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. Jack

    The MSM is so controlled by liberals that it's a joke. The ratings show it, so I hope all you stockholders are happy. If it were some prominent Republican, it would be covered like hurricane Katrina.

    August 10, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  2. Pat

    I disagree that Edwards' affair is none of our business. He was running for the Highest Office of the Land when he had this affair and Blantantly lied to Americans over and over while giving no concern to his Political Position. If you dont' think it's your business I wonder if he had been lucky enough to be elected the Democratic Nominee and was in the middle of this scandal now and brought his Party down would you still think it was none of your business? Thankfully enough Americans were able to recognize he was not the man he tried to pretend to be. If all had been fooled we could be now looking toward another four years of Republican Dictatorship and Disaster! His blantant lieing has made his lack of character and concern for his Party and Family more than obvious and totally shameful.

    August 10, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  3. Turn The Page

    Is this anything new among the well off , well connected and powerful? If you ask Republicans, Democrats and Independents the response will be a resounding NO! Leave this man to mend his life and family. There are greater issues in this country and this world that begs for media exposure.

    August 10, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  4. Mark S.

    There's no ignoring what Edwards did because oif WHEN he did it.

    It was before he ran. he knew EVERY MINUTE of his campaign that he had this moral disater in his past. He could have been president and he very easily could have been VP.

    Forget the left-right angle the media camped out on Bill Clinton's lawn in 1992...There was no left-wing bias then..
    ..and the National Enquirer has no deep poilitical leanings...

    Its about your rep..and the good will you've built up...
    The media and the Clintons have always had wars.
    They wanted something on him. he had a past.

    Lets be honest....
    none of them (or us) wanted this Edwards story to be true.
    The payoffs, the sex groupie..the dying wife..the fake daddy who got paid off. to go away...
    ..all the while he was smiling and telling us how HONEST he was?

    ..this is too sick a story about a guy who even his opponents liked.
    If I was in the media..I'd have waited until there was more proof than the Enquirer well.

    they were right..but its no sin to be 'second' on a story if you are correct.

    August 10, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. lila

    We all saw how the NYT was lambasted with contempt for printing about McCain's questionable affair with a lobbyist. The fact that it was with a lobbyist and McCain won the primary made it more of a relevant news story. Even so, the NYT's was roasted for it. I think the media figured Edwards was not going to win the primary so it took more of a blind eye. I'm glad the story broke before Obama made a VP pick. And before the democratic national convention. I think it would be wise for the media to do a full investigative effert to uncover the details about McCain's relationship with the lobbyist before the republicand national convention. If it turns out McCain was having an affair it would give huckabee and romney a chance to over turn McCain as the candidate and save the republican party from McCain's hidden death card. I'm thankful Edwards was busted before he spoke at the DNC. So thankful. The media needs to flush out the details.

    August 10, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. Debby, NJ

    Who really care about EDWARDS

    August 10, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. DR

    Of course the MSM kept it quiet. When the Larry Craig thing came out, that's all you heard about. They were salivating over that!

    Most MSM outlets are in the tank for Obama and the Dems. Edwards used to be one of their golden boys. It took for him to come out with this personally for this to be reported on.

    Hypocrisy is all around in the media today! Look at what David Carr said:

    "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."

    I guess when he says readers, he really means left-wing readers, who most certainly loved the Craig story.

    August 10, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  8. Neutral

    Mainstream media is NOT reporting the FACT Obambi has dual citizenship, he has Kenyan citizenship since 1963. You don't hear CNN and other news media reporting that, so never expect them to report clandestine affair of Edwards.

    August 10, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  9. William, from Cali!

    I can't judge him: God can only do that! In his position, I probably would have done the same thing! Only, I would have "wrapped up" for sure!

    August 10, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. voter

    No, the conspiracy of silence from the media occured when jorunalist did not ask the apporpriate questions prior to going to war with Iraq. Second, the conspiract of silence from the media also occurred when journalist refuse to discuss McCain's gaffes.

