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. jon

    Yes. CNN and other news organizations helped keep this story under wraps. It just shows the BS media for what they are. Cheerleaders for either side of the aisle. There is no more objective media. Sickening.

    August 10, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Michelle

    Congratulations, MSM. Even the National Enquirer is out-ranking you on investigative journalism.

    And you have seriously dropped the ball on vetting Obama.

    You are making fools of yourselves with your tingles in your legs and stars in your eyes!

    August 10, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. Marie in California

    It wouldn't surprise me if the mainstream media hushed this up as long as possible. It's no secret they're in the tank with the Democrats, and especially so now with Obama, their Big Fish.

    Had Edwards been a Republican they would have been all over this like fleas on a dog.

    Personally, all I see in this entire matter is another politician who can't manage to keep his pants zipped up.

    Was for for McCain!

    August 10, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. Martin

    Bashing the MSM is not a cop out. There are so many examples of how the media in this country is not objective and fair. Sandy Burger stole documents from the national archieves and the whole issue swept under the rug! Ever notice when a republican does something wrong there always is a nice big fat "R" next to his name. For some reason when democrats are caught doing something wrong the main stream media more often than not seems to forget to add the "D". Republican gets caught in the bathroom at the airport with "happy feet" and it makes headlines for weeks. Democrat govenor "comes out" and he is labeled a hero. What ever happened to the democrat from Louisianna who got caught with all that money in his freezer?
    The newspaper industry is dying out for a reason. These papers are so full of one sided partisan editorials most middle of the road folks are not buying them anymore. The internet is winning because there are no filters on the conservative point of view. I want my news to come from a variety of perspectives. The is no diversity in the MSM. That's why people like Rush Limbaugh and Mike Savage are doing so well. You may not always agree with them but at least you get the stories / topics the MSM is either not talking about or is too lazy to investigate.

    August 10, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Delphine

    Don't ever trust somebody who calls himself John...

    that's why Barack Obama rules.

    August 10, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. Jim

    Why sure they did....See how they treated Hillary during the primary season....Glad he was in Obamas camp like most news media outlets...The main stream media knows that if they can elect Obama, the story line continues for at least four years...The news media does whatever it wants...we should all give up News....Oh Yeah, It isn't always tabloid trash in those grocery store papers at the check outs.

    August 10, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. Reggie, Germany

    Well as a Dem, yet looking to be objective, I guess you could say the case could be made that they were.

    MSM will tell you that since the only source was a tabloid paper know to cook up facts, that their acceptance of Edwards and his advisors denial were logical . This does not absolve them of their responsibility to follow through on a check of the facts independently, which was not done here.

    The consequences of such neglect could have been for the Dem. party to have Edwards as a nominie where these facts are just now coming out. That would have not just been a betrayal to his family and advisors at that point it would have been a betrayal to the entire country.

    That said the MSM is also asleep at the switch when it come to McCain!! They speak not one word of how McCain handled his first wife and basically threw her under the bus upon his return from Viet Nam so he could have an affair and then marry Cindy McCain only days after their divorce. The situation with McCain is no less repugnant seeing as his wife was seriously injured at the time he chose to behave in this manner. So why not make an bring this to the publics attention.

    Or better yet why simply accept McCain peoples explaination regarding his non affair with that female lobbyist??

    Now these are two real examples of a media 'conspiracy of silence'.

    August 10, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Mauri

    The Edwards adultery story had to be told. Now it's time to let it go because he's never been popular anyway, and for the most part, people really don't care. I was for Kerry, had to take Edwards, but now he's proven to be a sleaze, double-crossing his wife and children, and like so many of his ilk - needs to go back into his hole and pull the dirt over the top. And even if he's heard from again, no one would believe anything he has to say. Very sad.

    August 10, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. Ken

    Hey Flipper. You neo-goons stick out here like the bright red butts of baboons in the trees. You guys bring nothing to the table other than more right wing whining about the 'liberal media'....just pathetic. Like Mr. T. says: "Get some nuts!" And perhaps more important: "get some brains". Here is a quiz for you, designed to enlighten your muddled outlook - there is a difference between Edwards and Craig; which one broke the law while the other didn't?

    By the way, your name cracked me up. It fits your candidate to the 'T'!

    August 10, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  10. DR. YES

    i'm sure the msm was holding on to this until they could use it to influence the election.

    August 10, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. Vig

    The more relevant question was Obama part of the conspiracy? Did Obama also know and play dumb? We already know the media has become the evil empire during this campaign season – hijacking Hillary Clinton's nomination with their bash and trash while shoving Obama down our throats. It's time to reclaim Hillary's destiny and place her name in nomination as the next President and the first woman President in over 200 years. We don't want a media-sponsored candidate – we want a leader. Hillary '08!!!!
    The media has been complicit in promoting only men – Edwards and Obama ganged up on Hillary during the debates – both with their smugy smirks and pompous pounding. The media controls your mind.

