Posted by: anniewilson | August 9, 2008

John Edwards and the media’s attempt to protect him

When I started to write this post, I had planned to write about John Edwards and his amazing proclivity to behave like my ex-husband. Both of them cheat on women, both of them do it when the wife has cancer and both of them lie and lie and lie. But while I was researching the story, I found something even more despicable. Well, maybe not MORE despicable, but certainly more shocking. Lying cheats only abuse the people they lie to. The new topic is something that abuses ALL Americans.

It seems as though many, many, MANY media types were aware of the Edwards story and they all spent MONTHS trying to keep Americans in the dark about a man in whom we were being asked to entrust the most powerful job in the world. Editors and producers were rather blatant in their attempts to keep the truth hidden from the people who look to them for honesty and objectivity in the reporting of the news.

The media is, like it or not, a public trust. Like elected officials, the media in this country OWES us that honesty and objectivity. They actually owe it to themselves as well because without it, they are completely inutile. A dishonest press is like a Vera Wang dress with vomit on it. It’s there, but it’s totally useless. And you only have 2 options, you either clean all the vomit off of the dress or you throw it away.

I think it’s about time we considered taking action on the press in this county. At this point, I don’t really care if we clean the vomit off of it or if we throw it away because over the past 10 years, more and more people have learned that if you want to know what’s REALLY going on in this country, you have to have Internet access and some degree of objectivity. Those who like the pretty stories that the current press tells us keep them in business and lend them credibility that they long ago stopped earning.

The press doesn’t even try to appear objective anymore. And the audacity with which they covered the Edwards story is the audacity of those who do it often. There was no cover-up, only a few reprints after bloggers were muzzled for reporting facts. It’s business as usual at the New york Times.

The Times, one of the oldest and most respected publications in the world is obviously quite used to playing loose and fast with the truth. When one of their own bloggers tried to report the Edwards story, they quickly did their best to stop the truth from reaching the masses:

According to the blogger who wrote the story, these are the facts surrounding the subterfuge:

“Thursday evening John Edwards spoke to a group of reporters, denying an alleged affair, initially reported in the National Enquirer, which had become the subject of intense speculation on the web. The Associated Press moved a story on the denial, and our blogger posted an item on the Edwards denial, including some details of the Enquirer story. It also mentioned a Huffington Post item that identified a woman who worked for Edwards and a feature on that woman from Newsweek last winter.

Shortly after, editors trimmed the post to delete the Huffington and Newsweek material, believing it also had not been verified. About 10 hours later a Times editor, concerned about an item now entirely focusing on the Enquirer allegations, removed the entire post and comments, some of which expressed similar concerns.

After web editors discovered the deletion, they launched an internal discussion about the importance of not deleting items from the site without explanation. That resulted in the item being reposted Saturday evening, minus three more paragraphs of Enquirer allegations but retaining the link to the Enquirer story. A brief explanation for the one-day deletion was also posted. Since the reposted item no longer carried the blogger’s name, he felt it inappropriate to be responding online to past reader comments, so he removed his responses.”

As so aptly reported by Ken Layne , this is a story one would expect to find on the front pages of every paper in the country:

“…The story has everything a cable-news producer or magazine editor or soap-opera writer could ask for: adultery, political power, a monstrous mansion, betrayal, cash transfers, terrible lies, vanishing evidence, a fall guy, a saintly wife dying of cancer, a late-night hotel rendezvous in Beverly Hills, even a “love child.”…”

The press had more evidence that the Edwards affair was a fact than they had when they destroyed the reputation of Richard Jewell . So, it’s not as though the press is known for being meticulous in their fact checking when they come across a story that they WANT to report.

Edwards was a bit lucky in that the first publication to report his affair was the National Enquirer . While history has left the Enquirer with a rather shady reputation, history has given the more “respected” media outlets a good name which they long ago sullied. The irony is almost amusing.

The Enquirer appears to have a more respectable set of priorities than does the traditional press. They report stories that will sell papers. With the arrogance of a dictator and the condescending nature of a kindergarten teacher, the traditional press places it’s own ideals and desire to sway public opinion far above any other priority one might name.

I could probably find hundred of examples of how the press tried to cover this story but I don’t need to. The fact that very few of us heard about it from the major networks, newspapers and cable outlets is all the proof that’s needed. That the press was aware of the story during Edward’s failed Presidential campaign is now an indisputable fact.

Now what? What do we do with a press that doesn’t respect us enough to give us the facts and leave the opinion making up to us? What do you do with a newspaper that may or may not report relevant stories? I know what I’d do with it but I don’t have a birdcage.

When the National Enquirer is more trustworthy than is the New York Times, I think it’s time to relegate the Times to the rack at the grocery check out line. That way we can laugh at the headlines and leave it to silly old ladies and professional wrestling fans to purchase. And if we want the real news, we can just go online and read blogs that don’t have dishonest, biased and unethical editors to whom they must answer.

Perhaps if we as consumers stop buying the rags that don’t think we can handle the truth or think for ourselves, someone might try to get the vomit off of the front pages. I, myself, would be embarrassed to be seen purchasing a major city’s newspaper. Not even a bunch of coupons could get me to buy the Sunday paper anymore. Like the truth, I can find coupons on the Internet.

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