Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tracking the virus...

It’s not that I want to feed this thing. For me, the anticipation of a scandal outbreak – and the excitement of it now – is almost clinical. Like being dropped in a “hot zone” to track the spread of a new virus.

So... 24 hours after the Drudge Report trumpeted the National Enquirer’s “love child” claim regarding John Edwards, where has it moved?

This morning, Don Imus talked it up on his radio show.

Rush Limbaugh brought it up also, hinting (of course) that Hillary Clinton’s campaign planted the whole story. (Limbaugh also took the opportunity to say “selling drugs” and “Obama” in the same breath. Again.)

But by the end of Day 1, the scandal hadn’t spread to the cable-news political talk shows. (In keeping with the virus metaphor, it hasn’t yet “jumped the species barrier.”)

On the Web, the Huffington Post hasn’t touched it. But Slate.com blogger Mickey Kaus did. (“The Enquirer drops another Edwards scandal bomb.”) Kaus linked to the Enquirer website soon after Drudge did.

No mainstream American newspaper or wire service has mentioned the rumor. But a British tabloid has.

The Daily Mail went with this headline: “U.S. presidential hopeful John Edwards denies cheating on dying wife in ‘love child’ claims.”

(That is one thing you don’t want in politics: Your name and the words “cheating on dying wife” in the same headline.)

16 comments:

Dan Coyle said...

Must... resist... Kaus blowing goats joke!

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I don't get it.

Doctor Memory said...

The goat-blowing thing is (sorta) explained here.

Also, I'm guessing that the primary reason that most major news outlets aren't too excited about this story is that woman in question left the Edwards campaign to move in with the baby's actual father, who's been happily acknowledging paternity. This makes for a pretty tenuous "Edwards love child" story.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Thanks doctor.

Unfortunately for the Edwards family, the tenuousness of the rumor is unrelated to the strength of the virus... in this new media age.

If something swirls around on talk radio and in the blogosphere long enough, it finds a way to jump to cable news. And, from there, possibly to the major papers.

This one will make an interesting test case... especially because it's such a shaky claim. There are a couple of pinhead talk-radio guys here in L.A. -- who happen to be the most popular afternoon-drive talkers on the West Coast -- and they don't give a hoot how true it may or may not be... they were talking up the Enquirer story today too.

tAnYeTTa said...

You are right about this:

That is one thing you don’t want in politics: Your name and the words “cheating on dying wife” in the same headline.

I sure hope this isn't true for everyone's sake.

They look like such a happy family!

Undercover Black Man said...

^ And if it's not true, Tanyetta, I sure hope they squash it.

eeaster said...

This is anctually an old rumor reoported about two months ago, but the baby thing is the new twist.

Blame the Clintons. John Edwards has the most to gain from Clintons drop in the Iowa polls. I'm still betting he takes it and Obama and Clinton cancel themselves out.

Anonymous said...

UBM,

I have great respect for you, so I very respectfully ask:

With posts like these are you falling prey to the same thing that S5 of The Wire is supposed to be exposing?

I apologize if I am missing your point.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Well, anon, I can only say that a blog is a different medium than a newspaper, a talk-radio program or a cable-news talk show. I think it would be grossly irresponsible for a newspaper columnist, at this stage, to write what I have written here. It's an issue of scale.

I applaud the Huffington Post for ignoring this rumor.

But with only a few hundred readers a day, I can take advantage of the intimacy of this platform -- and explore the dynamics of a political "scandal" and how it spreads while doing minimal damage to Sen. Edwards.

rikyrah said...

I'll add my 2 cents:

Last week's Enquirer Headline:

STEADMAN - I'VE HAD ENOUGH, OPRAH. I'M LEAVING.

(Obama is to blame.)


THIS week's Enquirer Headline:

JOHN EDWARD'S LOVE CHILD.

Now, call me a conspiracy theorist...

But, could it be that it's related to Clinton PAL and BOOSTER, Ron Burkle, BUYING THE ENQUIRER?

I know, could be just a coincidence.
BUt, I'm way too cynical to believe in coincidence.

memomachine said...

Hmmmm.

(That is one thing you don’t want in politics: Your name and the words “cheating on dying wife” in the same headline.)

IMO that's one, of *many*, reasons why Newt Gingrich's political career is dead.

I don't have much of a desire to politically support a guy who not only cheated on his wife while she was undergoing chemotherapy but also delivered divorce papers to her during one of her treatments!

You really have to be a bastard to do something like that.

As for Edwards. *shrug* he's been using his wife, *and* her medical condition, as both a shield and a sword. How many times has his campaign trotted her out to attack people? Lots. And because of her cancer people haven't attacked her back.

Personally I call that "cowardice".

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Wow, you're right, memo. Mrs. Edwards has been talking some shit out there. I never put two and two together.

justjudith said...

why anybody wants to run for president, i don't know. who is the perfect candidate? nobody and in this day and age you can make up stuff that will alienate enough voters to sway them your way. if this story is planted, somebody in the democratic party is taking a chapter from the karl rove south carolina primary book. you remember, where he gave john mccain an illegitimate black child. i would really rather focus on the issues and not the personal stuff, but i guess i'm naive.

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