    August 10, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. Susan

    What happens between Elizabeth and John Edwards is not anybody's business.

    August 10, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  12. seah

    Of Course they media was.

    So it would no hurt Obama's Chances.

    The media should have ran with Obama Lies to the people. They are keeping quiet and it is a disservice to the people.

    Obama has been given a free ride.

    Is it the money his campaign spends on media and ads or does the DNC and Chicago machine own the media. Or just Obama backers.

    The media has given Obama unfair Advantage over all others.

    August 10, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. Ed

    Just like are in a conspiracy to hide the true facts about the rela John mcCain!

    August 10, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. Lew In Atlanta

    Of course they were and led by CNN and the rag NY Times and is anyone surprised.

    August 10, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  15. pannie

    so rielli hunter is an out of control man eater and liz was sick in bed rielli saw a hungery man and went for him just for kicks.
    yet not one word has been printed about the couger on the prowl.
    she knew he was married, and she is over 40 way past any age of innocence time to own up ladies this one is is your court. it was her predetory behavior that set up this scenerio.

    August 10, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. Austin Wall

    Honestly, I don't care about anyone else's sex life. Not John Edwards', not George W. Bush's, not Dr. Phil's. Now, if some celebrity was involved in a sex scandal with my girlfriend, then I might care; otherwise, not one bit.

    August 10, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  17. Toni

    To Laurie: Well said,I fully agree. It is none of our business. We should be focusing on unemployement,home foreclosures,health insurance for our citizens & skyrocketing gas and heating prices.The media,as well as whomever is pulling the strings tries to continuously take our attention from what is important and inundate us with titillating stories.

    August 10, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  18. The truth

    Should he were a Republican, he would have been "tortured" by the liberal media since day one of the affair took place. It wouldn't wait until 2 years. Can the liberal media still be trusted for their no-longer professional bias? It has been widely known though.

    It's just a matter of time when all those unprofessional biased media will collapse regardless how big they are. Don't think that when you are "big" you can do whatever you want. Not in this Internet era and the future.

    August 10, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  19. What if?

    Don't worry Senator Edwards.......Senator McCain has been in worse…ooopppss!! LOL!!!!

    We approve this message...wives that are going to speak out LOUD...

    August 10, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  20. aware


    The media and the Obama team were part of the conspiracy of silence. 😦

    August 10, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  21. Rob indetroit

    If you keep trying to link Obama to this, your crazy or is it , that you are looking for a reason not to vote for Obama, and yes you are rascist if you would rather vote for a old ,senile ,angry,shell shocked, adulter; who keeps forgetting what day it is. and tells lies.

    August 10, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  22. Doris,Memphis,TN

    I think it was out of respect for Mrs. Edwards that the media did not want to touch this story. Elizabeth is a beautiful and courageous woman. John Edwards will pay for what he has done to her. I am
    sure he will not be in Obama's cabinet if he is elected.

    August 10, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  23. Paul

    if the media kept quiet, they sure are making up for it now. Newsflash: most people don't really care about what is essentially a matter between John Edwards, his family, and the woman invoved. Move on. They have. With all the real issues needing attention, why is the media focused on this?

    John Edward's affair needs no more publicity than John McCain's does. People make mistakes. Let's refocus, please!

    August 10, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  24. Peter (CA)

    What a disappointment. I thought he was the best candidate but the lying puts a different perspective on everything. I feel worst for Elizabeth, an incredible woman who has gone through so much. She found out, she forgave him and kept it to herself.

    But let's stop this mainstream media stuff. Surveys have shown that McCain has gotten much more positive reporting on the network news than Obama has. It's not about left or right, it's all about the feeding frenzy and who the media want to knock down a peg.

    August 10, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  25. susie

    When Edwards campaign about family the MSM had a right to tell the public what he was doing on the side. Now, I don't trust CNN, MSNBC, ABC or all the national news orginaztions they tell us only what they want us to know. No wonder, 85% are democrats. I wonder if Tim Russert would have been in the Democrats hip pocket?

    August 10, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
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