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. Benjamin

    Don't worry. If the story was about a Clinton affair, it would have been the only thing anyone in the media talked about.

    August 10, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  2. joe

    Your wounderboy has been caught with his pants down and all you libs want to do is bash McCain, Fox and everyone but the sleezeball himself. I guess you can say he was keeping the the tradition of the party of Bill Clinton.

    August 10, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. Jim

    Does anyone really care about this crap?? I can't believe this was all over the stations, everytime it came on I kept having to change the channel but I guess the ratings must have gone up for them to be talking about it for so long...but what the hell does this have to do with anything? This is a personal matter, and to have it play over and over in a loop for days, this is pathetic...I can't believe so many people care about this and won't let it go and let him move on.

    August 10, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. AK

    Edwards is a conman. He conned his family and his supporters.
    Media knew nothing about it ????????????
    Media had no shame, in leading our country to war, then siding with wallet loaded lawyers. How come other professions are not equally relected in politics. Where are the academicians, scientists, philosophers?????

    August 10, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Pauly

    Why did the media not report on it? Why was there a cone of silence? BECAUSE THERE ARE TEN ZILLION THINGS MORE IMPORTANT GOING ON RIGHT NOW. The biggest love affair in this country is the media with itself.

    August 10, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. Andi, NY

    Of course the media kept it quiet-they were afraid it would affect THE ONE.

    August 10, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. george

    If only it had remained silent.We are being drowned in over-coverage and sensationalism of average news stories. I can only pray that John Edwards and Brett Favre never had an affair.

    August 10, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. Obama = Carter the 2nd

    Yes the media was part of it. If this was a Repub than it would have been in alot more places.

    August 10, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. Russ, Seattle

    Please remember that it was the National Enquirer who broke the story. NO Legit reporter would rush to vette a tabloid story. The fact that they were right about it is a true rarity. I don't see the conspiracy.

    August 10, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. Jeff Brown


    August 10, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. informed florida voter

    Something is wrong with our media today. They are bought and paid for. It's evident that they are protecting Obama as well. I wish some reporter with a penchant for the truth would grow some cajones.

    August 10, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. Ratgurl

    Seriously, who cares? I didn't care about the Clintons' affairs & I don't care about the Edwards' affairs.

    August 10, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. Nonsense

    This is no different than the media choosing to ignor the messiah's shady background and the company of fellow sophisticants he grew politically know Rev. Wright, David Ayers, Rezko, Michelle the militant. I just realized something....Obama is black (when he chooses to be) and his middle name is Hussein. Do you think the country would vote for someone named John Hitler McCain who happened to have a small back patch of hair under his lip?

    August 10, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. Kenneth M.

    Poor guy. She made advances on him. What could he do. Americans make too much of a bid deal about things like this. Especially women.

    August 10, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. Boken

    So typical of the liberal media to try and ignore an isue that tarnishes the Democratic party. If I did not keep up with the news I would swear that Obama was running unopposed. Media slant toward him is so obvious it is ridiculous.

    August 10, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  16. Like a top

    Sean Hannity and Fox News were the only two talking about this in the mainstream media when it broke.

    I love the spin that CNN puts on this article - that this story was from the National Enquirer. Sure the Enquirer was there but this story was independently verified by Fox News. They spoke directly to the security guard who helped Edwards leave the hotel after the media saw him.

    August 10, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Every time any of those talking heads say how sorry they feel for Elizabeth and re-run this, they are adding to her pain.

    Edwards did similar to Elizabeth that McCain did to Carol. Difference? McCain married a much younger multi-millionaire that kick-started his crooked political career – Edward and his wife reconciled.

    If character is a factor, McCain should be booted from politics also. Leopards don't change their spots – in fact, I believe the media is covering up McShame's most recent "affair" now. The media is marketing McWarmonger – repubs own the media, folks. Get real.

    August 10, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. Mk

    Why is this important ?
    Give one good, solid, valid reason anyone but Elizabeth Edwards and her husband should care about any of this.
    While there are some out there who have anointed themselves the supreme judges of what is morally acceptable and what isn't. The bottom line is this, there is only one God and I doubt he is posting here at the CNN website.
    Everyone else needs to get over themselves and focus on issues that actually are important to the well being of the country.

    August 10, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. merry

    Dear Sham on You:
    Does that statement also apply to John McCain?

    August 10, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  20. Kirsten Powers

    "If it looks like a phony, walks like a phony, and quacks like a phony, it's a phony."

    Does this sound like anyone else we know?

    August 10, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. Silence Dogood

    Another example of the pro-Obama press. Other people's affairs are horrible and demonstrate poor judgement. But an Obama supporter affair? Just keep in it quiet and private.

    Rememeber when Obama hated the Washington "dynasties". Then the Kennedy dynasty came out to support them. Um – time for a "change".

    Flexible morality is very handy to an Empty Suit. Now I finally get the "change" idea.

    August 10, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. Ron

    CNN didn't report it even when Foxnews did after the Enquirer story. To me there is little doubt that CNN was protecting one of its' former candidates. We all know the CNN, WSJ and NYT and to a much lesser extent Fox are all very bias in their coverage. CNN is in favor of Obama and democrats in general and they don't hide it. If CNN would ever take time to review their newscasts they would see how the little things they say and do show they are no longer a true news channel but rather an op-ed channel.

    August 10, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. PhilT

    This whole thing is nobody's business but the Edwards'.
    The lies may be pertinent, but those will be dealt with by the american people who either end Edward's political career or don't.

    John McCain cannot comment because he is an opportunist whose despicable behavior toward his first wife and family were never forgiven by Ross Perot and even the Reagan's were disgusted with "The Maverick".

    I once thought very highly of JM. I've lost all respect for McCain. He is a shell of his former self. He sold his soul to the Republican slime machine hopeing to become Bush III.

    August 10, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  24. Another grumpy old white woman for Obama

    At least he confessed to his wife and didn't dump her and the kids for a newer richer model.
    Not excusing his (John Edwards) behavior. These people all should have learned a lesson from the Clinton debacle.

    Obama /Biden
    Only logical choice.

    August 10, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. TLIOH

    As if the New York Times is concerned about what they report! PLEEEASE!

    August 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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