True Colors

The mainstream press has been gleefully trumpeting the indictment of Republican U.S. Senator Ted Stevens for allegedly lying about gifts he received from an Alaskan company, declaring it yet another nail in the GOP's coffin in an already difficult election year. In the meantime, another political scandal is flying under the radar because the MSM (the hip acronym for "mainstream media") has chosen not to cover it. Part of the problem is the source of the story but the fact remains that the information that's verifiable suggests the story might be credible and deserves greater scrutiny than it's currently receiving. Here's what we know. Former U.S. Senator John Edwards - former Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004, presidential candidate in 2008, champion of the poor and the man who coined the phrase "two Americas," and devoted husband to wife Elizabeth, who is suffering from incurable cancer - was caught in a compromising situation early on the morning of July 22nd. According to the National Enquirer (the dubious source I mentioned earlier), Senator Edwards was seen at 2:40 am coming out of the room of Rielle Hunter, an aspiring actress and filmmaker who produced short documentaries for his political action committee. The reporters gave chase for several minutes and Edwards reportedly ducked his pursuers and eventually ended up in a hotel restroom for about 15 minutes before security came to escort him from the premises.

Since the National Enquirer isn't the most reputable source for news, it would be easy to dismiss the story and go about one's business. Here's the problem, however. Apparently, both Edwards and Hunter were indeed at the hotel at the same time although he was not a registered guest. Upon seeing reporters there, Edwards did flee and hide in the restroom until security arrived.

The Enquirer reported last fall that Edwards had an affair with Ms. Hunter and fathered a child. Edwards denied the accusations and one of his longtime campaign operatives, Andrew Young, stepped forward to say the child was his, even though he's married with children of his own. Ms. Hunter reportedly moved from New York to the same gated community in North Carolina where Mr. Young and his family live, and Young reportedly even had the pregnant Ms. Hunter to his house for dinner with his family - a puzzling move if he were truly an adulterer and the father of the child. Oh yes, Young remains married. The most recent Enquirer report says the child was with Ms. Hunter when Edwards visited. Finally, the videos that Ms. Hunter produced for Edwards' PAC, the One America Committee, were pulled off the Web not long after Edwards expressed his desire to run for President, and all those involved in the videos' production or use seemed anxious to cover them up.

I don't read the National Enquirer so I wouldn't have learned of this story from them. I am a news junkie, especially when it comes to politics, and I stumbled across it during a typical Web search. The mainstream media? Well, Fox News reported the story of the security guard at the hotel who confirmed that Edwards had to be escorted out of the restroom and off the premises to avoid the reporters chasing him. The Los Angeles Times, the primary newspaper in the city where these events occurred, issued a gag order to its blogger network on the topic. The liberal blogs are skirting the issue as well with only a few bloggers seriously questioning Edwards and wanting the truth to come out before conservatives take the story and use it against Edwards, liberals and Democrats in an unfriendly way. Conservative blogs are crying censorship, claiming this story would be all over the blogosphere and the MSM if a potential Republican contender for vice president were involved.

Edwards denied the story by calling it "tabloid trash," but he didn't deny being at the hotel. He also ducked reporters at a recent public appearance. His quick dismissal of the episode and his dropping out of sight since then only casts the light of suspicion on him more intently than before. If there is a child involved (and since his campaign operative claimed to be the father, there must be a child somewhere), why not take a DNA test and disprove the allegation once and for all? If he is caring for this woman's child out of obligation to the campaign operative who is purportedly the father, why not say so? It would make him appear noble toward a single mother and child and loyal to those who work for him.

I'm not reporting this story to promote gossip. In fact, I'm very uncomfortable with it, but I'm trying to make what I believe to be a salient point. It is my opinion that the mainstream press and the blogosphere would be all over this story if the individual in question were Republican or conservative. Some suggest that they're playing down the story out of respect for Elizabeth Edwards and her children. Has it ever occurred to them that the men and women with whom they differ and who they savage mercilessly when they are caught in the wrong have families, too? This appears to be a case of the liberal media protecting one of its own. As far as I'm concerned, this isn't just a situation where Senator Edwards may be showing his true colors - so is the press that adored him for so long and can't bear to bring him down.