“Double standard!” cries Slate media critic Jack Shafer. “An elaborate cover up!” whines hacktacular OG ‘even the liberal’ blogger Mickey Kaus. ‘Liberal bias!’ wails the wingnutosphere (surprise, surprise).
All that self-righteous sturm und drang simply because the MSM hasn’t dove on recent reports from that bastion of responsible journalism, The National Enquirer, alleging that former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards cheated on his wife, Elizabeth, with a woman named Reille Hunter.
Oooh. Shocking. A liberal Democrat with no moral values–way to conform to years of movement conservative propaganda, John Boy.
Sorry, kiddies; as John Cole aptly notes, the Grand Old Party has upped the ante on sex scandals to the point where a mere (yes, heterosexual) extramarital affair (and illegitimate child) is now small beer, not worthy of the print expenditure:
The reason no one is paying attention to the alleged affair and love-child is simple. You guys have made standard affairs boring (I know, I know. You claim to be a Democrat.). No one is claiming Edwards was seen in two wetsuits hanging from the ceiling with a dildo lodged in his rectum. There is no DC madam with a black book involved. No one has transcripts of him instant messaging teen-age congressional pages or crashing their dorms in a drunken stupor. There is no arrest record for soliciting oral sex in an airport bathroom, complete with feisty confrontations with the arresting officer on video tape. There is no religious hypocrisy and gay prostitution and meth-fueled sodomy binge to talk about.
In short, aside from the fact that all there is to the story is an Enquirer report, it is just boring. You all have made standard affairs pedestrian and dull. Even when you use the phrase “love child,” what it boils down to is a guy allegedly sleeping with a woman. Pretty tame stuff, given what the GOP has provided us for the past few years.
Now maybe if he got caught engaging in oral sex with goats. That would probably get some attention.
I think there’s something to be said about the innate homophobia contained within media coverage of the aforementioned events. But the hook that made them ‘newsworthy’ by mainstream press standards is the fact that, in most instances, the principals were all on record as being militantly homophobic Christian conservatives; their moral (and, in many cases, legal) transgressions were thus in direct opposition to their images and records as public officials. Even former NY governor Elliot Spitzer was a grandstanding anti-prostitution crusader, so when he was caught in the middle of a prostitution ring, the immensity of the hypocrisy was too much for the jackals in the MSM to ignore (even as the puritanical response once again served as a revealing Rorschach Test of the collective American unconscious).
So, unless there’s more blood to this latest (alleged) ‘scandal’, one shouldn’t be surprised (nor shocked and outraged!!11one) at the underwhelmed non-response from the press.
Of course, as David Corn notes, even if this story never makes the 24 hour cable news cycle, the allegations have effectively removed Edwards from VP consideration:
[W]hether you read about this matter in the Times or not, the veep-vetters of the Obama campaign have probably paid the story notice. If Edwards is still in contention, he better have for them a rather convincing denial to allay suspicions that this time the scandalmongers of the Enquirer might have actually gotten it right.
Regardless, one wonders if the McCain campaign really wants the media to be talking about political figures running around behind the backs of their sick wives.
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