Open Phones: Edwards and the Media

Monday, August 11, 2008

Did you need to know about the John Edwards affair? Should the media have broken the story earlier, albeit with weaker sources? We take your calls!

Comment Below!

Comments [82]

Patrick from Manhattan

One wonders if the media sat on the story to advance the Obama campaign over Clinton.

Aug. 12 2008 01:20 PM
regmetc from brooklyn

i agree with those saying that 1) this showed bad judgement on edwards' part, but not for the reasons they might think, 2) this is a non-story, it out to be on PAGE SIX, not the front page and should get no more than a glancing mention in serious quarters and 3) "i'm shocked...shocked" he lied to reporters(!), shame on him.

that said, what we REALLY ought to be talking about is the persistent myth of the virtue of monogamy as some sort of ideal. it's like believing that being religious is a good in and of itself. as long as we keep letting these utterly baseless notions fill our heads, we'll keep falling for any other crap politicians throw at us.

Aug. 12 2008 08:11 AM
Harry from NYC

Joan and the other sycophants can't seem to get over the fact that the Breck girl lied and continues to lie! So they cover their disbelieving ears and say "I CAN'T HEAR YOU, BECAUSE I DON'T CARE". No, to the hopelessly corrupt, it doesn't matter that he is a liar and a self absorbed cheat. It speaks volumes of his character but you don't care because your agenda is more important. Well truth and honesty does matter, furthermore he says he made a mistake, huh, a mistake would be talking dirty to someone he thought was his wife after he accidentally dialed the wrong number; This wasn't a mistake, this was a continual breach of trust and fidelity, in short a lie that hurts his family and civil society. His lies are exemplified by the fact he can't even use words honestly. But the more appalling thing is how no other media picked this story up when it first broke. That is the problem here, you think your well informed, guess what, your not!

Aug. 12 2008 01:42 AM
Sue from Manhattan

His "fling" shows bad judgment in the post-Clinton's-zipper era, and I resent the fact that I donated money to Edwards' campaign - money that might have gone to pay for the fake video maker.

Aug. 11 2008 05:15 PM
ileen from manhattan

This is exactly the kind of story Brian knew would break while he was on vacation.

Aug. 11 2008 03:46 PM
Joan from Manhattan

No, I most certainly did not need to know about this. How many male (or female, for that matter) politicians have to have extramarital affairs that dominate the news for a days before extramarital affairs STOP BEING NEWS? Isn't this sordid and not very original or interesting situation something that John Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards, and whats-her-name Rielle should be told to work out for themselves? Why would any self-respecting journalist want to write about this mess, and why should I care about it?

Aug. 11 2008 03:24 PM

The weird thing is that BOTH #76 and #77 are right.

Aug. 11 2008 01:00 PM
Harry from NYC

Let me take you to school:
All affairs hurt individuals and society at large. If they are discovered and go unchallenged they denigrate the civil contract the two people engaged in and help to weaken the fabric of society. Furthermore, they hurt the families, eg. the spouse and children of the people involved by diverting effort to the affair and away from the emotional and financial needs of the family. Now for a self-absorbed jerk like Edwards that is no problem, but the rest of us have a right to know about this cad and decide if he deserves support.

Aug. 11 2008 12:24 PM
hjs from 11211

sorry but if "there's nothing that makes YOU feel better than to look at pretty women as you walk down the street" then masturbating is enough for you.
there are a lot of issues here power, sex, thinking one can get away with it, being bored in with one's wife, her illness, their 'agreement,' and man's need to spread his seed (like an animal.)

Aug. 11 2008 12:18 PM

John Edwards is nothing more than a slimeball, ambulance chasing lawyer, who is finally getting what he deserves. And, he continues to lie - the child IS his!

Aug. 11 2008 12:10 PM
Laura from NYC

Edwards never had a chance to be President but I support him for speaking out on behalf of the voiceless Americans and for his work in the public interest.

Republicans own the vast majority of media in America. I only wish I had their resources to investigate and to drive the agenda!

For example, what was gay prostitute Jeff Gannon doing all those nights in the White House? Why didn't anybody ask Dick Cheney about his mistress?

