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. Bob

    Edwards life is his and it is no one's business but his, his wife's and his familys business. This is rag journalism. Shut up already.

    August 10, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. Kevin

    Why is stuff like this news? The only difference between Edwards and other politicians is that Edwards got caught. I don't care who's sleeping with who, as long as they can bring the cost of gas down and finish what we started in Iraq...

    August 10, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. Joel

    So, John Edwards cheated on his sick wife and the world screeches to a halt. John McCain dumped his sick wife for a rich heiress half his age, and he skates by.

    I get it. It's Okay If You're A Republican.

    August 10, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. Eric Camp

    He's not in office or running for anything. He's accountable to his wife and family, period. Unless campaign cash was used to keep this a secret., I find that it remains tabloid trash used for ratings. It's hardly relevant to me and my family.

    I like our mainstream press upholding standards that keep my newspaper from like British newspapers.

    August 10, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. ML - California

    Edwards will pay a much bigger price for his lies and his cheating
    that brought this unfaithful fiasco out in the open. Bill Clinton survived "his fling" – Edwards probably will do the same.

    August 10, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. Wrinkled Old White Man

    Interesting how Edward's adultery is a problem for Obama, and McCain's adultery is not a problem for McCain

    August 10, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  7. Walt

    Frankly it is none of anyone's business who John Edwards has sex with other than Edwards and his wife. Why it is even a story is beyond me. It has nothing to do with politics. I long for the days when the media kept its mouth shut about these sorts of things. Eisenhower, Kennedy, Clinton and lord knows how many other presidents had affairs. The only one I would guess who probably didn't was Nixon and that's likely only because he couldn't get any woman to sleep with him.

    August 10, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  8. Worst...Resume...Ever....

    If it was Mitt Romney, Wolf Blitzer would be holding daily specials on the developing story and most who peruse this site would be decrying the former presidential hopeful as being morally bankrupt. Some of you guys are hypocrites on the basis of political party. Incredibly lame.

    August 10, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. Denise

    McCain did worse to his first wife. When he came back from being a pow, he came back to find that his former model wife was disfigured and handicap and therefore cheated on her and eventually left her for a pretty, younger, richer woman. He married Cindy only 1 month after divorcing his first wife.

    This is well documented.

    So if the media wants to throw stones about extramarital affairs, they need to line up McCain, Clinton, Edwards and a whole slew of others and throw 1 big old stone at them!!!

    August 10, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  10. violeta

    I can't help but comment about this Edwards story. The CNN, ABC and other media outlets really makes excuses why they didn't run this story months ago. They said, it's tabloid story and no evedience if it's true. LIERS! I remember at the heat of the campaign there's rumor about Bill Clinton. About having girls when he travels and the story about that actress (I forgot her name). Well, that's also tabloid story. But the media covered it. WHY?

    August 10, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Oh Poooooleeeezzzze!

    Who cares?So what? Another politician caught with his zipper down...isn't that what politics is all about....give it a rest....meanwhile back at the farm, the world is at war, the Olympics are in a polluted city...but everyone knew that from the git-go...didn't they? Hindsight is always so moral, isn't it?

    August 10, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. Tabloid Politics

    I would guess that it was out of Respect for his Wife who is with Breast Cancer.

    Their family doesn't need any additional stress for someone's entertainment.

    August 10, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. Say what RENEA?

    So, because a conservative supposedly owns 39% of the TV and newspapers, we should ignore it when 61% of the liberal owned media purposefully and willingly lies to us?

    I know Olbermann, Matthews, and Cafferty will tell you that daily because they are the most corrupt in the business, but you need to do some research and not just regurgitate their crap.

    August 10, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. Tabloid Politics

    Clinton got the idea from Newt who publicilly reported that he doesn't have normal sex with women so he can deny "sleeping with them"

    August 10, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. Sue

    He always looked little too "slick" for me!

    August 10, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. Porter

    FoxNews has been covering it for a while now. CNN failed to mention that... weird, huh? Probably just missed it. Kinda like they just missed the whole Edwards story. As in it's intenional. CNN is propaganda.

    August 10, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  17. libs be dopes

    Obama/Edwards 2008!


    August 10, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. Luke

    You can't fault the media on this one. No responsible news organization would follow up a story from the Enquirer. The people crying foul over a so-called "bias" are idiots. The media jumped all over the Spitzer story and are now skewering Edwards. What concerns me the most is that this story was covered more than a WAR between Georgia and Russia going on.

    August 10, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  19. Moderator loves PUMA!

    Its now obvious, the Moderator has a crush on PUMA posters and lets all of their drivel through...

    August 10, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. Raymond Duke

    Yes they were. They used an annoymus source and the media jumped all over it. They did their best to hide Edwards affair and then the press claimed he dropped out after Iowa. Yeah if you add a couple of more primaries. Everybody that is not an idiot knows the liberal press is in the pocket of the democrats so why don't they just say what is obvious to everyone. We the liberal press or backing Obama and the democrat party. The good thing about the american people or they are indepedent thinkers and will not take to the liberal press rantings no more than they the american people took to Obama telling the Germans "PEOPLE OF THE WORLD OUR TIME HAS COME'.

    August 10, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. Geri

    Why don't we let this be a personal thing between the Edwards??? They had already dealt with it and now its all over the press and especially on CNN & the other cable news outlets and they have to deal with the world knowing about it. There are lots of prominent people who have affairs that we never hear about. Shows what a rag the National Enquirer is...anything for a buck to destroy someone. We should be worrrying about the economy and the price of gas and stop buying this type of trashy gossip paper.

    August 10, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. MJ

    Yes, the media was covering for Edwards as a lot of these men believe this behavior is acceptable unless you get caught.

    Just as the major media outlets will not cover the Obama affair with Larry StClair.

    August 10, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. Foreign Observer

    It's not a cover-up if it's nobody's business.

    August 10, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. Helen

    Obviously the media has bias. But this story is so unbelievable. How can John Edwards do such a terrible thing to Elizebath? My heart goes out for her. I am a breast cancer survivor. I know what she has been through. John Edwards, you are heartless.

    August 10, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. Laura

    The media got this one right (for once). Reporting unsubstantiated rumors would not have been responsible journalism - I'm glad they waited until they had corroborating evidence.

    If the standards of journalism of the National Enquirer are sufficient for you, you're free to pick up a copy at your local supermarket. But unless you want the MSM to start dutifully reporting that there are "reports" that Elvis is alive because some tabloid said so, don't complain when news outlets insist on doing some independent verification before running a story.

    Someone mentioned Larry Craig. Big difference - he was ARRESTED and pled guilty. In other words, there was actual evidence, not just rumors.

    August 10, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
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