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For nearly a year, the National Enquirer tabloid reported that 2004 vice-presidential nominee and 2008 presidential hopeful John Edwards had an extramarital affair -- an affair Edwards admitted to late last week. Jeffrey Brown examines why the mainstream media remained silent on the story amid the flurry of tabloid reports.
Covering the John Edwards affair. Jeffrey Brown has our Media Unit look.
JOHN EDWARDS (D), Former Presidential Candidate: Hey, guys.
For nearly a year, the National Enquirer has been reporting that 2004 vice presidential nominee and 2008 presidential candidate John Edwards had an extramarital affair and that he had fathered a child out of wedlock.
Recently, the Enquirer published blurry photos of a man who looked like Edwards holding a baby while talking with a woman in a Los Angeles hotel.
Edwards repeatedly denied the allegations to reporters.
I have no idea what you're asking about. I've responded to — consistently to these tabloid allegations by saying I don't respond to these lies.
But Friday, Edwards sat down with ABC News and admitted that he had, indeed, carried on an affair with Rielle Hunter, a videographer employed by his presidential campaign. He denied fathering the child.
My lord and my wife have forgiven me, so I'm going to move on.
BOB WOODWARD, ABC Anchor:
Will your marriage survive?
Oh, yes. Oh, yes. I think our marriage not only will survive, but it will be strong.
Elizabeth Edwards, who last year revealed she had incurable cancer, confirmed on Friday in a statement that her husband had confessed his infidelity in 2006. John Edwards said that the affair occurred during a period when his wife's cancer was in remission.
Before Edwards' admission on ABC, few mainstream media outlets had looked into the story or reported on the allegations. That changed Friday.
DAVID GREGORY, NBC Anchor:
… John Edwards, who made public, finally admitted to the fact that he did have an extramarital affair back in 2006, this after a long string of denials as he was running for the presidency.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN Anchor:
He says he's ready to take a paternity test because a child was born, and she now says — the other woman — that she doesn't want any paternity test.
Hollywood couldn't write it this good.
The NewsHour decided not to report the Edwards revelation on its Friday evening program. Yesterday, CNN's Jessica Yellin asked if the Edwards coverage was warranted.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN Correspondent:
I guess the larger question is, what's the public's need to know? He's not a candidate. He's not an office-holder.
On the other hand, Matt Bai of the New York Times Magazine said on ABC that the mainstream press might have failed in not reporting the story more aggressively.
MATT BAI, New York Times Magazine:
But I actually, in a weird way, a guy like John Edwards deserves to have this story covered because we're the ones who can actually get to the truth of it. And otherwise it just hangs out there as rumor.
Prior to Friday, in fact, the Edwards rumor had hung out there for some time on the Internet, as online publications, discussion groups, and bloggers kept the talk alive and, in some cases, demanded it get more attention in the mainstream media.
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