Patterico's Pontifications

8/8/2008

Dear “Serious Press”:

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:24 pm

If it’s news now that he admits it, then it’s news.

Since he admits it, it was true.

Since it was true and it was news, you have no excuse. You got beat.

If the National Enquirer sucks, then you got beat by a news outlet that sucks.

That means you suck worse.

Thanks for listening.

Love and kisses,

Patterico

P.S. Even the erratic Tim Rutten agrees (h/t to the “portly pirate”):

From the start, the Edwards scandal has belonged entirely to the alternative and new media. The tabloid National Enquirer has done all the significant reporting on it — reporting that turns out to be largely correct — and bloggers and online commentators have refused to let the story sputter into oblivion.

What’s more, Rutten confirms that the L.A. Times got beat because it didn’t care:

As pressure mounted on major newspapers to take some aspect of the unfolding scandal into account, editors and ombudsmen issued statements saying it would be unfair to publish anything until the Enquirer’s stories had been “confirmed.”

Well, there’s confirming and then there’s confirming. One sort occurs when an editor mutters, “Find somebody and have them make a few calls.” Then there’s the sort that comes when that editor summons an investigative reporter with a heart like ice and a mind like Torquemada’s and says, “Follow this wherever it goes and peel this guy like an onion.”

Suffice to say that the follow-up of the Enquirer’s story fell into the former category in too many newsrooms, including that of The Times.

Is the latter category reserved for Republicans? Too often it appears that it is. See DRJ’s post below for an example of the differential treatment accorded John Edwards and John McCain.

The AP on John Edwards and Integrity

Filed under: 2008 Election,Media Bias,Politics — DRJ @ 8:42 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The AP leads the way explaining why the mainstream media was right not to cover the Edwards’ story. Douglass K. Daniel begins with the general principle that reporters love to break stories but points out that it’s not fair to report a “potentially career-ending scandal” based on rumors. Newspapers that file reports based on rumor “endanger their own integrity.”

Daniel also notes that the Edwards’ story was broken by the National Enquirer — a “supermarket tabloid” and “popular but trashy weekly” that is “not well-regarded” by the media. [We get it. You don’t like the National Enquirer.]

Finally, Daniel states that the Edwards’ story was never confirmed to the “AP’s satisfaction:”

“So did many of those who live in the blogosphere, where the Enquirer story was taken as fact in spite of its anonymous sources. Where, they asked, were the reports on CNN, in The New York Times, on the news wire of The Associated Press? The AP had a fair number of inquiries by phone and e-mail as to when it would report the Edwards affair.

The answer for the AP and many other news media was simple: When it could be confirmed. And it never was confirmed to the AP’s satisfaction or, apparently, to the satisfaction of others until Edwards himself owned up to the infidelity in an interview with ABC News.

“We began pursuing the story soon after it first appeared. But the standard for proof in this kind of intimate behavior is and should be very high,” said Michael Oreskes, AP’s managing editor for U.S. news. “Better to get it right even if we couldn’t get it first.”

Now let’s apply these criteria to the rumors about John McCain and Vicki Iseman:

The New York Times’ article on John McCain and Vicki Iseman was a potentially career-ending scandal based on rumors. In fact, the New York Times’ Public Editor later criticized the report for its lack of independent proof.

That didn’t stop the New York Times from breaking the story or CBS/AP from repeating it with McCain’s denial, nor did it prevent the AP from lumping Cindy McCain in with other “political wives who stood by their men in the face of rumored or alleged marital infidelity.”

But it’s true the New York Times is not a popular but trashy supermarket tabloid. Its declining advertising revenues and circulation show it’s not that popular.

— DRJ

John Edwards: “I was being 99% honest when I denied the Enquirer’s story”.

Filed under: Buffoons,Miscellaneous — Justin Levine @ 2:46 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

That’s not an exact quote above, but it remains the substance of his latest stance.  99% honest…I’ll have to use that line myself.

Here is an exact quote from Edwards though –

I am and have been willing to take any test necessary to establish the fact that I am not the father of any baby, and I am truly hopeful that a test will be done so this fact can be definitively established.  I only know that the apparent father has said publicly that he is the father of  the baby.

Once again, if you believe that, here is what you must also believe –

1. That he had a legitimate reason for visiting Hunter at 2:30 in the morning last month at a Beverly Hills hotel without telling his wife  – even though he claims he previously told his wife about his affair with Hunter in 2006.

2.  Shortly after Hunter’s affair with Edwards supposedly ended, she began ANOTHER affair with married Edwards aide  Andrew Young who managed to get her pregnant. That would mean that Hunter certainly gets around in the Edwards camp.

[Update]: Lee Stranahan nails it.

– Justin Levine

Why Edwards’ Denial About Paternity Doesn’t Pass The Smell Test

Filed under: Buffoons,Miscellaneous — Justin Levine @ 1:35 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

Some key passages from ABC:

Edwards also denied he was the father of Hunter’s baby girl, Frances Quinn, although the one-time Democratic Presidential candidate said he has not taken a paternity test.

