Saturday, August 09, 2008

Edwards or MSM: A “Which is Worse?” Reader Poll

At Instapundit you get to cast your vote for either:

A politician who has an affair while his wife has cancer, and lies about it.


A reporter or editor who covers for the politician who has an affair while his wife has cancer.

You can check the vote totals, too.

As of 10:30 AM ET the reporters and editors were racking up about 80% of the vote.

That seems about right.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Churchill Series - Aug. 8, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

I won't be wrapping the Abdication Crisis posts today because I need to spend most of my blogging time on the Edwards-Hunter affair story. I'll finish with the Abdication Crisis Monday. I'm sorry for the delay but trust you'll understand.

For today I'm reposting this oldie from Feb. 2007.

Most Americans who know of Chequers think of it as a kind of Camp David for British Prime Ministers. And that’s on the mark as to its purpose, but it has a much richer history and architecture than Camp David. Chequers is a large Elizabethan house with marbled and richly paneled rooms.

As you would guess, Churchill loved the place. After its last private owners gave it to the nation as a country place of rest and enjoyment for Prime Ministers, Churchill was one of the first quests.

The first Prime Minister to use it as an official residence was Lloyd George starting in January, 1921. A few weeks thereafter, he invited Churchill to stay as his weekend guest. Clementine did not accompany Churchill so we find him on Feb. 6, 1921 writing Clementine:

My darling,

Here I am. You would like to see this place – Perhaps you will some day!

It is just the kind of house you admire – a paneled museum, full of history, full of treasures – but insufficiently warmed – Anyhow a wonderful possession. […]
”Perhaps you will some day!” Churchill saw to it that she did.

BTW – “insufficiently warmed” was an understatement. The house had no central heating when Churchill was PM, and I’m mot certain it does now.

During WWII when Eisenhower would be getting ready to visit Chequers, he would sometimes tell aides he was going to “that damned icebox.”

I hope you all have a good weekend.

Churchill’s letter to Clementine is found on pg. 225 of Speaking for Themselves: The Personal Letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill, edited by their daughter, Mary Soames. She also provided background on Chequers.

Will Edwards now challenge Kerry?

A JinC commenter, tongue-in-cheek, thinks he might.

The commenter says:

I suppose that John Edwards will take a paternity test as soon as John Kerry has released ALL of his Navy records, as he so many times promised....

Two peas out the same pod.
Well, sure.

All of us except most MSM news orgs and Dems would like to see Kerry release his Navy records. Finally!

But I'm betting the commenter and most of you know that if the stakes depend on Kerry publicly releasing ALL his Navy records, Edwards can take a very slow walk to the DNA lab and still beat Kerry.

Has John Edwards finally told the truth?

I’m very skeptical about that.

A JinC commenter responding to Edwards admits to sexual affair; denies paternity just said:

We are now asked to believe that the meeting between Rielle Hunter nd Edwards at a clandestine location in the middle of the night occured even though the affair had long since ended and the child was someone else's? He knew nothing of monthly payments?

And reasonable people are expected to believe this?
I’m right with the commenter.

Then there’s this from a story concerning what ABC News is reporting Edwards is now saying:
He denied being the father of Hunter’s child and also that the affair was over before his wife’s cancer recurred in March of last year.

In his statement, Edwards said that, "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 also have not been engaged in any activity of any description that requested, agreed to or supported payments of any kind to the woman or to the apparent father of the baby," Edwards said. A former Edwards staffer has claimed to be the father of the child.

Left unanswered in the ABC release is whether Edwards is asked to explain why he was apparently in a Los Angeles hotel room with his former mistress last month.

A source familiar with the ABC interview said that Edwards does the broadcast alone and explains why his wife is not beside him. Edwards says that while politicians often have their wives beside them in similar situations, he has embarrassed her enough.

Edwards had heatedly denied the affair after the Enquirer floated the possibility last Oct. 11." ...
OK, you got that?

He’s not the daddy. He's not involved in regular payments to Rielle Hunter. The affair is over.

Those denials go against what the National Enquirer’s been reporting.

So what are we to make of what follows in Politico’s story:
ABC News chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross said the Enquirer’s reporting was “95 to 96 percent” accurate[?]
Would Ross score the Enquirer "95 to 96" if he thought it was wrong about Edwards being the daddy?

And there are those press reports that Enquirer editor David Perel says his paper will be able to prove the parts of its reports Edwards is still denying.

The Politico story's here; the ABC News report's here.

Edwards admits to sexual affair; denies paternity

ABC News is reporting - - -

John Edwards repeatedly lied during his Presidential campaign about an extramarital affair with a novice filmmaker, the former Senator admitted to ABC News today.

In an interview for broadcast tonight on Nightline, Edwards told ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff he did have an affair with 44-year old Rielle Hunter, but said that he did not love her.

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.
A former campaign aide, Andrew Young, has said he was the father of the child.

According to friends of Hunter, Edwards met her at a New York city bar in 2006. His political action committee later paid her $114,000 to produce campaign website documentaries despite her lack of experience.

Edwards said the affair began during the campaign after she was hired. Hunter traveled with Edwards around the country and to Africa.

Edwards said his wife, Elizabeth, and others in his family became aware of the affair in 2006.

Edwards made a point of telling Woodruff that his wife's cancer was in remission when he began the affair with Hunter. Elizabeth Edwards has since been diagnosed with an incurable form of the disease.

When the National Enquirer first reported the alleged Edwards-Hunter affair last October 11, Edwards, his campaign staff and Hunter vociferously denounced the report.
"The story is false, it's completely untrue, it's ridiculous," Edwards told reporters then.

He repeated his denials just two weeks ago.

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

The rest of the story’s here.


Edwards will be a guest tonight on “Nightline” at 11:35 ET. The network says it will broadcast the Edwards interview in its entirety.

What’s happened is a searing ordeal for the Edwards family. I’m sorry for its innocent members.

The affair and Edwards’ lies create problems for the Dems, not least the questions it raises about Sen. Obama’s vaunted judgment.

The Obama camp has done nothing to distance itself from frequent reports Edwards was on Obama’s short V-P candidate list; or at least a sure shot for an important post in President presumptive Obama’s administration.

Did Edwards fool Obama or did Obama know about Edwards’ affair?

And if he knew about it, did Obama hope as Edwards has for many months that the Dem-dominated MSM would cover it up?

Edwards has also made it much harder for the Dems to campaign this fall attacking the GOP for sleaze.

The Edwards family’s ordeal and the Dems problems caused by Edwards’ odious behavior are important.

But IMO the most important and troubling aspect of the affair is what its revealed about the bias of so many of our news organizations that led them to do all they could to avoid reporting the story or grossly downplaying it and trivializing its importance.

If you don’t think political bias was at play in MSM’s treatment of liberal/leftist Edwards, just recall what happened when Anita Hill, with no supporting evidence or witness – simply her accusation – charged Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment.

Or recall what happened when a woman in Durham told a series of wildly improbable stories about being beaten, strangled, and raped orally, vaginally and anally over the course of 30 minutes by three while members of the Duke lacrosse team in a tiny bathroom people who’ve seen it say they have trouble understanding how four people could ever squeeze into it in the first place, and if they somehow did, how they'd have room enough to lift their arms.

And speaking of the Duke hoax and the frame-up attempt it spawned, none of you have ever seen a picture of that tiny bathroom, have you?

You haven’t seen a photo of three reporters squeezed into the bathroom, with the photo taken by a press photographer who was also in there with them, have you?

Yet as the Edwards-Hunter affair story played out these two-plus weeks, MSM orgs keep saying, “Gee, we don’t have pictures. We wouldn’t touch the Edwards story until we do.”

Polls typically show only about 20 or 25 percent of Americans say they have "some" or "a great deal" of trust in MSM news orgs.

It's no wonder.

