New category: ‘Spin Cycle’ (today’s nontopic: John Edwards)

Frequently, readers get frustrated because they come here all ready to rant about the latest pointless Topic of the Day on the partisan, 24/7 TV "news" spin cycle, and I’m just not into that stuff. People accuse me of being too much into trivia, but to me, there’s nothing more trivial than the latest attack by one side or the other in the endless wars among the Republicrats.

But I do like to make folks feel at home. So I’m going to try a new category, "Spin Cycle," and at least provide a landing place for those of you who want to discuss these things. I’m torn about doing this, because it sort of makes me an enabler — seen in the worst possible light, it makes me like those idiot parents who have beer parties for their teens so they’ll do their drinking at home (never mind all the drunken teenage guests they unleash on the highways). But perhaps I can have a good effect, tossing in the occasional comment as to why the latest spin topic is so mind-numbingly insignificant. Or maybe someone else can do that.

Anyway, let’s kick it off with all the ranting going on out there about John Edwards these days. I’ll start it with an excerpt from a blogger out there who’s trying to bait the MSM into treating this as a serious topic:

    I can think now of five separate angles the mainstream news outlets are missing with the John Edwards/Rielle Hunter scandal story. In other words, by not writing about the charges originally—airing them out and letting their audience assess their validity—the media is now in the position of stamping down not one story, but five. What tangled webs we are weaving!
    Once the story hits the front pages, as it inevitably will, we’re going to hear all the excuses as to why reputable news outlets couldn’t find their way to telling their readers patently interesting news about a major political figure that was widely available on the web. This arrogance will help reinforce the perceptions in the audience that the media is not always looking out for their best interests and continue the move to alternative outlets. I’m as devoted a follower of the traditional media as can be, but this willful non-disclosure makes me want to scream…

Well, I almost screamed myself when I read the bizarre assertion that John Edwards is "a major political figure." Oh, yeah? Maybe you should leave the blogosphere and pick up a few newspapers. The last time I bothered to write about the guy, it was to dismiss him (and boy did the spinmeisters have fun with that), and Democratic primary voters quickly agreed with me, once they actually got to vote.

As relevant news goes, talking about this also-ran’s personal life is like gossiping about, oh, I don’t know, Gary Hart or somebody.

Make a case to the contrary if you think you can, but don’t expect me to stay awake for it…

24 thoughts on “New category: ‘Spin Cycle’ (today’s nontopic: John Edwards)

  1. Joe

    It is worthwhile to report on this development I think. The trial-shark has a big spot coming (or did have coming) at the DNC later this month, and he is (was) on the short-list for a cabinet post I do believe in the event of an Obama victory. Until the heat got a little hot on this issue, he was still engaged in quite a bit of self-promotion and publicity, entertaining reporters’ questions if he would take the VP slot if offered (he basically said he would). So he is still quite relevant in the political environment, and his promotion of his wife’s cancer troubles invites personal scrutiny and exposure – even if it’s not the fun, narcissistic-nourishing kind he obviously relishes so much
    Had it been a GOP also-ran like Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney, the coverage would be reaching a boil right about now. The New York Times was quite anxious to tell us about a potential John McCain infidelity – on the front page no less – with nothing to back it up whatsoever. Its worth pointing out the NYT’s enthusiasm for that story was when Edwards was still a very viable contender for the Dems’ nomination, and this story about him was out there then, and the NYT has never uttered a word about it.
    Edwards has actually been pretty lucky on this.

  2. Doug Ross

    So you don’t think a Senator who was formerly on the ballot as Vice President is a “major political figure”? That would put him in the same boat as Joe Lieberman, right? You remember Joe, don’t you? He’s the guy Edwards beat 131,174 to 7,147 in the 2004 South Carolina primary.
    Sure, the media should cover this. Why they don’t may be related to the fact that they would have to acknowledge the National Enquirer as the source, furthering demonstrating how spoonfed the media has become and just how far they have strayed into the cult of celebrity versus doing the right thing when it comes to serving as a watchdog for the public.
    It’s the same reason they won’t delve too deeply into McCain’s first marriage. Wouldn’t want to annoy the Straight Talker and lose access to the campaign bus that serves to prove just how special a reporter is.
    And, Brad, perhaps you should take a walk around your own newsroom and ask them why they are treading so lightly on the Lexington 5 story. It’s not too hard to believe Will Folks’ ( claims that The State is in bed (oops) with the public education establishment when its reporters won’t even push the Lexington 5 school board for answers to why they fired (“accepted the resignation”) of the superintendent and have a female principal on paid leave. It is wholly unacceptable that public employees like those on the school board feel they have the right to hide information from the people who pay their salary.
    The Edwards story will reach a tipping point soon. Then the media will decide it is okay to go ahead and then will beat the story into the ground 24×7 in lieu of doing real reporting and analysis.

  3. george32

    I am sure Rush, Newt and the other family values advocates (how many marriages between them) are giving their Dittoheads all the “information” they need about this situation, especially if it fits Dobson’s version of the Bible as well as their own lifestyles.

  4. rico

    Whatever happened to virtues like “integrity”? Or “public trust”? You guys will do anything to protect your favorite politicians. Justify it any way you like, you ARE an enabler. In this case you’re enabling a near-billionaire trial attorney who was almost our Veep. And you guys call yourselves journalists. That’s the big story here. You so-called “journalists” are nothing more than overpaid blatherers without an ounce of creativity or curiosity who just happen to know how to write.

  5. Brad Warthen

    See what I mean? Just busting to rant.
    Already, this is not my favorite category…
    Oh, and Doug. The District 5 thing — you just encapsulated our lead editorial for Sunday, which I edited only moments before seeing your comment. Read it in good health.

