Monday, August 11, 2008

Did the NY Times scam for Edwards and some Dems?

That question will upset Pinch Sulzberger, but we need to ask it because Times reporter Katherine Q. Seelye’s story, “Edwards Admits to Affair in 2006” (Aug. 8), has been significantly altered since first published online.

And I’m not talking minor revisions or updating with new information.

As first published, Seelye’s story included the following three paragraphs:

When The Enquirer first reported the affair, a group of Edwards associates, including from past campaigns, assembled at his headquarters to try to stop the story from moving from the tabloid into major newspapers. They declined to respond to questions or issue any statements that might produce news reports, according to those involved in the effort. It was led by Jennifer Palmieri, a longtime associate of both Mr. and Mrs. Edwards. At the time, two of Mr. Edwards’s associates said, some of his aides did not believe the reports, but others were suspicious.

But by this summer, the team had shrunk. Ms. Palmieri managed the crisis again, working mainly with Mrs. Edwards and Harrison Hickman, Mr. Edwards’s longtime pollster. Initially Mr. Edwards argued that he could ride out the latest report, but several associates said that if the reports were not true, he should denounce them.

Mr. Edwards said in his statement Friday that he had denounced the tabloid reports earlier because most of the details were not true. “But,” he added, “being 99 percent honest is no longer enough.”
Edwards has been “99 percent honest?”

Let’s get back to reality.

When you go now to the Times story, the three paragraphs have been reduced to just two, with part of the first paragraph and all of the second paragraph missing.

As altered, the Times story now reads:
When The Enquirer first reported the affair, a group of Edwards associates, including from past campaigns, assembled at his headquarters to try to stop the story from moving from the tabloid into major newspapers. They declined to respond to questions or issue statements that might produce news reports, according to those involved in the effort.

Mr. Edwards said in his statement Friday that he had denounced the tabloid reports earlier because most of the details were not true. “But,” he added, “being 99 percent honest is no longer enough.”
Yiks! Look at that!

Anything naming Elizabeth Edwards and identifying when she was involved in suppressing news of her hubby’s affair has been removed.

And any naming of big-time Dem operatives and their “hush about John’s affair” roles have also been removed since the Times first published Seelye’s story.

You’ll see that when you reread the three paragraphs. Everything in bold appeared in Seelye’s story as first published, but has subsequently been removed as of 11:00 PM ET Aug. 10.
When The Enquirer first reported the affair, a group of Edwards associates, including from past campaigns, assembled at his headquarters to try to stop the story from moving from the tabloid into major newspapers. They declined to respond to questions or issue any statements that might produce news reports, according to those involved in the effort. It was led by Jennifer Palmieri, a longtime associate of both Mr. and Mrs. Edwards. At the time, two of Mr. Edwards’s associates said, some of his aides did not believe the reports, but others were suspicious.

But by this summer, the team had shrunk. Ms. Palmieri managed the crisis again, working mainly with Mrs. Edwards and Harrison Hickman, Mr. Edwards’s longtime pollster. Initially Mr. Edwards argued that he could ride out the latest report, but several associates said that if the reports were not true, he should denounce them.

Mr. Edwards said in his statement Friday that he had denounced the tabloid reports earlier because most of the details were not true. “But,” he added, “being 99 percent honest is no longer enough.”
What happened? Why were such significant changes made in Seelye's story?

At the bottom of the Times' page hosting the latest version of Seelye’s story, there’s this in extremely small, gray font so light you might hardly notice it:
A version of this article appeared in print on August 9, 2008, on page A1 of the New York edition.
WHAT’S GOING ON?

I thank blogger AMac for calling this “Times latest” to our attention.

AMac linked to Tom Maguire at Just One Minute whose post still contains the material the Times removed from the version of Seelye’s Aug. 8 story AMac and Tom first found.

What to do now?

First, thanks go to AMac.

Second, I’m about to send Tom Maguire a link to this post. He has a lot of heft and smarts.

We’ll see what happens.

Stay tuned.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is not unusual that there are major reporting changes that occur in NY Times articles. The on-line edition for a day is generally posted sometime between 1-2 am. My husband generally prints out portions to read with his breakfast before going to bed. We notice the difference because I generally do not look at the electronic version until later in the morning.
Nothing at all is surprising to me anymore when it comes to news reporting. It was obvious, in surfing the msm over the weekend that there is a desire to play down the Edwards affair - that he is not an important poitical figure ( if being a a vp candidate, a senator, and a candidate 2x for president does not make one a public figure I am at a loss to know what does); that his wife has forgiven him (we have only his word for that - which I would say is not worth much); that he has admitted all there is to admit and has beaten up on himself so therefore it is not necessary to pile on the hurt. But I think that this misses some very important questions - some having to do with Edwards and some with eh way that the msmcovers the news. Regarding Edwards, there are many questions that are still unanswered - his account of when the affair began; why he was still visiting Hunter this past July if the affair was over two years over; the whole funding issue of Hunter's lifestyle; his employment of a man with quite a criminal record (see liestoppers). THe msm also is in for some severe questioning. The rumors of Edwards affair were first revealed by the National Enquirer during the time that Edwards was a candidate for the presidency. While rumors of a McCain dalliance with a lobbyist (unsubstantiated ) were fodder for a front page spread on McCain (as part of an article about his coziness with lobbyists) there was nothing reported about Edwards who in fact had hired his paramour (with no experience) to make a series of webcam videos to show the "real" Edwards. (A note here - these are so amateur that they are an embarassment.)The fact that the Young-Hunter menage a trois is being funded to a substantial tune by a major bankroller of the Edwards campaign raises an issue that should be explored (but to date has not) as well as the claims that the threesome (with kids in tow) were moved from their gated community home in Chapel Hill to an even more expensive residence in California to "escape the ongoing harassment of the tabloids" although their move was before the National Enquirer broke the most current news about the story - which means either that they had been actively investigating the story for some time (where was the msm?) or that the reason for the move is not completely true.
Edwards claims that the stories about him were 99% untrue which is why he denied them. My question is what was the 99% that was untrue? There are only two things that he has denied - that he is the father of the child and that he gave her any money (and even that was carefully couched). The willingness of the msm to believe Edwards and their unwillingness to pursue the story (reason, Edwards said that there was nothing to the story) only indicate that the msm play fast and loose over their pursuit of the truth.
cks

AMac said...