Why does Giuliani get a pass for his adulteries and for using public money to support his mistress (now wife)?

I suggest everyone look up

And support:

And I urge WNYC to stop promoting the Republican-driven media agenda and instead examine topics they seek to suppress; namely, public interest.....WNYC started out as public radio after all.

Aug. 11 2008 12:09 PM
Jeffrey Slott from East Elmhurst

Yeah, ok, I'm a straight guy and there's nothing that makes me feel better than to look at pretty women as I walk down the street. But that doesn't mean that I would allow myself to try to go to bed with them. What bothers me about Edwards, Spitzer, and Clinton, etc. is the sheer stupid, foolishness of what they did. Couldn't any of these guys simply grabbed a girlie magazine, locked themselves in the bathroom and masturbate? Why chance on ruining the reputation, not only of yourself but of what you've allowed yourself to represent? Strong sexual urges are one thing but these guys seem to have something a bit more pathological.

Aug. 11 2008 12:08 PM

I agree with you that the unsafe sex is the bigger issue. But I think we're as unrealistic about how many people practice safe sex as we are about how many men cheat.
And like you I was also sickened by the GOP lead impeachment during the Clinton admin. But Bill didn't have to LIE to us! He could just have said, "I'm sorry, man, I really screwed up, I'm human. But check it out, the economy is good, and we're at peace, so please try to forgive me and I'll try not to endanger our party again." Then: no impeachment.
It's the lesson no one learned from Nixon: just come clean, so we can move on. It's the coverup that kills us.

Aug. 11 2008 12:07 PM
hjs from 11211

Jay F
for me not at all, ie when vito fossella fell i thought his the real story was drunk driving or did he help her career, didn't care about his sex life one bit.

Aug. 11 2008 12:07 PM
Yes I Am from Manhattan

#64 Jay F.

LOOOORD if it had been a GOP'er, WNYDNC would have been at the top of every building on this island trumpeting to the world how corrupt and vile the entire group of people are.

An entire week of programming would then follow suit with the evils of all things non-Democratic.

Andrea Bernstein would have taken out a full page ad in the Times to "editorialate" the topic to every single person that can read the English language news thats fit to print.

Aug. 11 2008 12:05 PM
Merry from west side

Lying about affairs did not seem to hurt Bill & Hillary among those who supported them.

Aug. 11 2008 12:05 PM

look at how the Times pounced on McCain for an "affair" that they don't even know he had. They just suspected. It makes no sense then to simply turn a blind eye to Edwards.
People say the media is biased, and I've generally not believed them. But I just can't explain why they ignored this story. I suspect it's because they believed in his cause, which was a good one.

Aug. 11 2008 12:03 PM
hjs from 11211

are you and i still going to be talking about bill in 20 years?
true, but, i have to say it was the gop lead impeachment that was a waste of our country's time. the people were never interested in impeachment.

Aug. 11 2008 12:01 PM
Jay F. from west village

Let me put out this question...
What if it had been a Republican? Would it still matter as much? More? Less?

Aug. 11 2008 12:00 PM
Yoelish from Monroe, NY

I think the media question is a circular chicken or egg situation.

Politicians’ private acts, assuming they’re legal, don’t merit reporting, unless they become an obstruction to his or her ability to govern due to the media circus around it.

Aug. 11 2008 11:59 AM
Harry from NYC

Hey, He just wasn't home on sex night a few times and sought it somewhere else!!

Aug. 11 2008 11:59 AM

It's a little weird to me, this talk of 'alpha males' and 'men just want to get laid.' I don't care what he did on a moral level, I do think it's a bummer that he had the bad judgement to put the party's ability to win the presidency on the line for his own gratification. But men and women both want to get laid. Let's not slip into old school tropes on this.

Aug. 11 2008 11:58 AM
Beth from West Village

The Democrates accept the double standard. That's why they're a bunch of losers!

Aug. 11 2008 11:58 AM

#52, hjs,
I totally agree that it's none of our business, but it becomes our business when they represent our party and could lose the election because of it.
It IS our business when we lose months of time because Bill is being impeached because he lied under oath about his affair.