Hat tip: Ed in NY

McClatchy’s N&O’s unbelievable “credible” sources

This past Sunday, Ted Vaden, the Raleigh News & Observer’s public editor pitched readers the N&O’s explanation for why it had never published anything about the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter affair until just days before; and then only a few details buried in the "B" section.

Vaden didn’t remind readers the former Senator, Presidential-nominee candidate and self-described “poverty fighter” has been an N&O favorite since he entered public life.

Vaden said nothing about the N&O’s 1998 endorsement of Edwards during his only Senate race; or the N&O's 2004 endorsement when Edwards ran for Vice-president with Sen. John Kerry.

And Vaden never explained why the Dems at McClatchy’s N&O reported nothing last year about Edwards’ affair with Hunter and her pregnancy, even when Edwards and Hunter both publicly denied the affair and another man in the N&O’s circulation area, Andrew Young (not the former UN Amb.) stepped forward to say he was the daddy.

Wouldn't you think the N&O, which John Edwards calls "my hometown newspaper," would view Edwards as a "credible source of news?"

But this past Sunday public editor Vaden told N&O readers:

The N&O approached the story cautiously. On Wednesday, John Drescher, executive editor, told me that N&O reporters were investigating the allegations but that the paper would not publish a story about the tabloid report. "I don't view the National Enquirer as a credible source of news," he said.
There you go.

That’s what readers and advertisers pay the N&O to do, right?

"Filtering the news" is what former N&O executive editor for news Melanie Sill called it.

By the way, does anyone know why the N&O thought Crystal Mangum was such a "credible source of news?"

Vaden's entire column's here.

MSM's failure to follow-up on the Enquirer's Edwards-Hunter stories

National Review's Byron York writes about it. I comment below the star line.

York begins - - -

I spent part of Thursday corresponding with people at major news organizations that have not reported the John Edwards “love child” story. Why haven’t they mentioned the scandal? Are they doing their own investigating of the National Enquirer’s allegations? Are they under management directives not to report it?

Most of the conversations — all of the revealing ones — were off the record; like anyone else, people in the press aren’t particularly eager to speak publicly about topics that make them uncomfortable.

But from the exchanges, it’s possible to piece together some of the rationales journalists are using to continue not to report the Edwards story — and to see how the whole strange episode will end. So without quoting anyone or betraying any confidences, here is what appears to be going on:

First, the journalists don’t believe that news organizations should just uncritically pass on the reporting of the Enquirer. They have a point; the Enquirer has been quite accurate on some stories and inaccurate on others. One could argue that the tabloid’s reporting on this particular story contains a wealth of detail that remains un-denied by Edwards or anyone else. Still, there’s nothing wrong with news organizations being skeptical of the source.

But the question is not whether the news organizations should simply repeat the Enquirer’s reporting. It’s whether they are actively pursuing the story, doing their own reporting in an effort to confirm the basic allegations that Edwards had an affair with campaign staffer Rielle Hunter, and then had a baby with her, and is now covering it up. And here it appears — from this completely unscientific survey — that there is not a lot of independent reporting going on.

Instead, some big-time journalists seem to believe the Enquirer has nailed the story, and they are waiting for the tabloid to release the full results of its reporting. In the meantime, they are staying away from the story because it appeared in the Enquirer.
In other words, they’re waiting for the Enquirer to fully report a story that they wouldn’t otherwise report… because it’s in the Enquirer.

That could have changed by this point.

If news organizations had thrown a lot of resources at the story in an attempt to confirm (or disprove) the Enquirer’s allegations, it’s likely some of them would have come up with something in the two and a half weeks since the Enquirer reported the story on July 22. Instead, there has been nothing. ...

York's entire article's here



One excuse most MSM have used for their failure to investigate and report on the story has to do with "there were no witnesses."

That's not true as far as the Enguirer's July 22 report is concerned. Five witnesses are named: two Enguirer reporters, Bill McGovern who the NE says drove Hunter to the hotel, Rielle Hunter and John Edwards.

Remember Anita Hill's sexual harassment charge against Clarence Thomas?

Hill and her media flacks who rushed her unsubstantiated charge onto the front pages of America's newspapers and demanded the Senate Judiciary Committee investigate it (which the committee did , with the hearings televised), have never produced a single witness to what Hill charged, unless you count Hill and Thomas as witnesses.

The MSM's treatment of the Edwards-Hunter story has demonstrated once again the old MSM double standard.

Hat tip: Jack in Silver Springs

Charlotte Observer & the Edwards-Hunter story

At the Columbia Journalism Review's Clint Hendler has a very good, link-rich account of the Charlotte Observer's efforts to report on the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter affair story.

Handler begins - - -

For the Charlotte Observer, it began in October, when the National Enquirer published an article suggesting that presidential candidate--and former North Carolina senator--John Edwards was having an affair.

The Enquirer's story purported to quote crush emails the woman-in-question, Rielle Hunter, had sent to friends. But otherwise the piece was thin. And the tabloid, while enjoying a quiet reputation for being libel-proof, doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the hearts of editors and readers.

Still, the McClatchy-owned Observer, the largest paper in Edwards's home state, sent Lisa Zagaroli, its Washington reporter, up to New York to make contacts and check around.

"I looked at it as a news tip," says Rick Thames, the Observer's editor. "I wasn't put off by it being in the National Enquirer. I was worried it if it was true."

Thames felt Zagaroli was making progress. But then Andrew Young, an Edwards campaign aide, stepped forward to claim that he, not his boss, had impregnated Hunter. In Thames eyes, "the story cooled."

But on July 22nd, the National Enquirer published a luridly written tale asserting that Edwards had joined Hunter and her now some-months-old baby behind closed doors in the Beverly Hills Hilton. After said meeting, the Enquirer reporters wrote that Edwards led them on a Keystone Kops style chase through the stairways, basements, and bathrooms of the hotel.

That ratcheted things up in North Carolina. On July 24, Jim Morrill, a veteran political reporter at the paper, posted an item on his blog linking the Enquirer's account. Morrill called the Hilton to confirm, as best he could, the substance of the story. But they weren't talking. Neither were his Edwards contacts. ...

The rest of the story's here.

I think Hendler's account underplays some of the work the Observer has done on the story, especially lately.

Observer reporter Mark Johnson's story I linked to here gets my vote for the best MSM reporting on the story to date.

Until Johnson's story yesterday, those few MSM news outlets that mentioned the story relied almost entirely on rewrites of the July 22 National Enquirer story. There's nothing wrong with that if you acknowledge the other paper, which the accounts I read did. But they didn't advance the story.

Johnson, by getting leading Democratic party strategists to talk on the record, advanced the story.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Churchill Series - Aug. 8, 2008

(One of a weekday series of posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Like the three preceding posts, this one concerns the abdication crisis of 1936 caused by King Edward VIII's determination to marry the twice divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.

Below you'll find a section of the Wikipedia entry for the crisis. In general outline it appears accurate. It also gives you an idea of how complex and unpopular was Churchill's role in the crisis.

The Wikipedia section begins with a description of the three options that would have resolved the crisis. Option 1 was favored by the King but was never a likely outcome given the Government's and the Parliament's the fierce opposition to a royal marriage.

The options were that:

1. Edward and Mrs. Simpson marry and she become queen (a "royal marriage")

2. they marry and she not become queen but receive some courtesy title instead (a "morganatic marriage")

3. abdication for Edward and any potential heirs he might father, thus allowing him to make any marital decisions without further constitutional implications.

