The reporting of former presidential candidate John Edward’s slimy affair is a demonstration of just how low the media has fallen.
No, I’m not going to suggest, as you might suspect, that the sort of sordid tackiness that Edwards admits should have been ignored. What I am suggesting is that it deserved solid, professional attention and context.
The story didn’t break in the mainstream press, but in a “supermarket tabloid.” In fact, Edwards denied the story for months, suggesting you couldn’t trust that sort of newspaper. In fact, the tabloid was right.
According to a well-know ABC news investigator, the network had been following the story for months, but just couldn’t nail it down. As he told listeners, “those guys (the tabloid) can pay $50,000 for a story – all we can do is buy people a cup of coffee.”
Apparently, he believes successful journalism depends on the ability to pay informants. I missed that class in journalism school
When Edwards decided to “come clean” ABC offered him the opportunity to do so on Friday night. This was a pretty good deal for Edwards; few people watch news programming on Friday night, especially when the opening ceremonies of the Olympics are being covered on rival NBC.
We can presume that the decision to air the Edwards “confession” didn’t happen 15 minutes before the show, but sometime earlier in the week. So ABC might have had the courage to tell Edwards, “This is a big story, so if you want to talk to the American people you will have to do it Thursday night when a few people are watching.”
But that isn’t the way it worked. ABC failed to get the story in the first place, then let Edwards have the easiest road to contrition.
There is, of course, the other issue of whether the affair is really newsworthy. If you think character counts, it is. I do. And I don’t think Edwards gets off the hook with the arguments that private life doesn’t matter, it was personal, Kennedy did it, Clinton did it or whatever.
Edwards ran his campaign on “family values” and used his terminally ill wife as a frequent campaign prop. I’m glad he apologized; I hope his regret is sincere and I pray that he and his family will share forgiveness. But if a person can be this mixed up in his thinking during a campaign, the media need to let us know just what sort of judgment he has so we can judge his worthiness for high office.
It is a shame ABC didn’t have enough money to follow the money.
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|Published by: yBEPgLmLAkCxDFczLzx|
|Date: 2011-08-26 14:05:14|
|This atrcile keeps it real, no doubt.
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