Edwards said he knew he was not the father based on timing of the baby’s birth on February 27, 2008. He said his affair ended too soon for him to have been the father.

Edwards said he told his wife, Elizabeth, and others in his family about the affair in 2006.

Edwards today admitted the National Enquirer was correct when it reported he had visited Hunter at the Beverly Hills Hilton last month.

The former Senator said his wife had not known about the meeting.

So let me get this straight – he claims he ended his affair with Hunter over 9 months previous to February 2008, and that he previously admitted the affair to his wife. Yet for some reason, he still saw fit to visit her at a Beverly Hills hotel at 2:30AM last month and didn’t bother to tell his wife this time. Am I reading this correctly???

Oh wait, there’s more

Edwards denied paying any money to Hunter to keep her from going public but said it was possible some of his friends or supporters may have made payments without telling him.

He said he would ask questions about any possible arrangement.

Ok there…..

So I guess we are supposed to now believe that Edwards had an affair with Hunter that somehow ended.  Then AFTER the affair with Edwards ended, Hunter had ANOTHER affair with Edwards’ (married) aide Andrew Young, and managed to get pregnant by Young.

Riiiight. That’s something we should all believe. After all, Edwards and Young have declared that to be the truth, and we know what a great a great track record they have for telling people the truth – unlike the ‘tabloid trash’ that the Enquirer dishes out.

– Justin Levine

How Many More Times Does The Enquirer Have To Prove Itself Before People Stop Dismissing It?

Filed under: Media Bias — Justin Levine @ 1:18 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

It truthfully scooped the rest of the media that Dick Morris was ordering hookers while advising President Clinton.

It truthfully scooped the rest of the media on Rush Limbaugh’s addiction to pain killers.

It truthfully scooped the rest of the media on Jesse Jackson fathering a love child.

[Updated addition] It truthfully scooped the rest of the media when it published a photo of O.J. Simpson wearing Bruno Magli shoes – a critical piece of evidence in his murder/wrongful death trials.

It truthfully scooped the rest of the media on John Edwards’ affair.

Yet people are still disgracefully allowed to dismiss this great paper as merely being ‘tabloid trash’ that is not worth believing.

Some of these stories might not have even been reported at all had it not been for the Enquirer. Yet there are people out there that would rather have the truth swept under the carpet of history than admit that the Enquirer is a legitimate news outlet that is running circles around other national papers.

It is astonishing that some people still give the benefit of the doubt to lying, scum-sucking politicians over The Enquirer. Most other papers in this country should take lessons from it. The Enquirer is a national treasure – one of the few remaining fearless bastions of truth left.

Still wanna bet that it’s wrong about the ‘love child’ angle to the Edwards story?

– Justin Levine

Edwards Admits Affair; He Lied As Presidential Candidate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:54 pm

He denies the child is his. Read about it here.

In a quote I just made up, L.A. Times editor Russ Stanton said: “We still haven’t been able to confirm this story independently, but John Edwards’s admission that it is true goes a long way towards convincing us to reassign reporters to look into the allegations. We hope to have a story sometime in the next several months.”

Speaking of the Conventions …

Filed under: 2008 Election,Politics — DRJ @ 11:23 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Yesterday we learned that Bill Clinton will be speaking at the Democratic Convention on Wednesday night. It was previously announced that Hillary Clinton would speak on Tuesday, the second night of the Convention. Hillary’s topic will likely be gender rights and equality. Who knows what Bill will talk about — race?

Today’s news is that President Bush and VP Cheney will both speak at the GOP Convention on Monday night. The schedulers likely hope that only the most conservative viewers watch the first night, especially if Bush and Cheney use their speeches to buff their own legacies rather than help McCain.

I find myself more interested in watching the Clintons, Bush and Cheney than the nominees. It’s like watching a car race but instead of wondering who will win, you watch to see who will spin out.

— DRJ

Holding America Conservatives Accountable (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 10:35 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

CNN’s Political Ticker and the New York Times take note of a new liberal group called Accountable America. CNN describes it as headed by “long-time progressive operative and former MoveOn.org Washington director Tom Matzzie” whose goal is to deter conservatives from donating to 527 groups that might “swiftboat” Barack Obama and other liberals:

“A new liberal group, Accountable America, is offering a $100,000 reward for any information that results in “the conviction or judgment against a conservative or business-related organization” that runs afoul of federal campaign finance regulations – and is planning to send “warning” letters to roughly 10,000 major Republican donors next week laying out the PR headaches and risks they could encounter if they decide to donate outside the legal boundaries.”

Southern California blogger Donald Douglas at American Power has a roundup on reaction to Accountable America as well as more on Tom Matzzie and Matzzie’s prior anti-war ventures.

As for me, I want to congratulate Matzzie for realizing capitalism is the best way to get things done in America, although these letters sound more like the Mafia than good business.

UPDATED 8/9/2008: According to the New York Times The Caucus, Accountable America is an arm of the Accountability Now PAC. Instead of the $1M it hoped to raise from its recent money bomb, the PAC has currently raised $151,695.

— DRJ


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