Aug. 11 2008 11:57 AM
hjs from 11211


Aug. 11 2008 11:56 AM
leonardo aponte from NYC

as for the lying.... does Irak ring a bell.... really our focus is rather misplaced

Aug. 11 2008 11:56 AM
Cynic from Queens

I am NOT an Edwards supporter. My father was "cheating" on my mother while she was in her final stages of her cancer--which my mother encouraged I suspect, and by the way, WHO CARES!! If we had a more European mindset this wouldn't be considered newsworthy.

I think this is just yet ANOTHER DIVERSION away from the debacle in Iraq and the criminals in the Whitehouse, especially the man-child with mad cowboy disease and "tricky-Dick" Cheney

Aug. 11 2008 11:55 AM
leonardo aponte from NYC

the surprising thing to me is that this is a problem, he is a powerful man. That is what they do, they abuse power. is human nature. those this destroy his political character? it should not, after all the current president is a born again ex cocaine addict...
do I wish I had known, for what? what are my options Mccaine.... ? this country has larger problems that extramarital affairs. plus lets remember the founding fathers, they set the example.

Aug. 11 2008 11:55 AM
Peter from Brooklyn

John McCain had an Affiar - he cheated on his first wife with his second - no mention in the MSM

Aug. 11 2008 11:54 AM

Caller Dolores is spot-on,
"What we need right now is for the Democratic Party to win." - Dolores
this is about gaining the white house, and this should have been reported ASAP, so we wouldn't have been vulnerable in November.

Aug. 11 2008 11:54 AM
hjs from 11211


well, edwards was not in office and his private life or bill clintons never is or was, my concern

Aug. 11 2008 11:54 AM
Suzanne from Brooklyn

I didn't need to know that he had an affair. But I don't want the media making that decision. Let me be the filter, not the news organization -- esp. with the rabid discussion going on elsewhere.

The people who needed to know were Democratic Party voters during the primary season. Maybe they wouldn't care about the affair per se, but given that it would certainly affect his electability, they certainly had a right to know.

Aug. 11 2008 11:54 AM
Evan from New York, NY

The media failed on this. The story is not the affair per se, but the fact that he funneled campaign money for her to produce videos for his campaign.

Aug. 11 2008 11:53 AM
Lance from Manhattan

Al (#38) is assuming he was having relations with his wife.

Aug. 11 2008 11:52 AM
Nelson from NYC

This is such a non-story. America's prurient obsession is shown in this and in why a corrupt and inadequate man but claims to be religious can get elected to the presidency.

Aug. 11 2008 11:52 AM
John from New York

Well said, Merez.

Aug. 11 2008 11:52 AM
Merez from Weehawken, NJ

Al from Marine are either an idiot or an ignorant virgin....condoms break on occasion.

Doesn't make Edwards' choices good ones but it also doesn't make them your business either.

Aug. 11 2008 11:51 AM
hjs from 11211

the real story should be he had unsafe sex with a stranger, (without telling his wife?)

Aug. 11 2008 11:51 AM

The public has a right to know if they are being lied too, or decieved by a politician.

Aug. 11 2008 11:50 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

Russia is bombing the crap out of Georgia, killing hundreds and creating thousands of refugees. Anyone noticed?

Aug. 11 2008 11:50 AM

This is why i watch TMZ instead of the Nightly news.

Aug. 11 2008 11:50 AM
Danielle from Stillwater, OK

Yes, I think the media needed to report on this because Edwards embedded himself into public service and in this capacity it is in the public's best interest to know what kind of decision maker Edwards is.

Aug. 11 2008 11:49 AM
Merez from Weehawken, NJ

I couldn't care less who John Edwards slept or sleeps with...This hypocrisy of holding politicians to a higher standard of never making a mistake, never being human, ESPECIALLY when it comes to matters of the heart, is really boring and not at all about the issues at hand.

This preoccupation with salacious drivel is a large part of the reason we have the milksop we have in the presidency currently.

I do think news organizations have an obligation to report the existence of the story...but it's already old news. Whether or not there was a child, or who the woman was makes no difference.

