Heads-up to all those who’ve been saying only right-wing bloggers, Fox and talk radio would touch “that tabloid sleaze about Sen. Edwards fathering a ‘love child.’”
The Times, they are a changing.
Not the NY or LA Times. They’re continuing their news blackouts of the story as are most other self-described “responsible” MSM news outlets.
But the front page of today’s Raleigh News & Observer carries the headlines:
Edwards urged to address baby storyThe story’s under the byline of The Charlotte Observer’s Mark Johnson. Here are excerpts followed by my comments below the star line.
Could face snub at party convention
Johnson begins - - -
Former Sen. John Edwards might have to move quickly to save his spot on the national stage.
With two weeks before their national convention, several prominent Democrats are saying Edwards must publicly address anonymously sourced National Enquirer stories that claim he had an affair with a campaign worker and fathered her baby.
Democrats gather in Denver on Aug. 25 and Edwards, as the 2004 vice presidential nominee and a presidential candidate who won delegates this year, ordinarily would be a speaker.
Instead some Democrats say convention organizers will try to avoid the lingering questions if Edwards himself doesn't talk.
"He absolutely does have to [resolve it]. If it's not true, he has to issue a stronger denial," said Gary Pearce, the Democratic strategist who ran Edwards' 1998 Senate race. "It's a very damaging thing. ... The big media has tried to be responsible and handle this with kid gloves, but it's clearly getting ready to bust out. If it's not true, he's got to stand up and say, 'This is not true. That is not my child and I'm going to take legal action against the people who are spreading these lies.' It's not enough to say, 'That's tabloid trash.' " …
Two weeks ago, after the Enquirer ran the story about the July 21 hotel liaison involving Edwards [and the child’s mother, Rielle Hunter, while a friend of Hunter’s watched their baby in another room in the same hotel, Edwards] dismissed a reporter's question in Houston and used the "tabloid trash" line. Edwards brushed off a Charlotte Observer reporter in Washington last week: "Can't do it now, I'm sorry."
His designated staffer for press contacts has not responded to e-mail requests for an interview.
No one answered a reporter who rang a buzzer at the gate of Edwards' Orange County home on Wednesday. Friends and former staffers refuse to comment now, though they helped Edwards last fall by dismissing the Enquirer story of a sexual relationship between Edwards and a campaign videographer when it initially broke.
"Sorry cannot help you on this one," wrote Jennifer Palmieri, a former top Edwards aide, in an e-mail.
The Enquirer published a story in October, citing unnamed sources, claiming that Edwards was having an affair with a woman who had filmed a series of videos during his presidential campaign. The tabloid later reported she was pregnant. Two weeks ago, the tabloid posted a story online chronicling how Edwards had visited the woman, Rielle Hunter, and their child July 21 at a Beverly Hills hotel and that the paper's reporters confronted him afterward.
Hunter posted an online statement at the time denying the October story. In December, a campaign worker for Edwards, Andrew Young, claimed paternity of the woman's then-unborn child.
Last week, though, the Charlotte Observer obtained a copy of the child's birth certificate, which did not list the father. Hunter's lawyer said only that "a lot of women do that" and that it was a personal matter between Hunter and Young.
"If there is not an explanation that's satisfactory, acceptable and meets high moral standards, the answer is 'no,' he would not be a prime candidate to make a major address to the convention," said Don Fowler of Columbia, S.C., a former Democratic National Committee chair.
Edwards' political currency, which is his value as a public speaker and advocate, declines each day the story goes unresolved, Fowler and other Democratic strategists said.
The entire Johnson/Observer story's here.
Johnson and the Charlotte Observer did a lot of digging and produced an important story.
Most of it will be news to N&O readers. The paper didn’t report anything on the affair until last week and then not much in two stories it buried in the “B” section.
This past Sunday the N&O’s public editor offered readers a series of excuses for the N&O’s lack of coverage. For example, that the July 22 National Enquirer story about the Edwards-Hunter tryst at the Beverly Hilton Hotel named no witnesses.
In fact, the NE’s story named three witnesses: Edwards, Hunter and Bob McGovern, who the NE said was a friend of Hunter's who drove her from Santa Barbara to LA’s Beverly Hilton and watched the baby while Edwards and Hunter had their tryst in another room.
But I want to leave the N&O's shameful failure to report this story last year and until last week for other posts.
Back to Johnson and the Charlotte Observer’s story:
Wasn't it great to read in the story the kind of reporting you get when reporters pursue a story and dig?
It's important to learn no one “answered a reporter who rang a buzzer at the gate of Edwards' Orange County home” and that “[f]riends and former staffers refuse to comment now, though they helped Edwards last fall by dismissing the Enquirer story of a sexual relationship between Edwards and a campaign videographer when it initially broke."
That’s providing readers with critical information that helps them connect the dots.
Knowing that friends and former staffers who helped Edwards deny the story last fall are now refusing to comment enables readers to ask: What’s changed between last fall and now?
Well, for one thing a baby’s been born. And there’s DNA testing that can easily establish whether Edwards is the father.
A big hat tip to Johnson and the Charlotte Observer for their work.
As for the N&O’s running the story, I think they had no choice.
The Observer is North Carolina’s largest circulation daily. With the Observer giving the story such attention, how could the N&O ignore it?
Also, newspapers across the country are running the Johnson/ Observer story. For example, the Dallas Morning News.