The second option had European precedents, including Edward's own great-grandfather, Duke Alexander of Württemberg, but no parallel in British constitutional history. The Commonwealth's prime ministers were consulted, and the majority agreed that there was "no alternative to course (3)".[44] Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, Australian Prime Minister Joseph Lyons and South African Premier J. B. M. Hertzog opposed options 1 and 2. New Zealand Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage rejected option 1 but thought that option 2 "might be possible ... if some solution along these lines were found to be practicable" but "would be guided by the decision of the Home government".[45]

Irish Prime Minister Éamon de Valera claimed to be disinterested while also remarking that, as a Catholic country, Ireland did not recognize divorce. He supposed that if the British people would not accept Mrs. Simpson then abdication was the only possible solution.[46]

On 24 November, Baldwin consulted the three leading opposition politicians in Britain: Leader of the Opposition Clement Attlee, Liberal leader Archibald Sinclair, and Winston Churchill. Sinclair and Attlee agreed that options 1 and 2 were unacceptable and Churchill pledged to support the Government.[47]

In fact, Churchill did not support the Government. In July, Churchill had advised the King's legal counsel, Walter Turner Monckton, against the divorce but his advice was ignored.[48] As soon as the affair became public knowledge, Churchill started to pressure Baldwin and the King to delay any decisions until Parliament and the people had been consulted.[49]

In a private letter to Geoffrey Dawson, the editor of The Times newspaper, Churchill suggested that a delay would be beneficial because given time the King might fall out of love with Mrs. Simpson.[50]

Political support for the King was scattered, comprising politicians outside of the mainstream parties such as Churchill, Oswald Mosley and the Communists.[51] David Lloyd George also supported the King, though he disliked Mrs. Simpson. He was, however, unable to take any active role in the crisis because he was vacationing in Jamaica with his mistress.[52]

In early December, rumours circulated that the King's supporters would join together in a "King's Party" led by Churchill, but they were untrue. There was no concerted effort to form an organised movement, and Churchill had no intention of leading one.[53] Nevertheless, the rumours damaged the King and Churchill severely, as Members of Parliament were horrified at the idea of the King interfering in politics.[54]

The letters and diaries of working-class people and ex-servicemen generally demonstrate support for the King, while those from the middle and upper classes tend to express indignation and distaste.[55] The Times, The Morning Post, The Daily Herald and newspapers owned by Lord Kemsley, such as The Daily Telegraph, opposed the marriage. On the other hand, the Express and Mail newspapers, owned by Lord Beaverbrook and Lord Rothermere respectively, appeared to support a morganatic marriage.[56] The King estimated that the newspapers in favour had a circulation of 12.5 million, while those against had 8.5 million.[57]

Backed by Churchill and Beaverbrook, Edward now proposed to broadcast a speech indicating his desire to remain on the throne or to be recalled to it if forced to abdicate, while marrying Mrs. Simpson morganatically. In one section, Edward proposed to say:

Neither Mrs. Simpson nor I have ever sought to insist that she should be queen. All we desired was that our married happiness should carry with it a proper title and dignity for her, befitting my wife. Now that I have at last been able to take you into my confidence, I feel it is best to go away for a while, so that you may reflect calmly and quietly, but without undue delay, on what I have said.[58]

Baldwin and the Cabinet blocked the speech, saying it would shock many people as well as entail a grave breach of constitutional principles.[59] By convention, the Sovereign could and can only act with the advice and counsel of Ministers drawn from, or approved by, Parliament. In seeking the people's support against the Government, Edward was opting to oppose the binding advice of his ministers in all the Commonwealth states, and instead act as a private individual. The Cabinet felt that in proposing the speech Edward had revealed his disdainful attitude towards the constitutions of his realms, and threatened the political neutrality of the Crown.[60]

On 5 December, having in effect been told that he could not keep the throne and marry Mrs. Simpson, and having had his request to broadcast to the Empire to explain "his side of the story" blocked on constitutional grounds,[61] Edward chose the third option,[62] becoming the first monarch in modern British and Dominion history to abdicate voluntarily.

Obama-supporting Prof needs scandal lessons

Excerpts from a Fox News story, "Edwards’ Party Role Clouded by Allegations," followed by my comments below the star line.

According to Fox - - -

…Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill, an author and Obama supporter, said convention planners can hardly deny Edwards a speaking role, but unless he unequivocally discredits the charges, his role will be diminished.

“It would be sort of party suicide to take someone with that kind of scandal and place them up,” Hill said.

“At a moment where the Democratic advantage partially hinges on not only the public dissatisfaction with the Bush administration but also the wide range of scandals … over the last three years of the GOP … it would be unwise for the DNC to prominently position someone who has ethical issues swirling around,” he added.

The entire Fox story’s here.



When Prof. Hill speaks of “public dissatisfaction” and “ the wide range of scandals … over the last three years of the GOP,” does he ever think of former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer, forced to resign earlier this year when his involvement in a prostitution ring became public knowledge?

And new information has just surfaced about the scandalous manner in which Spitzer, once considered a possible Democratic presidential nominee, conducted himself in office? (Spitzer, btw, was endorsed by the NY Times. - - JinC)

Did Prof. Hill read a few months ago a NY Post story which began:

A former driver and aide to former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey yesterday made the bombshell claim that Dina Matos McGreevey must have always known her husband was gay - because he was the other man in bed with them.

In an explosive interview with The Post, the McGreeveys' self-professed man in the middle, Teddy Pedersen, gave explicit details of three-way sex romps that he claimed to have had with the now-divorcing duo, starting during their courtship and continuing into the marriage. …
I know Democrat McGreevey had to resign when the public learned he’d given a government job to his gay lover. The job was supposed to go to someone expert in counter- terrorism work.

I honestly don’t know if Teddy Pedersen was McGreevey’s appointee lover or whether he’s another “actor” in the scandal. (McGreevey, btw, was endorsed by the NY Times. - - JinC)

I know some of you are saying, “Please mention Democratic Congressman William (“Cash in the freezer") Jefferson who’s up for re-election this year.”

OK, I just did.

And what's the latest on Detroit’s Democratic Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick?

His Honor will be spending tonight in jail because he violated the terms of his bail bond.

Then there's this from the July 11 NY Times:
While aggressive evictions are reducing the number of rent-stabilized apartments in New York, Representative Charles B. Rangel is enjoying four of them, including three adjacent units on the 16th floor overlooking Upper Manhattan in a building owned by one of New York’s premier real estate developers.

Mr. Rangel, the powerful Democrat who is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, uses his fourth apartment, six floors below, as a campaign office, despite state and city regulations that require rent-stabilized apartments to be used as a primary residence. …
I can think of many more Dems involved in the past three years in sleaze and corruption – Sens. Dodd and Conrad, former top Obama aide Jim Johnson and his close friend Tony (“Not the Tony Rezko I know”) Rezko, recently found guilty on 16 criminal counts.

Conclusion: Prof. Hill needs a lesson in the corruption, sleaze and criminality of many of Sen. Obama’s fellow Democrats.

McCain aims at Independents

using Dems to help him.

What do you think?

Hat tip: AC

Obama on the hustings & the "David Brooks question"

The following is from Mike Williams letter today. Check especially the "Snake oil salesman?" link to the American Thinker and share your thoughts on what you find there.

Thanks, Mike.


So here’s Obama, on the hustings, answering a question from a seven year-old on why he wants to be president:

“America is …, uh, is no longer, uh … what it could be, what it once was. And I say to myself, I don’t want that future for my children.”

Ed Morrissey:

Once again, Obama got off the teleprompter and put his foot directly in his mouth. He’s not selling Hope, he’s selling Despair, and himself as the snake oil that will cure us of all our ills.

Snake oil salesman?

Many people, including no doubt a goodly number of nervous Democrat super delegates, are asking themselves the David Brooks' question about Obama's standing in the polls: "Where's the landslide ?" After evaluating him for several months, voters in the middle still aren't ready to embrace him.

National polls show not only a tightening of the Obama-McCain race to a statistical dead heat but momentum toward a McCain lead, something inconceivable only weeks ago. The specter of an Obama collapse has to haunt more than a few super delegates.

Buyer's remorse seemed evident and growing among many Democrats toward the end of their primary season when Obama lost again and again to Clinton, even as the delegate math was by then stacked in his favor. That remorse was put on hold (but apparently not resolved) by Obama's seeming to secure the nomination and the subsequent popular boost he enjoyed at first. But lately the candidate with a difference has had a hard time living up to his promise to be a new kind of politician….