On Sunday, NYT Public Editor Clark Hoyt devoted his column to the Edwards Scandal.

Considering that this story was not-newsworthy for more than a year, it sure is attracting a lot of attention.

Contrast the sniffy condescension of Hoyt and the Times editors he quotes with Justin Levine's recounting of some of the National Enquirer's recent journalistic coups.

Hoyt wrote, "By the time the Enquirer reported on its hotel stakeout, Edwards was no longer a presidential candidate and, according to Times reporting, not even under serious consideration as a running mate to Barack Obama."

Hoyt is surely aware that this is a misleading portrait of the Serious Media's view of Edwards in July 2008. Here, for instance, is Andrew Romano's July 9, 2008 entry of Newsweek's house politics blog Stumper, The Obama Veepstakes:

--- begin excerpt ---

[Edwards'] Odds [for the VP slot]: Not half bad. Until this week, the biggest knock on Edwards was that he didn't seem willing to take the job. But with his hat now firmly in the ring, the North Carolinian has to rank as one of Obama's more compelling picks. Edwards's strongest selling point? He is completely and utterly safe--a factor that the unconventional Obama will value highly when making his decision, according to Stumper sources...

--- end excerpt ---

And Hoyt forgets to mention Edwards' inside edge as Obama's choice for Attorney General, as Slate's Mickey Kaus noted on July 23rd.

Dear Mr. Hoyt,

Here's three ways readers can evaluate the media's performance on a story.

(1) Did you break the story?

(2) If you were scooped, did you fully cover the story's developments?

(3) Are you advancing the story?

How do you grade your paper's performance? How do you grade your critique of your paper's performance?

On point (3), here are some questions:

* What do Jennifer Palmieri and Harrison Hickman have to say about their roles in covering for Edwards?

* Elizabeth Edwards is a nice lady, but what's the timeline of What she knew and when she knew it, and What she said to advance her husband's political career?

* Is there anything odd about campaign manager taking over Hunter from Edwards, then publicly announcing his paternity, then having Hunter move in down the street in their N.C. gated community, then Young and his wife inviting Hunter over for dinner and visits with their three kids, then both the Young family and Hunter moving to Santa Barbara to establish themselves in a second gated community? Does Young's criminal record speak to his credibility?

* Edwards' fellow leftist millionaire Fred Baron bankrolled the moves of both Hunter and the Young family (at a minimum). By Edwards' account, he knew nothing of this.

These are some of the issues that come readily to mind. I'm sure the news junkies of the Times could come up with yet-more-interesting angles. If they wanted to.

Are editors at the Times familiar with the adage, "follow the money"? How about "It's not the crime, it's the cover-up"?

Would the NYT's coverage improve if its editors spent less time patronizing blogs and supermarket tabloids, and more time reading them for leads?

Anonymous said...

The Democrats will end up tearing the Edwards phonies apart. Just watch and see.

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=5553013&page=1

Ex-prosecutor said...

If I were John Edwards and his cover-up team (or worked for the National Enquirer), I would be very interested in finding out whom Rielle Hunter told of her affair and pregnancy. While it's easy to pay Hunter to refuse to cooperate in the ensuing investigation, it becomes harder to keep payoffs quiet the more they have to be spread around. From what I've read of Hunter, it's hard to believe
that she didn't tell friends of her relationship with Edwards. Those friends are sitting on a story for which the National Enquirer will pay dearly.

What white-collar criminal defense lawyers know is if the original crime doesn't get you, the cover-up usually will. This is where smart people make their mistakes.

Archer05 said...

McClatchy Watch:
-John Edwards hires some unusual campaign workers-

Information is now emerging about the other Edwards campaign worker involved in the Rielle Hunter scandal, Andrew Aldridge Young. He is the married man who claims to be the father of Hunter's child.
Turns out Andrew Aldridge Young has quite a criminal record:…
-----------
It would seem Liz forgot to mention this present “Tough Situation” is the fault of President Bush. Had Little John become VP with Big John, NONE of this would have happened.
------------
(MNI=$3.87) How low can it go?

Anonymous said...

There are enough holes in Edwards' story to fly several 747's through. Abreast.
Why was Edwards meeting with his "former mistress" until 3am last July in a secret tryst if the affair was over in 2006?
Why did the Edwards campaign make payments to the woman from campaign funds?
If Hunter truly loves Edwards (Loverlips?), and he isn't the father of her child, why doesn't she permit DNA tests to prove that someone else is the father? If she did, and the tests showed Andrew Young to be the father, Johnny Boy would be home free.
These are simply the top three issues that Edwards has to answer if he expects the public to believe him. There are many others.
I don't believe Edwards would recognize the truth if it walked up and introduced itself to him. Worse yet, the MSM is actively covering for the little twirp.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

John -

All great comments by the commenters here. Just one thought. Some in the MSM "claim" they did not want to run with the Edwards story because of the NE's reporting on it. (How dainty of them.) Byron York, in this week's print issue of National Review mentions that the MSM had no compunction running with stories on Rush Limbaugh's prescription drug problem, even though that first surfaced in the NE.

Ah, what a web we weave when we try to deceive.

Jack in Silver Spring