Aug. 11 2008 11:48 AM
David! from NYC

32 Michael, you're not missing a thing. Good choice.

Aug. 11 2008 11:48 AM
Al from Marine Park from Brooklyn

What the media don't seem to have picked up on is that Edwards said that the reason the child wasn't his was because of the timing of the affair which implies that he had unprotected sex with Hunter and risked giving an STD to his wife.

Aug. 11 2008 11:48 AM
Deborah from Bed Stuy

I wish we still lived in a world in which we respected the boundary between a private problem and a public problem.

People cheat. It's a problem between him and his family. It has nothing to do with his public life.

The media's voyeurism is the most hurtful actor here. I feel terribly sorry for his wife. She should be able to handle this privately, as part of a family.

Aug. 11 2008 11:48 AM
David Russo from Glen Rock, NJ

Personal is personal, politics is politics. Never the twain should meet!

Aug. 11 2008 11:48 AM

sure, but given how these scandals can blow up, thereby turning the white house back to the GOP again, I think it's fair for us to ask that people keep their noses clean for the time they are in office. After that, when you are no longer representing us, be my guest. Don't forget how much energy was WASTED because of Monica.
And if you can't control it, then for God's sake, pick someone discreet who uses birth control. Like Monica, the reason we know about Rielle is because of... lack of discretion on the part of the woman.
(And Mike Pesca on bringing up Dara, I actually believe in Dara Torres, but I don't know any swimmers or sports writers who believe in her anymore.)

Aug. 11 2008 11:48 AM
Ferd from Upper West Side

Testosterone channeled towards sex is so much more preferred than towards the killing of innocent people. Where a person sleeps and with whom is none of my business. What that person does to benefit humanity is what counts.

To paraphrase Dick Cheney - "So!"

Aug. 11 2008 11:47 AM
Robert from NYC

I don't care that he had the affair but what bothers me is that he did not just admit it immediately and get it out and possibly, POSSIBLY out of the way. I like John Edwards and I wouldn't mind were he to be placed in an administration post but I am truly disappointed in his denial of it and not clearing the air right away. As for the media not touching it? I don't mind they would have gone on and on and on and on for weeks if not months, especially CNN which has degenerated into the gossip channel.

Aug. 11 2008 11:47 AM
Michael from NYC

Hm.. this type of storys is the reason why I don't have a TV.

Aug. 11 2008 11:47 AM
a woman from manhattan

Here's an interesting piece on hypocrisy for those who yell "hypocrite!"

Aug. 11 2008 11:47 AM
michael from INWOOD

The newspapers are now deciding what the public should know and what we don't need to know.

I guess that happened with Iraq.

I guess we didn't need to know Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction.

Aug. 11 2008 11:47 AM
gabby from new york

I think the MSM did just right. They didn't report when they didn't have substantial proof, but they did pursue the story behind the scene. Ultimately the good result came out didn't it? The creep goes down.

Aug. 11 2008 11:46 AM
Freddy Jenkins

the revelation is newsworthy, the needless focus on the minutiae is not.
What should get more focus is the dirty dealings of Alaskan politicos or the forged documents that sent the US into Iraq

Aug. 11 2008 11:46 AM

America loves Sex and drama. While the world crumbles we care about a private citizen and the sex he has. This cannot be sustained or can it?

Aug. 11 2008 11:46 AM
Howard from Brooklyn

Maybe this is what Hillary is waiting for? We dont know all about Barak yet. There still could be something lurking out there about Obama. I dont blame Hillary for waiting all the way.

Aug. 11 2008 11:46 AM
Karen from Manhattan

Yes, it needed to be reported once there were verifiable facts supporting the story. This is why:

1. Money was being funneled to Hunter and we needed to know from where it was coming -- i.e., whether election funds had been misused;

2. Edward was lying. This showed bad judgment and a tendency to waffle. He was up for V.P. and attorney general and we needed to know that he had bad judgment and was dishonest under pressure.

3. He was incredibly stupid and selfish to run for President knowing that this was out there, and peole needed to know that, too.

