and if he would admit being the father of her baby. At this point, Edwards, without saying a word, ran up the stairs in the direction of the lobby. Seeing another reporter in front of him, Edwards turned and ran into a restroom where he attempted to barricade the door with his body to prevent the reporters from entering. After about 15 minutes, a hotel security guard arrived on the scene and escorted Edwards out of the hotel.
According to the Enquirer, several hotel guests observed the incident from a stairwell.
It should also be added here that the Enquirer believes that the Edwards campaign had engineered an elaborate charade to cover up the fact that Edwards is the father of Hunter's child, and that this cover-up involved having Young come forward as the father of the baby.
The Enquirer is also reporting (and this was also stated by Mr Perel today on the radio) that Young is still married and furthermore, Hunter was a dinner guest at the Youngs after his "admission" became public. According to the Enquirer, Young had brought Hunter to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to live in a nearby gated community.
On Wednesday of this week, Edwards was making an appearance at a poverty event in Houston when he was asked by a reporter if the incident in Los Angeles would harm his VP chances. Edwards said that he didn't want to talk about tabloid trash and lies and that he was (in Houston) to help people (I am paraphrasing). Then, on Thursday, in New Orleans, a reporter asked him about the incident, and Edwards replied that he had no idea what the reporter was talking about, but that he had already addressed those allegations.
Mr Perel also advised the John and Ken Show that the Enquirer was filing a complaint against Hilton Hotel Security for impeding them from doing their jobs.
It was also reported on the above show that KFI had received a leaked memo from LA Times editor, Tony Pierce to the papers bloggers directing them not to discuss the Edwards incident in their blog. The memo was read on the air today.
Finally, Fox News is reporting that they have interviewed the security guard who responded to the incident. He reported that the scene was one of bedlam with Edwards blocking the rest room door from reporters who were shouting questions and trying to enter. The guard described Edwards as "ashen and shaken".
So there we are. At this point, what we have is a very detailed story by the National Enquirer outlining the observations of their own reporters. We have Edwards' evasive responses, and we have the Fox News interview of the security guard. As it stands, this story is known all over the news media but reported only by certain outlets and bloggers.
Let us concede for the sake of argument that the Enquirer is a questionable source. Is there now not enough detail for the major news networks and newspapers to launch their own inquiries and report the story? Why are they not reporting this story? Is it because they don't find it newsworthy since Edwards is no longer a senator or candidate for president? I would refute that since he is still mentioned as a VP candidate or future attorney general.
Let us also remember that when he was running for president, Edwards put his family front and center. He portrayed himself as a family man. He drew criticism from many when he decided to continue his presidential campaign even though his wife was suffering from cancer. He denied being involved in an affair with Ms Hunter. It seems ludicrous for anyone to defend keeping this story under wraps.
The fact of the matter is I can only see two reasons for the MSM to be trying to keep the lid on this story. First and foremost, Edwards is a liberal Democrat. Had he been a Republican, the whole nation would be aware of it by now. Remember not so long ago when the New York Times was trying to develop a story about a John McCain affair? There is clearly a different standard. Tonight, since Fox News has jumped into the investigation, the matter was discussed on Hannity and Colmes. Sure enough, Alan Colmes weakly tried to make the case that Edwards is not really a public figure now and, thus, the story is not important.
Secondly, could it be that the media is trying to keep this thing from exploding while Obama is on his big trip to the Middle East and Europe? In other words, could it be that the media does not want anything to steal the limelight from Obama?
One thing seems clear to me. If the MSM is hoping this story doesn't have legs, they are in a state of denial. It is only a matter of a couple of days before the public at large becomes aware of what kind of man John Edwards really is. Then, when that outrage dies down, the public can ask what kind of news media we have in this country that attempts to control what is and isn't news according to their political agenda. Those that refuse to believe anything from the National Enquirer will have to face a more painful dilemma.
What are they to think of the LA Times, the NY Times, the Washington Post and all the other news organs that knew this story was out there and tried to bury it?