Media Blog

John Edwards and the MSM

Byron has a must-read piece on the homepage today about why the MSM has been AWOL on the John Edwards story.

Just a few quick thoughts of my own to add:
1.  The Enquirer’s parent company, American Media, is in dire financial straits.  Here’s the NY Post from July 24 (after the Edwards story broke):

Battered magazine publisher American Media is inching closer to a deal that would turn over a substantial amount of the company to creditors and deal another blow to its private-equity owners, according to sources familiar with the deal.
While talks are at a sensitive stage and could still fall apart, American Media’s owners, THL Partners and Evercore Partners, are working on firming up a deal that would reduce the publisher’s debt by around $200 million and hand a sizable minority equity stake in the company to its lenders, sources said.
The publisher of Star Magazine and The National Enquirer faces an insurmountable cash crunch next February unless it renegotiates $415 million worth of junk bonds.

At the end of the day, the MSM is still a business.  When your competitor is drowning, throw him a rock.  Ignoring the Enquirer’s scoop is that rock. 
2.  I’m not sure America really wants to hear the story.  The “love child” pictures hit the newsstand on Wednesday, I believe, but they were not the cover story.  The cover story was “plastic surgery shockers.”  Edwards is an itty-bitty picture on the top left.  The Enquirer knows its audience, and that audience, it seems, does not want to think about a sleazy politician cheating on his sick wife.  They do want, it seems, to read about overpaid celebrities butchering their bodies in a futile quest for perfection.
For the many women who read the Enquirer, the Edwards story is something that could happen to them.  The “plastic surgery shocker” probably is not.
3.  The MSM is starting, as Byron point out, to ask what’s going to happen at the convention.  Edwards 2008 is very different from Edwards 2004.  With Edwards 2004, nobody really knew Elizabeth.  They found out in 2004, however, that she’s a pretty strong woman.  Her battle with cancer has confirmed that.  To paraphrase James Carville, if Elizabeth gave Obama one of her cojones, she would have four and he would have two.  Elizabeth was always part of the 2008 strategy; lots of Democratic voters liked her more than they liked her husband.
So, with news outlets starting to report that Edwards’s silence might affect his convention appearance, who really cares on the Dem side?  But Mrs. Edwards is a different story.  If I were Obama, I’d announce that she has a speaking slot at the convention if she wants it — John’s old news.  She’s the story, and America loves a story where those who are wronged come out on top.

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