4. He's probably still lying about who is the father and who is paying off whom to live where. All this is important for the public to know regardless of whether the underlying transgression involves sex, politics or money (or, as in this case, all three).

Aug. 11 2008 11:45 AM
Look in the Mirror from Manhattan

Oh goodness, WNYOBAMA can't make a Democrat look bad by reporting a true story about him.

Andrea Bernstein is probably sleepless at night in her decision to possibly report factual news that could hurt someone in her beloved political party.

Aug. 11 2008 11:44 AM
RC from queens

Why not just come to the realization, that a lot of guys in power are going to mess around. I mean he looks great for his age and his wife looked like she gained a lot and looked frumpy. McCain had affairs when he was younger, but he at least from what I can tell didn't cheat when he was in politics

Aug. 11 2008 11:44 AM

I will always appreciate the National Enquirer for being first to start questioning President Bush's wisdom/competence/sanity in 2002 when the rest of the so called press was praying to the man.

Aug. 11 2008 11:43 AM
hjs from 11211

what planet do these honest politicians come from?

in fact many people lie every day.

anyone want to buy some enron stock ??

Aug. 11 2008 11:42 AM
Derek from Brooklyn

John Edwards affair = boring. He's not even a politician anymore, he doesn't hold elected office... does he even have a job? I don't care if he had an affair, or the plumber, or the cashier at Duane Reed. Don't care.

Aug. 11 2008 11:42 AM

#19, O,
All well and good, but when you're running for national office, you have a responsibility to be honest with your supporters about your chances. And not just your own supporters - if Edwards had become the nominee, all Democrats and many, many independents would have had their hopes tied to him.
I think your perspective has validity, but not when the larger picture involves a race for the white house, and especially at such a crucial time for our country. This is not the time for hide the pickle with some new age videographer.

Aug. 11 2008 11:35 AM
O from Forest Hills


So what? Maybe she wasn't meeting his needs and he needed them fulfilled somewhere's else?
Big deal!

When people are sick or recovering, they can't always perform their marital "duties" and if he went elsewhere, that is his perogative. I am more P.O. that he didn't love this woman and feel any strong connection to her. There was no love or emotion involved. Just sex. That's what is sad.

Aug. 11 2008 11:30 AM
Lance from Manhattan

In response to post #10:
Elizabeth Edwards' cancer was thought to be in remission at the time of this affair in 2006. Her recurrence (with metastasis) wasn't diagnosed until 2007.

Aug. 11 2008 11:27 AM
Adrien Seybert from Brooklyn

Who cares?

I'd rather a politician with a zipper problem than a corruption problem. As long as he's not screwing my life up, I'm okay with it. You can't say the same for George W. Bush. He might not have extra-marital affairs but he's surely screwing this nation up.

Just another story that is deflecting attention from important stories such as:

That's right -- birth control is the new abortion. Whatever.

Aug. 11 2008 11:07 AM
Owen from Rochester

I'm also upset over how this will effect his anti-poverty work. I never thought Edwards was a saint, but I did appreciate his calling attention to these issues, and lending his then-good name to good organizations.

Aug. 11 2008 11:07 AM
Owen from Rochester

#1 and #4 have it right: I supported Edwards, and I'm extremely disappointed in him--not that he would have an affair per se, since that's between him and his wife, but that he would have such terrible, candicacy-crippling judgment. It really is humiliating to find that, after arguing in Edwards' favor for months during the primaries, it appears that he would have handed McCain the presidency had he been nominated.

Aug. 11 2008 11:05 AM
O from Forest Hills

You can't help whom you fall in love with, married or not, if you fall in love, than you are in love and that's what you want.

You don't control whom you fall in love with....

Aug. 11 2008 11:05 AM
anonyme from midtown manhattan

my friend said she thought he was creepy on a visceral level - chill up the spine early on when she saw him on tv, knowing nothing about him. amazing intuition.

Aug. 11 2008 10:45 AM
hjs from 11211

who cares!

men cheat. they can't help themselves, they are animals, get over it. let the wife deal with it as she wishes. we support her, of course.

ps after hearing about this all weekend, I'm saddened wnyc has to talk about it. maybe on the morning fluff show aka 'the take away' but so sad on BL show.