MSM now lifting its lid on Edwards-Hunter story

Heads-up to all those who’ve been saying only right-wing bloggers, Fox and talk radio would touch “that tabloid sleaze about Sen. Edwards fathering a ‘love child.’”

The Times, they are a changing.

Not the NY or LA Times. They’re continuing their news blackouts of the story as are most other self-described “responsible” MSM news outlets.

But the front page of today’s Raleigh News & Observer carries the headlines:

Edwards urged to address baby story
Could face snub at party convention
The story’s under the byline of The Charlotte Observer’s Mark Johnson. Here are excerpts followed by my comments below the star line.

Johnson begins - - -

Former Sen. John Edwards might have to move quickly to save his spot on the national stage.

With two weeks before their national convention, several prominent Democrats are saying Edwards must publicly address anonymously sourced National Enquirer stories that claim he had an affair with a campaign worker and fathered her baby.

Democrats gather in Denver on Aug. 25 and Edwards, as the 2004 vice presidential nominee and a presidential candidate who won delegates this year, ordinarily would be a speaker.

Instead some Democrats say convention organizers will try to avoid the lingering questions if Edwards himself doesn't talk.

"He absolutely does have to [resolve it]. If it's not true, he has to issue a stronger denial," said Gary Pearce, the Democratic strategist who ran Edwards' 1998 Senate race. "It's a very damaging thing. ... The big media has tried to be responsible and handle this with kid gloves, but it's clearly getting ready to bust out. If it's not true, he's got to stand up and say, 'This is not true. That is not my child and I'm going to take legal action against the people who are spreading these lies.' It's not enough to say, 'That's tabloid trash.' " …

Two weeks ago, after the Enquirer ran the story about the July 21 hotel liaison involving Edwards [and the child’s mother, Rielle Hunter, while a friend of Hunter’s watched their baby in another room in the same hotel, Edwards] dismissed a reporter's question in Houston and used the "tabloid trash" line. Edwards brushed off a Charlotte Observer reporter in Washington last week: "Can't do it now, I'm sorry."

His designated staffer for press contacts has not responded to e-mail requests for an interview.

No one answered a reporter who rang a buzzer at the gate of Edwards' Orange County home on Wednesday. Friends and former staffers refuse to comment now, though they helped Edwards last fall by dismissing the Enquirer story of a sexual relationship between Edwards and a campaign videographer when it initially broke.

"Sorry cannot help you on this one," wrote Jennifer Palmieri, a former top Edwards aide, in an e-mail.

The Enquirer published a story in October, citing unnamed sources, claiming that Edwards was having an affair with a woman who had filmed a series of videos during his presidential campaign. The tabloid later reported she was pregnant. Two weeks ago, the tabloid posted a story online chronicling how Edwards had visited the woman, Rielle Hunter, and their child July 21 at a Beverly Hills hotel and that the paper's reporters confronted him afterward.

Hunter posted an online statement at the time denying the October story. In December, a campaign worker for Edwards, Andrew Young, claimed paternity of the woman's then-unborn child.

Last week, though, the Charlotte Observer obtained a copy of the child's birth certificate, which did not list the father. Hunter's lawyer said only that "a lot of women do that" and that it was a personal matter between Hunter and Young.

"If there is not an explanation that's satisfactory, acceptable and meets high moral standards, the answer is 'no,' he would not be a prime candidate to make a major address to the convention," said Don Fowler of Columbia, S.C., a former Democratic National Committee chair.

Edwards' political currency, which is his value as a public speaker and advocate, declines each day the story goes unresolved, Fowler and other Democratic strategists said.

The entire Johnson/Observer story's here.



Johnson and the Charlotte Observer did a lot of digging and produced an important story.

Most of it will be news to N&O readers. The paper didn’t report anything on the affair until last week and then not much in two stories it buried in the “B” section.

This past Sunday the N&O’s public editor offered readers a series of excuses for the N&O’s lack of coverage. For example, that the July 22 National Enquirer story about the Edwards-Hunter tryst at the Beverly Hilton Hotel named no witnesses.

In fact, the NE’s story named three witnesses: Edwards, Hunter and Bob McGovern, who the NE said was a friend of Hunter's who drove her from Santa Barbara to LA’s Beverly Hilton and watched the baby while Edwards and Hunter had their tryst in another room.

But I want to leave the N&O's shameful failure to report this story last year and until last week for other posts.

Back to Johnson and the Charlotte Observer’s story:

Wasn't it great to read in the story the kind of reporting you get when reporters pursue a story and dig?

It's important to learn no one “answered a reporter who rang a buzzer at the gate of Edwards' Orange County home” and that “[f]riends and former staffers refuse to comment now, though they helped Edwards last fall by dismissing the Enquirer story of a sexual relationship between Edwards and a campaign videographer when it initially broke."

That’s providing readers with critical information that helps them connect the dots.

Knowing that friends and former staffers who helped Edwards deny the story last fall are now refusing to comment enables readers to ask: What’s changed between last fall and now?

Well, for one thing a baby’s been born. And there’s DNA testing that can easily establish whether Edwards is the father.

A big hat tip to Johnson and the Charlotte Observer for their work.

As for the N&O’s running the story, I think they had no choice.

The Observer is North Carolina’s largest circulation daily. With the Observer giving the story such attention, how could the N&O ignore it?

Also, newspapers across the country are running the Johnson/ Observer story. For example, the Dallas Morning News.

Stay tuned.

The Churchill Series - Aug. 6, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

The last two series posts concerned the abdication crisis in 1936 brought on by King Edward VIII’s determination to marry the twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.

I've said Churchill "took up the King's cause," but I've avoided saying anything more detailed about Churchill’s role in the crisis because IMO his actions and motives were complex. I don't have sufficient understanding of them to post in any detail concerning them.

What I'll do today and tomorrow is offer a few items I think bear on Churchill's actions and leave it at that.

I'll use a comment a reader made as stimulus to my items with the reader's comment in italics and mine in plain.

Winston Churchill was fanatically loyal to his friends, and to a set of ideas he held about British royalty. His wonderful mind was almost medieval in his fealty to these ideals.

He'd known the King since birth. They were close friends who'd played polo and hunted together. Before Edward became King, Churchill, like the King's family and others of his close friends, called him David when they were together.

As a young officer during WW I David, then Prince of Wales, repeatedly and insistently volunteered to serve in the trenches. The Government denied his requests for fear of the consequences should he be captured.

Despite being denied the chance to serve as a combat officer, David served as a staff officer near the front and frequently visited it at great risk to himself.

Courage was the virtue Churchill most admired in men. And, as the commenter said, "Winston Churchill was fanatically loyal to his friends."

What we've just read provides some of the explanation for why Churchill came very close to wrecking his public career by "taking up the King's cause."

More tomorrow about Churchill and the abdication crisis.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Raleigh N&O’s “early coverage” myth

I want to respond here to parts of two comments on the thread of NY Times did not "lead" on the Duke lacrosse case.

Commenters are in italics; I’m in plain.

The role of the News & Observer in setting the table for Nifong's criminal frame of the lacrosse players has long been underplayed.


It’s also never been satisfactorily explained or fully examined.

The N&O itself fobs readers off with the “at first the players, their families and attorneys didn’t talk to us but once they did our coverage was just fine” myth. Sometimes the N&O adds: “And we were under deadline, too.”

You’ll find an example of the N&O’s myth-telling in the August/September 2007 edition of American Journalism Review. From "Justice Delayed," AJR’s assessment of media coverage of the case:

…[Melanie Sill, the N&O’s executive editor for news at the time the story broke and for more than a year and a half thereafter] cites challenges regarding initially taciturn players and their representatives. "The first three or four days of coverage that was a real hole in the reporting," she says. "In hindsight, we should have been much more emphatic much higher in the stories that we didn't have that other side."…
How can anyone blame the “taciturn players and their representatives” (read parents - - JinC) for the N&O’s decision to tell readers on March 25, 2006 the “scared” “young mother” was new to dancing?

