August 10th, 2008
01:28 PM ET
10 years ago

Edwards affair: Was media part of a 'conspiracy of silence'?

John Edwards admitted Friday that he had an affair with Rielle Hunter in 2006.

John Edwards admitted Friday that he had an affair with Rielle Hunter in 2006.

(CNN) - Rumors about John Edwards' love affair had been circulating for months, but it wasn't until the former Democratic presidential candidate admitted to the affair that national news organizations jumped on the story.

After the National Enquirer reported catching Edwards making a late-night visit to see his ex-mistress last month, the blogosphere exploded, asking why the mainstream media was not reporting the story.

Was it because of a condescending attitude toward a tabloid's reporting? Bias toward a Democratic candidate? Or sympathy toward Elizabeth Edwards, who is battling an incurable form of cancer?

David Carr, a columnist for The New York Times, said many news organizations "tend to pick up stories from the National Enquirer with tongs."

"They have been very right about some things ... but there's been some misses too, so it's a little scary to follow on those stories," he said Sunday on CNN's Reliable Sources.

"It's also a little scary for big outfits to step up on a story like this. Sex may sell, but it can really hurt your relationship with readers," he added.

Enquirer editor David Perel said his organization feels a "big sense of vindication" now that Edwards has admitted to the affair.

Full story

Filed under: John Edwards
soundoff (176 Responses)
  1. Mathew

    It reminds me of a time when journalism waited to push a story until they had credible evidence to back up conjecture. That's not called a blackout, it's called avoiding tabloid journalism. Stop me if I've lost you, CNN

    August 10, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. G. Penley

    The media makes or breaks people, and does their best to elect their choice of candidates for office. You should all be very ashamed for what you have done with "freedom of the press." I am ashamed for you, and for all of us who listen to you.

    August 10, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. Flipper

    Of course left-leaning mainstream media outlets went out of their way NOT to report this. Is this really a surprise to anyone here that is intellectually honest? Because the story was broken by the tabloid National Enquirer, CNN & other outlets used that as a feeble excuse to barely report the story, or to follow it up.

    Edwards was spotted late at night in a hotel visiting a woman that was not his wife. Once he was caught, he ran like a little girl into the bathroom where he hid for 20 minutes until security escorted him out. Wow, that sounds like perhaps the media should do some sort of investigation. After all, if this was a Republican/conservative who was caught doing this, we all know it would be the top story for a month (Don't believe me? Can you say Larry Craig & toe-tapping?).

    This episode is just further proof that CNN & many other media outlets lean left & have abandoned any objectivity or journalistic integrity they had once possessed.

    August 10, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  4. ron

    does the media report any of obama's past in dept. the same bias seems to follow certain democrats. once the election is over guess where cnn's ratings will go. we are forced to follow now because of the extensive coverage but the bias with which it as shown to sen. obama is sickening. his past is never brought up, his racial remarks ( there are many if you chose to look) are never brought up, his belief (remembering he says he is a christian) about not buying his children Christmas and birthdays gifts are never questioned.his books are full of rebuttals and references to rev. wright are no longer believable. no bias no bull lol. cnn is even starting to sound like a tabloid we are given a heads up on what will be on say ac 360 and when it happens it's pathetically vague or just a fox or abc skim over

    August 10, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. NPA

    Perhaps this scandal will bring some attention to John McCain's own scandalous sex/romantic life. At least Edward didn't leave his wife after he learned she had cancer. McCain married a girl who could be his daughter before even finalizing a divorce to his wife after his wife survived a car accident but lost some height. Had that been Obama's past, no one would have heard the end of it from the media. John Edwards could have gotten the democratic nomination; John McCain got the republican nomination: so why is the media making a big deal of Edwards' past and not McCain's? Even McCain himself would never stop talking about it had it been Obama who left his wife for a kid after his wife survived an accident.

    August 10, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. Larry, Hazleton, Pa

    This is the stuff that needs to stay between John and Elizabeth Edwards and is no business of mine or yours. As they say clean up your own backyard before starting on mine.

    August 10, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. Shame on you !!!!

    John Edwards admitted Friday that he had an affair with Rielle Hunter in 2006.......Mr Edwards is lower than a snake and he is still lying about his affair and the baby .......just disgusting .....John McCain said No comment because he did the same thing to his 1st wife I personally think Edwards shouldn't get anymore Coverage ...the Heck with Him and his mistress !!!

    August 10, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  8. trudi

    I feel that we are all vulnerable and use poor judgement for reasons.
    However, John Edwards chose to show us the family man squeaky clean side to him and it is a big disappointment. If only he had told the truth from the get-go.
    Feel sad for him and for Elizabeth and their family.

    August 10, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  9. bobie

    the main stream media knew about this and covered it up – the media is doing whatever it can to hand NObama the election.

    don't trust cnn, abc, nbc, fox etc...get ur news off the internet

    August 10, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. julie overvig

    Throwing stones at a political man who had an affair, is like going fishing for fish in a barrel.

    August 10, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. Griff

    Borack Obama is not a World Celebrity. When you have a Nation saturated with Imigrants. Like France, Britain Germany, Belgium Etc...
    They had to accept the Idiot....