Aug. 11 2008 10:40 AM
O from Forest Hills

I think this is none of our business. As long as they were two consenting adults, it is their business! Why did Edwards even admit this to the media, that was a mistake.

My aunt tried to draw me into this yesterday and I said it has nothing to do with us.

I can understand what happened, his wife was sick and he needed some comfort, that is his life and his business. Isn't there anything bigger to worry about?

Another reason not to tell the media your personal life and why discretion is key!

Aug. 11 2008 10:40 AM

I understand that anyone with enough testosterone to run for president, also has enough testosterone to fuel an affair. Still, I have questions about how the Edwards, as a couple, could go on with this farce, understanding full well that they were jeopardizing chances of a Democratic victory in the fall. Because to me it's all about getting the white house back, and has been for the last 7 years. His statement was howlingly bad.
It's difficult for me to imagine that Obama would make such a mistake. However, as an Obama supporter who is utterly fatigued by this kind of exposure, I'd like to suggest that the next jackass running for president who gets caught in an unbelievably stupid affair must submit to chemical castration. I say that only half-jokingly. Because I don't really care about the affairs - it's sadly human nature. I do care about the results on the individual families, and, mostly, on the election.

Aug. 11 2008 10:39 AM
a woman from manhattan

And no, I didn't need to know, because Edwards was NOT going to be the VP. Anyone with powers of observation knew that. Because there are tons of people who can't get over his haircut, just like there are tons of people who will only vote for a candidate who wears a flag pin.

Wow. We have really high standards!

And no, if a politician isn't committing a crime or abuses during his adulterous affairs, I do not need to know.

Aug. 11 2008 10:36 AM
bruella from NYC

I agree with all who already posted about Edwards' jeopardizing a democratic win. A near-miss; it takes my breath away, actually.

Aug. 11 2008 10:34 AM
a woman from manhattan

What are we, all three years old? What man hasn't lied? Your own fathers probably lied, your boyfriends lied, your friends lied. We've all lied. Who do you know that hasn't had an affair or a fling during their long marriage?

The problem is not that he lied or had an affair (which he ended, and continued to support his wife and family, and very well, it seems), but with the American people thinking politicians have to be saints. We all know they're not saints, and yet we act totally aghast when the truth comes out.

Talk about double standards.

You know, in France, the people like to say, "if our president didn't have a mistress we'd be worried." Why? Because then they'd know he was dishonest (hiding one, instead).

Aug. 11 2008 10:31 AM
Lance from Manhattan

I absolutely agree with comment #1.
There's no way this story would have remained secret had Edwards been chosen as the party nominee for VP or President.

And then the populist who indulged in $500 haircuts, built a $6 million mansion, and sold himself as a consultant for hedge funds hiding in the Cayman Islands would have essentially given this election that is the Democrats' to lose to the Republicans.

Aug. 11 2008 10:21 AM
judy from NYC

I feel betrayed because i supported him. If he had won enough votes for the nomination we would have all been screwed. And for what? Meaningless ( according to him) sex. At least he could claim to be in love with her. Narcissism isn't a good reason for jeopardizing everything.

Aug. 11 2008 10:21 AM
michael from INWOOD

The media turned a blind eye to the affair.

They refused to investigate.

People are getting tired of hearing about one affair after another.

The guy is a lair and continues to deny he's the father. this guy has problems.

Edwards showed himself to be just another lying politician.

Aug. 11 2008 10:11 AM
David! from NYC

Yes, but now that the story has broken, I (foolishly) hope the press will back off...for Mrs. Edwards' sake, not his.

Aug. 11 2008 10:08 AM
Peter from Park Slope

Yes, I needed to know. Edwards is (was) on the short list for VP and attorney general, yet lied with such ease. It also showed tremendously poor judgment on his part. Edwards knew he was being followed by the media, but still went in the back way to a hotel late at night to see someone he was having an affair with. He lies, cheats, takes risky chances and learned nothing from Gary Hart. Yeah, the public needs to know that about people being considered for such high office.

Aug. 11 2008 10:05 AM

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