The N&O knew who she was and that it had reported in June 2002 concerning her theft of the car of a man she lapped danced for at a “gentlemen’s club.”

The N&O withheld from its March 25 story the critically important news that the accuser, Crystal Mangum said the second dancer had also been assaulted at the March 13/14 party, but hadn’t reported it for fear of losing her job. Also, that the second dancer would do “anything for money.”

How can the N&O blame the players and their parents for that decision?

And how can the N&O blame them for its decision to withhold that information for 13 months; and only publish it the day following the NC attorney general’s declaration the three players whose indictments and ordeal the N&O had reported in great detail were innocent?

Just early coverage problems?

[The N&O’s] behavior early on cannot be swept under the rug.

I’m confident that during the discovery portion of the civil rights violations suits filed by the players and family members, we’ll learn a great deal about the N&O’s “behavior early on,” as well as it’s subsequent behavior such as I cited above.

When Mike Nifong is deposed, attorneys for the plaintiffs will surely ask him whether, as Ruth Sheehan claims, he was in contact with the N&O by at least March 26 and served as the anonymous source for her March 27 “Team’s silence is sickening” column.

The attorneys will press on that point because it can be an important part of demonstrating how the “Duke rape scandal” framing was presented to the public before Nifong ever spoke publicly.

If you believe AG Roy Cooper's finding that there never was any credible evidence of crimes, how did the N&O manage to publish between Mar. 24 and 27 the same elaborate false crime story Nifong began peddling on Mar. 27?

Coincidence or cooperation?

How did it happen that everyone at the N&O working on the story “forgot” to report on March 25 and for days thereafter the news the N&O had of the captains’ extraordinary cooperation with police?

And wasn’t it “lucky” for Nifong and everyone else involved in trashing the lacrosse team and attempting to frame three of its members that the N&O instead promulgated the “wall of solidarity” lie?

Without that lie, how could Sheehan have written her “Team’s silence is sickening” column?

Without that lie and Sheehan’s column, fair-minded people would’ve asked why Nifong was saying the players weren’t cooperating; and what were those Wanted and Vigilante posters all about?

Here are two important questions I hope Nifong's asked: “When did you first learn Crystal Mangum had said to an N&O reporter that the second dancer, Kim Roberts, had also been sexually assaulted at the party but hadn’t reported it for fear of losing her job? And what did you do when you learned it?”

Nifong could have heard it from the N&O back in March 2006, couldn't he?

[Duke Professor] Timothy Tyson must also be held accountable as he goes about in the next year promoting a film that is based largely on exaggerations.

An organized effort is necessary to let everyone know who this man really is.

I hope there is such an effort.

Tsyon’s conduct during Spring 2006 (spreading the lie about the players not cooperating with police and deliberately inflaming racial tensions) was every bit as reprehensible as the worst members of Duke faculty’s Group of 88.

Tyson’s recent charge, published on an N&O blog, that prosecutors in the Hart case went to trial knowing they had no evidence is prima facie false. That’s been called to his attention at the N&O blog, at Durham-in-Wonderland and here. He’s done nothing to correct the record.


I was certain Frances Quinn Hunter wasn’t my baby, I'd contact Barry Scheck, Professor of Law and Director, Innocence Project, at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law.

Scheck is arguably America’s leading attorney in the area of forensic applications of DNA technology

I’d ask Scheck to help me make available in the most transparent and reliable way possible a sample of my DNA for use by a DNA testing firm he’d recommend.

I’d ask him for recommendations as to the best way to approach the baby’s mother, Rielle Hunter, to secure her cooperation in obtaining a sample of the baby’s DNA in the most transparent and reliable way possible so Scheck could arrange to have it tested by the same lab he’d recommended test my DNA.

The lab would, of course, match the DNA samples to determine whether I could be the father.

I’d ask Scheck whether once he had the lab’s report eliminating me as the father, he’d hold a news conference to make the announcement and answer reporters’ questions about how the DNA testing had been conducted. I’d be happy for the lab director to be at the news conference to answer questions.

I’d assure Scheck I’d pay all reasonable fees he and the lab charged.

I’d ask that they perform the services as quickly as possible.

What would you do if you had John Edwards’ financial resources, a public reputation to consider, and, what should matter most to you, a wife you’ve repeatedly told the public you love?

Huge Seoul Welcome for Bush

Gateway Pundit has the pictures, videos and a blogger’s post which provides a classic example of Reuters (“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom-fighter”) News' headline bias. Story bias, too.

Be sure to visit GP here.

Also, did any of you see and hear mention on the networks' news programs of the welcome America’s President received in Seoul?

Did any of the networks mention the collapse of the “massive protest demonstrations” South Korea’s Left had planned for Bush’s arrival?

Only a few hundred hard-cores and media showed up

Name Al Gore’s hugetastic boat

Michelle Malkin has the pictures and story about Al Gore’s boat.

So what kind of boat do you think Mr. Green has?

And do you have a name for it?

Take a look at Gore’s boat here.

Hat tip: AC

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Churchill Series - Aug. 5, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

In yesterday’s series post, I said it was tough for me to write about Churchill’s role in the abdication crisis in 1936 brought about by King Edward VIII’s determination to marry the twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.

I simply don’t know enough to post now on the matter. I’ll continue reading various accounts and hope to post soon on it.

Today, I want to share with you a reader’s comment about Churchill that is on the money and helps explain why, just about alone among the Members of the Commons, Churchill, as it was said at the time, “took up the King’s cause.”

Winston Churchill was fanatically loyal to his friends, and to a set of ideas he held about British royalty. His wonderful mind was almost medieval in his fealty to these ideals.

Perhaps the best analogy is to religious faith. Those who have it are unshakable. So was Winston.
There’s a great deal of Churchill captured in that five-sentence comment. You could write a fine, lengthy Churchill book themed on just them.

I say some more about the comment tomorrow.

An Obama-Reagan ticket?

The NY Times, NPR, the networks and other Obama news organizations told us President Reagan was just a "simple-minded Grade 'B' movie actor."

But this video makes me think Sen. Obama is going to pass on John Edwards as his Vice-presidential running mate in favor of Ronald Reagan.

What will Rev. Wright and Minister Farahkan say?

View the video and decide.

Hat tip: AC

Greensboro N&R to Edwards: "Something, anything?"

Excerpts from a Greensboro News & Record editorial today with my comments below the star line.

The N&O begins - - -

Tabloid allegations have trickled into mainstream media outlets concerning an alleged affair involving former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and a former campaign videographer. . . .

Here is what we know: The National Enquirer has reported that Edwards, a Democrat, had the affair and fathered a child as a result. "SEN. JOHN EDWARDS CAUGHT WITH MISTRESS AND LOVE CHILD!" a headline screamed in blazing red letters two weeks ago.

Considering the source, who knows what's true? Is part of it? None of it?

Meanwhile, some bloggers have instantly assumed the reports to be correct and have wondered out loud why others haven't followed suit in excoriating Edwards as a shameless philanderer.

But fairness and common decency call for separating fact from fiction before passing any judgment, if there's any judgment to be passed.

Even though the Enquirer isn't as reckless and far-fetched as it once was, The Washington Post or New York Times it definitely isn't. Getting sued for getting things wrong still is de rigueur there - a cost of doing business.

Edwards has described the report as tabloid trash and "completely untrue," as has the woman, Rielle Hunter, 44. A former campaign fundraiser for Edwards, Andrew Young, the married father of three, stepped forward in December 2007 and said he was the father of the child, whose birth certificate still lists no father.

The Enquirer reported on July 21(It was July 22. - - JinC) that Edwards had been spotted entering Hunter's room in a Beverly Hills, Calif., hotel. When reporters confronted him, the Enquirer contends, Edwards sought refuge in a basement rest room and had to be escorted out by hotel security.

Edwards has since been cool to reporters, whose questions he avoided twice last week after a speech in Washington.