  6. Plate

    Look. If this story is true – and it appears clear now that it is – it means Edwards looked the voters in the eye and lied about it both in Oct and Dec of 2007 when confronted. Just weeks later he beat Hillary Clinton in Iowa finishing second to Obama and by most accounts deprived Hillary of a victory because the white vote was split down the middle. Hillary never recovered and Obama was launched. Had Edwards not lied, at a tme when his sick wife was out there stumping for him, surely he would have dropped out. For this reason alone, this is a huge story – how a lying pol greatly influenced an otherwise historic election.

  7. Sam

    A guy possibly slated to speak at the Dems convention isn’t newsworthy or a major political figure?? A VP candidate and presidential candidate??
    No wonder newspapers continue to lose readers and ad revenue so fast.

  8. Doug Ross

    Breaking news… Edwards admits affair, denies being the father of the child.
    NOW the press can go 24×7 on the story.

  9. bud

    How are we going to live with Brad. (Cyber speaking of course). Yup, Mr. Edwards succumbed to the temptations of the flesh. Too bad, he would have made a great attorney general.

  10. Doug Ross

    C’mon, bud, take off your partisan t-shirt.
    It went well beyond “Yup, Mr. Edwards succumbed to the temptations of the flesh”.
    He lied, repeatedly and publicly. He engaged in this activity most likely while his wife was sick with cancer. He engaged in secret meetings AFTER his wife was aware of the affair.
    The most appropriate thing he could do in this situation is resign from the Senate, go home to his wife and kids, and spend a decade or so working to regain their trust. Then live out his days doing pro bono work.
    He won’t, though.

  11. Mark

    Nowhere in this entry does this gentleman mention that they got beaten to the punch by the Enquirer, for god’s sake. At least we know where to find professional journalists today.

  12. Srfrgrl

    As a woman who is battling breast cancer for the second time in 5 years, I take this personally.
    Where’s Lorena Bobbitt when you need her?

  13. Mark

    Nowhere in this entry does this gentleman mention that they got beaten to the punch by the Enquirer, for god’s sake. At least we know where to find professional journalists today.

  14. bud

    Doug, I’m certainly not defending Edwards. But he’s not running for anything right now. His cabinet potential is gone. And this just doesn’t rise to the same level of evil as the Bush deception that led us to war. So I’m willing to let Edwards quitely fade away. The less we hear from him the better.

  15. Jerrod Matras

    Yeah, totally not a story! It’s not like he is a Republican allegedly taping the foot of another man in a bathroom stall!

  16. Jerrod Matras

    Yeah, totally not a story! It’s not like he is a (Super-well known public figure from Idaho!) Republican allegedly taping the foot of another man in a bathroom stall!

  17. Catherine

    “The most appropriate thing he could do in this situation is resign from the Senate…”
    John Edwards’ senate term ended in January 2005. As a former supporter of Senator Edwards, I am very disappointed, though sadly not disillusioned. One hopes he will one day redeam himself.

  18. Ralph Hightower

    Uh, Doug,
    Edwards announced his retirement from the Senate before the 2004 Senate election.
    As far as I know, he is back to chasing ambulances.

  19. slugger

    The question about John Edwards is how smart is he/or how dumb is he?
    No need to go into all the things that he did wrong in this situation.
    As it turned out, he was not presidential material. Or was he?
    Some politicians seem to play the Hollywood game. Some seem to play the game of “I am smarter than the ones that will catch me fooling around…Or we can just see it for what it is and that is sex is what drives the male ego”. Not all men want to play that game but those that do take the risk.
    Let us flip the coin to the women that play around. I have read that there is almost as many married women that play the sex games as there are men.
    Is this about the times in which all we see on TV and in the movies is about sex and violence?
    I am not trying to give a pass to John Edwards because he seems to the type that would only regret that he got caught.
    We can only hope that the pendulum will swing back to a time when people had more pride in themselves than to put their reputation and their family in jeopardy because of letting a moment of indiscretion blow away all in life that is precious to man and woman in a loving relationship and a loving family.
    Will we ever learn this lesson?

  20. p.m.

    You know, Mr. Warthen, you’re so far off base thinking Edwards is not a major political figure (spoken of as VP possibility for Obama, former VP candidate, once actually held office in Washington, third-leading Democrat vote getter in this year’s presidential primaries), you’re making me wonder, based on what you’ve written, why you bothered to label him a “phony” way back when.

  21. David

    Based on his demonstrated lack of character and his gutter morals, I am pretty sure that it has at least occurred to John Edwards that his wife will soon be out of his way, and that he can then use his millions and his good looks to ‘boff’ whichever little vixen happens to catch his fancy next. Children be damned.
    Then again, maybe all that hasn’t occurred to this evil little man…having the grain of decency necessary to at least wait until his wife was gone before he started ‘dipping his candle’ certainly didn’t stop him from pollinating this latest precious little flower as soon as she sprouted in front of him.
    What an evil, sick, twisted and small man Edwards is. What a hypocritical charlatan!
    Whew! I’m certainly glad we didn’t elect him for anything important.

  22. Derek

    This article was the epitome of what is wrong with the media. Pathetic. Your sole criteria for judging if a person is a “major political figure” is how often you choose to write about them? Your arrogance and ignorance rival Edwards’. You have no integrity, and have no business providing news to the public.
    However.. John Edwards is one of the most disgusting narcissists on the planet so if this article is your attempt to ironically attack him by saying he is meaningless, then I retract my above comment 🙂
    Good day.

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