    August 10, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. Thomas Galvin

    Interesting how the NYTimes had no qualms running a story on its front page about John McCain's "affair" with a young lobbyist. That was pure tabloid trash.

    Meanwhile, various Edwards backers have been paying off Ms Hunter and Andrew Young to keep quiet the bizarre goings-on.

    August 10, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. ALECO1 -----NOKOMIS,FL


    August 10, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. RENEA

    39% of the TV stations and newspapers in this country are owned by Rupert Murdoch a conservative .Fox News and WSJ are just two of media outlets he owns.So why not bash the man who is owner of the most media outlets in this country? Bashing the MSM is a cop out.

    August 10, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Ursula.S

    I still find it fascinating that a close Clinton pal, Roger Altman, is part owner of the National Enquirer. Altman has been wanting back in the White House since Bill left and Altman served in the Treasury dept. He's served for both the John Kerry and Hillary Clinton campaign in financial issues.

    I still smell a rat. Was this a way for Hillary to knock out a candidate 10 months ago and then to know him completely out of the part so he'd be out of the way for Obama's Vice President or some other position or a run again in 4 years if Obama loses?

    August 10, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  16. Nathan from Texas

    Person A: "The Media has a liberal bias!"
    Person B: "Where'd you hear that?"
    Person A: "I heard it from the Media!"

    August 10, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. wiser

    The media has been selectively reporting throughout this entire campaign season. First, the media was only interested in Clinton bashing. The media along with the current DNC leadership was pushing anyone that’s not a Clinton.

    Early in the primaries that meant supporting Edwards and Obama and providing daily negative stories about Senator and President Clinton. Of course, they ignored the Edwards scandal on purpose!

    Now, the media is virtually ignoring Senator McCain or providing negative press.

    Wake-up America, the press only serves their own agenda. We the citizens are paying the price of a press that is neither fair nor balanced. Remember, the last election they gave great press coverage to George BUSH.

    For the security and prosperity of our nation vote the opposite of the anointed press candidate Senator Obama. This is the left wing’s answer to choosing a candidate with virtually no substantive experience. This is not the American Idol election!

    Haven’t we all paid a heavy price for selecting a candidate that the pundits said, “everyone wanted to have a beer with?”

    Democrats for McCain!

    August 10, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. Larry Sinclair

    Can you imagine if Barack Obama had engaged in such conduct?
    Oh yeah, he did.

    August 10, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. JIM...TX

    bobie...the media is doing whatever to give NOBAMa the election????? What in the world are you thinking???? MSM covers up Edwards affair and that helps Obama by...??????? Wouldn't you an the rest of the PUMA's been peeing on yourself IF Edwards had been picked an then this came out????? Some peoples ignorance is amazing......

    August 10, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. rayster

    Its time gov stayed out of the bedroon of the nation.
    You slime that chase this story down could not hold a real job.
    Its nobody's buisiness what someone does unless you are involved and then you have to deal with it.
    Privacy????? These media story tellers have no right to dwell into another persons life regardless of what you think of it.
    The media better pray to God no one every checks thier background as they are the dirtiest of the bunch. I know of meny who have done the same and worste

    August 10, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. Educate Yourself!

    Not only did the Media not talk about the Edwards Affair...

    They also have not talked about the Financing Fraud Case against the Clintons!!!!!

    August 10, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  22. RJ

    Heck yeah there was silence. CNN didn't report it, CSNBC didn't report it, neither did any of the big 3. The only one that even reported it was Fox. So yeah, I have to believe there was something up.

    The truth will out, as Shakespeare said. The truth will out.

    Fortunately the truth IS out and it shows what a hypocrite Edwards is. But he will move on and I hope things between he and his wife will be worked out, but then again, you never know.

    August 10, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  23. T-n-EP

    Fox News picked run a segment on his late night visit to Hunter last month. And CNN get your writers to say the right thing. On an article yesterday you said: "The woman who had an extrmarital affair ......", i'm sorry but the one having the extramarital affair was the jerk, Edwards. She is just another ...ore out there taking advantage of situations.

    August 10, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. A.J. in Fla

    Moraly corrupted and prostituted print, radio and TV media was part and still is of a conspiracy to protect anorther moraly proistituted "ambulance chaser" politician. And by the way I will like to kmow how many of you will leave the country in the company of some of the Hollywood elite and how may of you will drink the"cool aide"

    Further, while In the same subject, I wonder how many of you will question yet anorher moraly corrupted politician who is making a lot of money with his "dooms day" crap about the environment and ask him which city or town in the good old USA have polluted air as we wirtnessed every day in China ( see the Olimpics...!!! )

    Open your eyes, wake up to reality, be a Patriot , vote Republican..!!

    August 10, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. Political Cheaters

    First it was Bill Clinton!
    Then it was John McCain!
    Now John Edwards!

    McCain is the only one that hasn't told the Truth about it!!!

    CNN has done a poor job of reporting these things. They haven't even reported about the Financing Fraud case that's going on against the Clintons NOW!!!!!!

    August 10, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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