This has been a difficult story to pin down because the Enquirer is hardly a paragon of journalistic integrity. The allegations are especially sensitive because Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, is battling an incurable form of cancer.

That said, Edwards isn't helping his cause by not standing up to the charges and by playing hide-and-seek with reporters. . . .

As a man who has waged two campaigns for president and might well have been vice president, Edwards should clear the air and set the record straight.

The entire N&R editorial’s here.


As far as I know, the N&R is the first North Carolina daily to editorially call on Edwards to speak about the contents of the most recent National Enquirer reports which include events the NE said occurred at the Beverly Hilton Hotel the night of July 21/22 and, in the follow-up report, events concerning the child and money allegedly regularly paid to Hunter.

If you know of another NC newspaper that has already done so, please let me know and I’ll update.

I commend the N&R for telling Edwards he “should clear the air and set the record straight.”

The N&R is right when it says “some bloggers have instantly assumed the reports to be correct and have wondered out loud why others haven't followed suit in excoriating Edwards as a shameless philanderer.”

But I wish the N&R had also let its readers know there are many bloggers like myself who from the beginning have pointed out how easily major portions of the NE reports can be confirmed or refuted. ( NE's Edwards-Hunter tryst story's verifiable )

Has any MSM publication or station reported interviewing or attempting to interview Bill McGovern?

The NE's July 22 story reported McGovern's a friend of Hunter’s who drove her from Santa Barbara to the Beverly Hilton where he watched over the baby in one room while Edwards and Hunter had their tryst in another room?

Given the many hundreds of reporters at papers and stations in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, why aren't we reading of at least attempts to interview McGovern?

As for “excoriating Edwards as a shameless philanderer,” so far I’ve not done that, but there may come a day when I will.

Right now I'm doing something I think is much more important.

Since I began covering the story I've been reminding JinC readers that, absent a full exposure by MSM and a full, fact-based explanation by Edwards of what the NE is reporting, Edwards is in a position where he could easily be subjected to blackmail.

I’ve been very critical of MSM for leaving Edwards in such a position and leaving Americans in the dark about it.

I've also said repeatedly I think MSM would have covered the story very differently from the beginning had Edwards been a right-leaning Republican instead of a left-leaning Democrat and favorite of the NY Times and Sen. Obama.

What do you think?

Phone conversation with N&O exec editor

I said I’d post concerning a brief phone conversation I’d had Thursday, 7/31, with Raleigh News & Observer executive editor for news John Drescher.

My call to Drescher was prompted by many emails and calls I’d been getting for days concerning what people said they were being told when they contacted the N&O to ask why it hadn’t reported anything on the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter affair. The N&O did, on 7/31, for the first time report on the affair but with few details (eg. The N&O didn’t even name Hunter) in the “B” section.

I was being contacted by everyone from JinC Regulars to people who’d read Bob Wilson’s column here or at the Poynter Institute’s Jim Romenesko’s page, a "visit daily" site for thousands, most of whom are journalists, journalism students, news executives and media critics.

What I was hearing “ran the gamut” and was often contradictory.

My call was to suggest the N&O post at statement explaining its treatment of the Edwards-Hunter affair at the Editors’ Blog and refer callers and emailers there. The statement could be updated as needed.

Drescher returned my call about 8 PM. The conversation was our second voice contact. We’d had a Q&A exchange at a public forum last year at Duke Law School.

I did not take notes.

I recall the conversation as mutually civil, issue-focused and intense.

Drescher said the matter of a statement at the Editors’ Blog was now moot since the paper had published that day on the story and would be reporting on it the following day. He didn’t say and I didn’t ask what the paper would be reporting.

I said a statement was still needed because the N&O had gone so long without ever reporting on the affair.

Drescher countered that the story was “tabloid” and unsubstantiated. He said he thought the N&O’s treatment of it had been “just right.”

We went back-and-forth on that, each of us invoking points and issues that are familiar parts of “the publish/not publish” debate surrounding the Edwards-Hunter affair debate.

During a series of exchanges, each of us heard the other’s point and then quickly countered.

We came to a place in the conversation where we mutually agreed we’d heard each other; said our pieces; and should begin wrapping up.

In closing, I commended Drescher for his willingness to return readers' calls and urged him to respond as well to readers’ questions and comments at the Editors’ Blog.

Drescher noted out how time consuming that can be. He also said he conceives of the EB as a place where he and other senior editors post ideas, explain the N&O’s treatment of a particular story, etc., which the readers can them comment upon and discuss among themselves.

I said I wanted to make the case why at least some answering by editors of readers’ questions at the EB was very important but would do that at another time.

We ended the conversation with my thanking him for returning the call and his time, his telling me he saw that as part of his job, and each of us wishing the other well.

Folks, I’m sending Drescher an email with a link to this post. I’ll invite him to add anything he wishes. If he does, I’ll place what he sends here as an update and add “Update” to this post’s title.


Monday, August 04, 2008

The Churchill Series – Aug. 4, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill)

I said I’d post this week concerning Churchill and his role in King Edward VIII’s abdication crisis. Now I hesitate to do that. Here’s why:

As I read on the subject this weekend I saw some aspects of the crisis could be easily explained. For example, there was no legal impediment to the King’s marrying Wallis Simpson. Edward was free to marry the twice divorced American socialite and still remain King by right of birth and accepted ancient precedents of royal succession.

But Edward would not have been able to reign as a constitutional monarch who held the throne not only in the name of God, but of the people of Great Britain and the Dominions.

It was Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin’s strong, unqualified threat to resign rather than accede to a marriage he knew would be hugely unpopular in Britain and the Dominions (I’ve read that was the opinion of the head of every dominion state) that created what we call today, somewhat erroneously I think, “the abdication crisis.”

The King could have kept his relationship with Wallis Simpson, a relationship most in “court circles” had known about for years. Baldwin would have raised no objection. But the King insisted on marriage to “the woman I love.”

At that his First Minister would resign and so would his other Ministers.

Baldwin would then call a general election, the results of which would certainly have gone against the King.

So, assuming Edward had persisted with his marriage plans, he would’ve had to look to a hostile Parliament for his Government's Ministers.

Since almost all Polarimetry figures supported Baldwin’s position – and not because of short-term political considerations, but from deep beliefs concerning what was a suitable marriage for the Head of the Church of England and the vital importance in a constitutional monarchy of public respect and affection for the Crown – the best Edward could have hope for was a rump government.

That was the brink he was bringing his Crown and Country to; and from which he finally stepped back and abdicated.

I’ll say more tomorrow about the difficulty I have understanding and explaining Churchill’s position – really positions – during the crisis.

Reader advice is always welcome.

Another Barack Obama-Paris Hilton comparison

Just days after MSM Team Obama, including network anchors, erupted over a McCain campaign “attack ad” because it compared Sen. Barack ("The One") Obama to celebrity Paris Hilton, we learn of another Obama-Hilton comparison.

The following’s from Mark Leibovich’s Feb. 24, 2005 adulatory profile in the Washington Post with my comments below the star line.

Leibovich begins - - -

There's nothing exotic or complicated about how phenoms are made in Washington, and, more to the point, how they are broken.

"Andy Warhol said we all get our 15 minutes of fame," says Barack Obama. "I've already had an hour and a half. I mean, I'm so overexposed, I'm making Paris Hilton look like a recluse." . . .

The entire Washington Post story’s here.



If you listened to Team Obama’s whines and grievances about the McCain ad comparing Sen. Obama to Paris Hilton, are you surprised to learn Obama did it first?

I learned about Obama’s comparison of himself to Hilton when I read Seton Motley's post at Newsbusters.

He got a lot more in his post. I hope you give it a look.

Apology to ABC News & Martha Raddatz

Readers Note: The posts -- Raddatz, ABC News targets of bogus claim and Update re: Bogus claim targeting Raddatz, ABC News – contain background for the apology you’ll read below.


