Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Personal Asides: Scratch Edwards for Veep, Shades of Gingrich…NBC News Aghast at Allegation of Pro-Obama Bias.


Scratch Edwards.

That Drudge has a great sense of humor. One item from the “National Enquirer” reports that John Edwards has been caught sneaking in to see his love child and mistress Monday, July 21 at the Beverly hotel, the paper reporting that the married ex-senator didn’t leave until “early the next morning.” Considering that the “Enquirer” is aware of the perils of a law suit from one of America’s richest personal accident attorneys, the story seems to be a seal of doom for the Breck Girl. At the same time, Drudge quotes a source as saying Edwards is on the short list for Barack Obama’s vice presidential running-mate.

If the “Enquirer” story is true, Edwards may just have topped New Gingrich who had the worst record of any contemporary in the cheating department, Gingrich reportedly visiting Wife No. 1 when she was in the hospital after cancer surgery to tell her that he was getting a divorce. But there was no illegitimate baby involved. Later Gingrich married but got a second divorce after it was disclosed that he was having an affair as Speaker while condemning Bill Clinton for lying under oath about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Again, no illegitimate pregnancy was involved. Unfazed, Gingrich hinted about a run for the presidency in 2008 and appeared on an evangelical radio show confessing his misdeeds. A popular view of Gingrich in some Republican circles is that he is 50% genius and 50% nuts. My own view having known Gingrich since he was a backbencher is that the percentages listed are approximate but pretty close.

Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, made an heroic effort to be with her husband during the recent primary campaign and is suffering from cancer, earning plaudits for her gallantry in setting her own physical misfortunes aside to help her husband. But according to the “Enquirer,” Edwards is the father of blonde divorcee Rielle Hunter’s child. The paper disclosed the affair and pregnancy on December 31, 2007 during the primary campaign last year when Edwards was a strong candidate for the Democratic nomination. Both parties denied the report and a close friend of Edwards, Andrew Young (no relation to the elderly civil rights leader and former mayor of Atlanta) volunteered that he was the father of Rielle’s unborn child. The friend was married at the time with three children. He is still married to the same wife, the paper disclosed.

The “Enquirer” story posted on Drudge yesterday says that Rielle is a filmmaker whose company was hired by a group called “One America” (sound familiar? It’s a line taken from a common Edwards campaign theme). She received $114,000 to produce videos for Edwards’ campaign and worked with him on the videos. The “Enquirer” broke the story about Edwards last December when Rielle was pregnant-- at which time Edwards and Rielle strongly denied it.

The “Enquirer” story as carried by Drudge said that Edwards has managed a massive cover-up of the matter. Edwards was in Los Angeles for a press event Monday with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on homelessness. Evidently the “Enquirer” stalked Edwards because it reports that at 9:45 p.m. Monday, Edwards was dropped off at a side entrance of the Beverly hotel and a reporter watched Edwards get out of a car driven by a male companion and enter the hotel. It says he bypassed the lobby and walked downstairs to catch the elevator on the basement floor for a ride up. Rielle had reserved rooms 246 and 252 in the name of a friend who had accompanied her from Santa Barbara. Edwards left the hotel briefly with Rielle and then returned to her room where he remained until 2:40 a.m. the next morning. But when he left the elevator in the hotel basement, he was confronted by the “Enquirer” reporter.

The story says Edwards did not answer a question about why he was in the hotel but ran up the stairs leading to the lobby. He spied a photographer in the lobby and retreated back to the basement. Then he ducked into a restroom and remained there for 15 minutes until hotel security men escorted him from the hotel. At the time the original “Enquirer” story came out, Edwards strongly denied it saying, “The story is false. It is completely untrue, ridiculous. Anyone who knows me knows that I have been in love with the same woman for 30-plus years.” Rielle said at the time “the inuendos and lies that have appeared on the internet and in the `National Enquirer’ concerning John Edwards are not true, completely unfounded and ridiculous.”

NBC News Aghast.

NBC News is aghast at the suggestion made by Chris Wallace of Fox News that MSNBC is shading its news favorably on Barack Obama, declaring that MSNBC viewers understand the use of opinion commentator Keith Olbermann to anchor so-called “straight” election news. “I don’t need to dignify those comments,” said NBC News President Steve Capus since “our audience gets it. They understand that on one night they may be playing a different role than on other nights.” He said that Edward R. Murrow did both opinion and straight reporting.

Murrow did straight reporting before he became anchor of an early TV magazine show, “See It Now” and it was in that connection that he managed a foray against Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-Wis.), not as a straight reporter. Capus accused Fox of using Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity on election coverage. Fox rejoined that election coverage was anchored by Brit Hume and Wallace and that Ingraham and Hannity were commentators only.

David Gregory, whom you may see often as the sulky, deep-thinking sage with rumpled grey hair who is NBC’s chief White House correspondent says MSNBC is reflecting a broader style that has triggered a “revolution” in the TV news business. Ah, so that’s what it is—a revolution. “We’re trying to do something here,” said Gregory. Exactly. “We have a big tent. We have many different views, all on one network. We’re doing reporting, analysis and opinion all under one umbrella.”

So now you know.

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