    August 10, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. Sue in MI

    Exactly, Laurie-like getting Bush and company in prison where they belong; getting Pelosi out of the House (go Cindy Sheehan!), and getting elected as many first time people as we can...politicians who are there for life cannot possibly be doing a job for their constituents.

    August 10, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. bill in montgomery

    If Edwards had been closer to the Clintons, Billary would have told him how to handle affairs.

    August 10, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Pointng Fingers!!!

    TO-bobie August 10th, 2008 2:37 pm ET
    the main stream media knew about this and covered it up – the media is doing whatever it can to hand NObama the election.
    bobie *****You are an IDIOT!!! The Media and Senator Obama had nothing to do with Senator Edwards Love Affair ....Pathetic!!!
    TO- Ethan from Denver August 10th, 2008 2:27 pm ET
    He stayed in the race to keep Hillary Clinton from Winning
    **He stay in the race because he is a Disloyal IDIOT and so are You**

    August 10, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. bakersfield

    the news media did not vet edwards just like they don't vet obama they have their favorites. they don't do it to the ones they like, they go after the ones they don't like example bill and hillary

    August 10, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. newsnut

    John Ridge looks like an undercover spy for B.Hussein O.'s people. Watch this whole event of picking a V.P. for Senator McCain turn into something down grading, and no one in his campaign will be able to understand how the B.Hussein O. Spin Team got a hold of pertinent information before Senator McCain. The same senerio played out on Senator Clinton's campaign.

    August 10, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. jr

    The media in general is so far in the tank for anything with the term democrtatic attached to it that it comes as no surprise none of them bothered to follow-up the National Enquier stories, which they don't consider real journalism. The election of an American President has become a media event having nothing to do with what is best for the citizens of this country. Journalisms best days are behind it. Broadcast news is full of opinionated phonies all posing for ratings points. What a sad state of affairs.

    August 10, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. S. Denice

    Although what he did is immoral, he has confessed it to his wife and before the general public. His affair had nothing to do with the democratic primary and absolutely nothing to do with Hillary Clinton's loss. It will not play out on the convention floor as the disillusioned Ethan from Denver suggests. John Edwards did not cause Hillary's loss, Barack Obama did not cause Hillary's loss, the delegates and superdelegates did not cause Hillary's loss. Hillary and Bill Clinton caused Hillary's loss. At any rate, if John Edwards has asked the forgiveness of God, then forgiven he is...

    August 10, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. Holy Media!

    The 'Media' has been (and will always be) a part of every conspiracy. A conspiracy can't work its way along without the 'Media'.

    August 10, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. Elly

    For the sake of this family enough is enough!!!
    He made a human error in judgement he is guilty of infidelity …he did NOT kill anyone or steal anything!!!!
    who knows what bad judgements humans will make because of human weakness or even maybe stress
    I am sure John Edwards will punish himself enough without us as mankind judging him.Let he who is without sin cast the first stone as it says in the bible and for those who continue to do so news flash!!! *re-examine your own conscience*!!!

    August 10, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. newsnut

    This would have most definantly thrown a bad light on the Big shot Journalist who put their grandmothers up for calateral for B.Hussein O.'s charoit of fire miracle. For proof, look at what his church mentor did for him, and yet they hailed him to the sky. And the doper charge vanished like smoke at the cogering of the almighty Journalist.

    August 10, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  22. Mike Dallas

    Only if you think the words "The National Enqurer" and "credible source" can be used in the same sentence. After all, just how many two headed cows from Venus stories is one expected to take seriouslY/

    August 10, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. Taylor

    Blaming John Edwards for Senator Clinton's loss is ridiculous. Wasn't Bill Clinton involved in several scenarious of the same kind when he ran for president in 1992, and beyond? Haven't democrats and republicans been involved in similar trysts? Doesn't McCain have some shameful skeletons in his closet? Does one honestly think that Bill Clinton, John McCain, and others who've been in the same mold would risk giving their opinion about the Edwards issue? What these public figures stoop to is beyond disgusting. Edwards has been out of the presidential race for months and is not on a VP shortlist. As such, the media needs to turn their focus to more important news.

    August 10, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. John in Daytona

    Everything is a "Conspiracy" these days,LMAO

    August 10, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. Call me cynical

    I donated to his campaign and regret having done so. He is a scumbag. Integrity is the issue, whether it is related to sex or sniper fire. It is a real challenge finding a candidate worthy of our trust, donations and vote. Hypocrisy is rife amongst politicians, we all know that, but it doesn't make it ok.

    August 10, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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