To: David Westin, President
Martha Raddatz, Chief White House Correspondent
ABC News

I want to apologize to you both and to the rest of your news team for my error in linking to the bogus McCain-54 story.

Once Martha Raddatz contacted me and I fact-checked, I recognized my error and its cause.

I’d been lazy and failed to do the fact-checking I should have done before posting.

I placed an error message in the title of my post and placed a readers' alert and explanation at the head of the post.

I’ll be more diligent in the future.

Thank you both for your understanding.


John in Carolina

NY Times did not “lead” on the Duke lacrosse case

One of the myths that now envelope the Duke lacrosse case has the New York Times leading the media mob that trashed and libeled the Duke students on the lacrosse team while embracing the lies of Crystal Mangum and Mike Nifong. In truth, the Raleigh News & Observer led the media mob.

With that in mind, I read KC Johnson’s post concerning his participation in a Duke lacrosse case roundtable at the recent Southeastern Association of Law Schools annual conference. KC included in his post “some points presented by the other panelists.”

KC ended his summary of University of Florida Law professor Lyrissa Lidsky’s remarks thus: “Lidsky singled out the Times for criticism, noting that the mainstream media is too often like ‘sheep,’ following the Times’ lead.”

That prompted me to comment on the post thread:

Dear KC,

I gather from some of the other comments you’re now back home.

Welcome back. I hope you’ll post concerning some of your experiences in Israel.

Summarizing a part of Prof.Lidsky’s remarks, you say: “Lidsky singled out the Times for criticism, noting that the mainstream media is too often like ‘sheep,’ following the Times’ lead.”

I agree that often much of MSM does follow the NY Times like “sheep.”

But I hope Lidsky didn’t say that happened with the Duke lacrosse case. It didn’t.

The Times' first Duke lacrosse case story was published Mar. 29, 2006.

By that date, Duke had canceled the lacrosse season and the anonymous Vigilante posters and the Durham CrimeStoppers Wanted posters were circulating on campus and in Durham. The players had very good cause to fear for their safety.

But the Times did nothing to contribute to that horrific situation; and no news organization up to that time was following it like “sheep.”

Did Lidsky mention the Raleigh News & Observer’s role in the case?

I hope so.

It was the N&O’s biased, racially-inflammatory and often false coverage that led the media pack.

By Mar. 27 when Nifong first spoke publicly about the case, the N&O had already trashed and libeled the lacrosse team, and laid out the framing script Nifong foisted on the public that day and for almost a year thereafter.

By Mar. 27 most people following the case thought the Duke students on the lacrosse team were a bunch of drunken, privileged, racists; three of whom had beaten, robbed, chocked and raped a frightened “young black mother” while their teammates stood by doing nothing to stop the crimes, and then subsequently stonewalled Durham’s police and covered up for their rapist teammates.

That was all 2 days or more before the Times published its first Duke lacrosse story which was far more temperate and fair than any news story, column or editorial the N&O had published up to that date.

Are you sure that in regard to the Duke lacrosse case, Prof. Lidsky “singled out the Times for criticism, [and noted] that the mainstream media is too often like ‘sheep,’ following the Times’ lead[?]”

I hope she didn't.

John in Carolina

KC responded: “I'm quite sure. But readers needn't take my word for it: the transcript of the proceedings will be published in the Seton Hall Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law.”

I placed another comment on his post’s thread thanking him for his response. I said I’d follow-up with Lidsky.

Since often many months pass between a conference presentation and journal publication, I plan to ask Lidsky if I can obtain a print copy of her presentation.

I’ll keep you posted.

I’ll end with something I’ve said here before: When Mike Nifong began speaking publicly about the case on March 27, 2006 he followed “the Duke lacrosse rape scandal” script laid out by the Raleigh N&O in its coverage between March 24 and 27.

That coverage included repeatedly calling the accuser the “victim;” headlines that told readers about the woman's “ordeal” which ended finally in “sexual violence;” the promulgation of the “wall of solidarity” charge which the N&O knew was a lie; and Ruth Sheehan’s McCarthyite screed: “Teams silence is sickening.”

When was the last time a prosecutor or media mob has such a loud, false and vicious lead as the one the N&O had provided by March 27?

Brit critic: Edwards affair "'scoop' U. S. papers ignored"

Today media critic Guy Adams in Britain’s The Independent begins - - -

That old cliché about everything being bigger in America seems especially pertinent when attempting to describe the sheer scale of the crisis currently afflicting the US newspaper industry, which makes all Fleet Street's woes look like a summer picnic.

Last week, The Los Angeles Times decided to flog its historic downtown offices, on top of sacking 150 of its 870 journalists. So did The Chicago Tribune.

Almost every title in the land is now shedding staff; a hundred New York Times hacks have been offered voluntary redundancy; Newsweek recently announced cuts. It's a bloodbath out there, as US media companies attempt to claw a pound of flesh from haemorrhaging readerships.

Consider, against this backdrop of falling circulation and a failing industry, the decision of every mainstream paper in America to ignore the juiciest political story of the month (and possibly the year): the discovery by National Enquirer hacks of John Edwards, in the corridors of a Beverly Hills hotel, where his alleged mistress and alleged love child were also staying, at half past two on the morning of Tuesday, 22 July.

Since Edwards was, until recently, hoping to be president and will almost certainly have a prominent role in any Barack Obama administration, his marital integrity is a matter of public interest. It could yet become an election issue.

Yet neither the highfalutin NYT, nor the Tribune, nor even the LA Times, on whose patch the whole sordid business occurred, have yet stepped up to the plate to report it. Their old-fashioned reticence seems quaint, in this day of kiss'n'tell and chequebook journalism.

But it's also depressing: one of the reasons America's newspapers are dying is their perceived pomposity. Readers say they are too timid to rock the boat; right-wingers complain (with some justification) that they conspire to suppress damaging stories about Democrats. The general public thinks they have simply become boring. . . .

The rest of Adams’ column’s here. It’s well worth your time.

Comments - - -

Adams is right: The mainstream press has been derelict for almost a year now in not pursuing and reporting the Edwards affair story.
And he’s right that by suppressing the story, newspapers are in a process of hurting themselves.

The self-inflicted hurt will hit home once the story breaks through the MSM’s “news filter.”

When that happens, as surely it will, it won’t be public perception that newspapers “are too timid to rock the boat” that will hurt an industry already in steep decline in both circulation and public trust.

No one who’s watched America’s newspapers run fast, loud and recklessly with the Duke lacrosse, Jena 6 and “Haditha Marine massacre” lies believes the press is timid.

But it sure is biased toward the left.

And it’s not just “right-wingers” who believe that. Polls show most American’s do.

The leftward tilt of most newspapers is one reason so many of us are deserting them and moving to the “new media” where we can easily fact-check and get differing opinions.

When Americans learn the full story of the blackout of the Edwards affair, most will see the blackout as another example of MSM favoring Democrats and another reason to embrace the new media.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Message to Danvers

Your comment came in but a frame provided by AOL/Blogger that contians the key I need to post it was missing.

Those glitches happen and other comments are coming through fine.

I hope you resend if you and I always appreciate your comments.

That was especially so when you provided some first-hand perspective on events in Zimbabwe.



Raleigh N&O standards & the historian

Ted Vaden, public editor of the McClatchy Company’s liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer, today seeks to explain why the N&O was so late in reporting anything on the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter affair story.

Vaden’s column includes this:

The Edwards story -- or, maybe, nonstory -- is a good illustration of the dilemma the "mainstream media" increasingly face operating in a no-holds-barred, 24-7, instant-news environment. Newspapers and other media that once were news gatekeepers -- applying traditional standards of fact-finding and verification -- are finding themselves guarding the gate to a news corral that has been stampeded by bloggers, cable "news," talk radio and, in this case, tabloids.
I’ll comment on the N&O in regard to the Edwards-Hunter affair late this evening.

In this post I just want to pick up on Vaden’s puffery about "’mainstream media’ . . .applying traditional standards of fact-finding and verification” as they bravely defend the public from the stampeding heathen hordes of “bloggers, cable ‘news,’ talk radio and, . . . tabloids.”

There’s a very good example of McClatchy’s and the N&O’s “traditional standards of fact-finding and verification” available to you on pg. 3A of today’s Anything for Obama N&O. Across all six column and at the top of the page is the headline:
Presidents don't always live up to resume, scholars say
The story under McClatchy Newspapers' David Lightman’s byline begins:
Many undecided voters have a common concern when they size up Barack Obama: his inexperience.

"I have nothing against Obama. I just think John McCain has more experience," said Steve Viernacki, an Ashley, Pa., restaurant owner.

Experts say that such worries are overblown.

"Experience matters, but its importance is terribly overstated," said historian Robert Dallek, the author of recent books about Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.

Presidents with sterling resumes often have turned out to be busts, usually because they lacked the key quality a good president needs: sound judgment.
The rest of the story’s here.

It reads like an Obama campaign infomercial. But I’m sure others will disagree. Some Obama supporters may even think the story isn’t respectful enough of the Senator.

But all of us who read the story through to the end will be able to agree that nowhere in the story do McClatchy and the N&O tell readers that “historian Robert Dallek” is an enthusiastic Obama supporter.

To find that confirmed and learn more about McClatchy's “traditional standards of fact-finding and verification” go to Kevin Gregory’s fine post at McClatchy Watch.

Ted Vaden's entire column's here.

Washington Post looks at it campaign coverage

Doing the looking is WaPo’s Ombudsman Deborah Howell and some WaPo staffers she references in her Aug. 3 column which begins:

Barack Obama [is] creaming [John] McCain in the number of pictures and stories published in The Post in the past two months.

First, photos.

Richard Benedetto, a retired USA Today White House reporter who teaches journalism and political science at American University, studied photos in the A section from June 4, the day after Obama clinched the nomination, to July 14.

He shared his research with me, and I expanded it to the whole paper and continued it through Friday with the aid of my assistant, Jean Hwang, photo desk assistant David Snyder and The Post's Merlin photo database.

What we found: 122 photos of Obama have been published in the paper during that time to 78 for McCain, counting tiny to big. Most of those photos ran inside the paper; most on the politics page.

The Page 1 photos are closer: Obama had nine to McCain's seven. Five of Obama's were above the fold; McCain had four. Obama also got more color photos, 72 to 49, and more large photos -- mostly those that spanned three or more columns, 30 to 10.

Folks, let’s stop here for a moment.

I bet all of you who are intelligent, fair-minded and familiar with how most MSM ombudsmen and public editors function, including the Raleigh N&O’s Ted Vaden, are saying to yourselves something like: “So far Howell and the people she’s using aren't anything like the usual spin and shuffle MSM budsmen and pub edits.”

Continuing with Howell:

McCain was behind before Obama went to the Middle East and Europe. But during his trip, Obama shellacked McCain on photos.

July 25 was the topper -- five photos from Obama's Berlin visit. To begin with, a photo of Obama before a humongous crowd dominated Page 1 -- a stunning photo worth the size. Next, on Page A6, another big Obama picture. Next, a large picture of him at the Victory Column on the op-ed page with a Eugene Robinson column.

But wait, there was yet another picture of him by the Victory Column on the Style section front and another picture inside Style of Obama talking to reporters. It was a bit much.

What we're reading is not at all like a Ted Vaden apologia pro N&O column. What about the columns your budsman or pub edit “readers advocate” writes?

Continuing with Howell:

The pictures of Obama -- in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Israel, in Berlin and in Paris -- did just what the campaign wanted: They portrayed Obama as a world leader.

The Post also covered McCain's trip to Latin America in early July, but McCain didn't draw the crowds Obama did, and the Middle East is much more of a newsworthy hot spot than Latin America. …

The rest of Howell’s column is here.

She ends it with:

[Ed Thiede, assistant managing editor for the news desk, said that the numbers are "eye-opening. We should be more cognizant."

[But he added] the difference "reflects that Obama is new to the scene and has had more events that had more visual impact. Obama's campaign is better at putting him in situations that mean better photos," and too many of McCain's photos were static and at a podium.

Readers look at photos when they don't read stories. But Obama leads in stories since June 4, too -- 139 to 94. They were both featured in 23 stories. Again, part of this is due to Obama being the new kid and less well known.

But these kinds of discrepancies feed distrust on the part of readers, especially conservative ones, who already complain that The Post is all for Obama. Next week, I will examine the stories.

The kinds of discrepancies Howell and her team identified do “feed distrust” among conservatives as well as other fair-minded people who look to the news pages for news fair and balanced.

I’m looking forward to next week’s column.

I thank Howell and her “fact-finding team” for their work to date.

Now, Readers, it’s your turn.

John Edwards, ACORN and voter fraud

Responding to “Edwards-Hunter 3-minute video", an outstanding satirical video exposing former Sen. John Edwards hyppcracy and mendacity, an alert commenter said:

In the video, when Edwards is at his press conference and makes his "No comment" concerning the National Enquirer story of his Beverly Hilton tryst], he's standing in front of a red banner. It bears the logo of ACORN, the housing-advocacy group that is one of the big winners in the bailout bill that Congress passed and President Bush signed this week.

While ACORN is the darling of much of the hard left, it has a troubled history with respect to misappropriation of funds and voter-registration fraud.

This just emphasizes that Edwards is by his own free will a very public public figure. He wants to have a hand in setting the national agenda on matters of great moral import. Examples include: the mortgage meltdown, foreclosures, the moral hazard of lenders and borrowers, federal funding of "nonpartisan" arms of left-wing political advocacy groups.

Yet while assigning responsibility is okey-dokey on matters like these... as regards to other things... not so much.

I understand that he feels this way. But why do reporters, editors, and publishers go along? The National Enquirer as the organization that's upholding journalistic standards!?
I think the commenter and most of you know why MSM has suppressed this story: Edwards is a Democrat and favorite of the Left.

As for ACORN, here’s some of what John Fund reported last July in the Wall Street Journal - - -

… But the most interesting news came out of Seattle, where on Thursday local prosecutors indicted seven workers for Acorn, a union-backed activist group that last year registered more than 540,000 low-income and minority voters nationwide and deployed more than 4,000 get-out-the-vote workers.

The Acorn defendants stand accused of submitting phony forms in what Secretary of State Sam Reed says is the "worst case of voter-registration fraud in the history" of the state.

The list of "voters" registered in Washington state included former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, New York Times columnists Frank Rich and Tom Friedman, actress Katie Holmes and nonexistent people with nonsensical names such as Stormi Bays and Fruto Boy. The addresses used for the fake names were local homeless shelters.

Given that the state doesn't require the showing of any identification before voting, it is entirely possible people could have illegally voted using those names.

Local officials refused to accept the registrations because they had been delivered after last year's Oct. 7 registration deadline. Initially, Acorn officials demanded the registrations be accepted and threatened to sue King County (Seattle) officials if they were tossed out.

But just after four Acorn registration workers were indicted in Kansas City, Mo., on similar charges of fraud, the group reversed its position and said the registrations should be rejected. But by then, local election workers had had a reason to carefully scrutinize the forms and uncovered the fraud. Of the 1,805 names submitted by Acorn, only nine have been confirmed as valid, and another 34 are still being investigated. The rest--over 97%--were fake.

In Kansas City, where two Acorn workers have pleaded guilty to committing registration fraud last year while two others await trial, only 40% of the 35,000 registrations submitted by the group turned out to be bogus.

But Melody Powell, chairman of the Kansas City Board of Elections, says Acorn's claim that it brought the fraud in her city to light is "seriously misleading." She says her staff first took the evidence to the FBI, and only then Acorn helped identify the perpetrators. …

The entire Fund/WSJ report is here.

John Fund is one of the best investigative reporters and commenters there is. He work exposing voter fraud has been outstanding.

I’ll be linking to him often during the coming months.