In the annals of fawning coverage of scandal-plagued Democrats, Michael Biesecker's Saturday morning report on John Edwards's illness and its effect on his upcoming trail on campaign finance violations surely must be among the worst.

Biesecker missed at least a half-dozen natural opportunities to tag Edwards as a Democrat, finally doing so in cryptic fashion in his 15th of 17 paragraphs. He didn't identify Edwards as the 2004 vice-presidential candidate until that same paragraph, and in doing so named who was at the top of the GOP ticket (George W. Bush) without naming who was at the top of the Dems' (John Kerry). The AP reporter threw obsequious virtual kisses at a man who betrayed his terminally ill wife while omitting two clearly relevant recent reports, one from an outlet which has scooped the look-the-other-way establishment press time after time in this sad, four-year saga. Here are several paragraphs from Biescecker's blather (some of the many clear opportunities to tag Edwards as a Dem and examples of over-the-top fawning are bolded):



Good Morning America's Brian Ross on Friday highlighted the sordid details of John Edwards' affair during the 2008 presidential election campaign. Yet, GMA was the same program that repeatedly hyped the marriage of the former senator and Elizabeth Edwards.

Ross intoned, "When Edwards announced he was running for president, his mistress, campaign filmmaker Rielle Hunter, was there, just a few feet away from Edwards' now-deceased wife, Elizabeth."

On July 31, 2007, then-co-host Diane Sawyer cheerfully explained how the Edwards were planning on celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary at Wendy's. "Happy anniversary," she cooed.



I remember the first time I ever saw any of the Westboro Baptist Church. It was many years ago and I can't remember where it was but I saw a bunch of people at a distance holding up day glow colored signs that said, "GOD HATES FAGS" and "THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS."

When you travel as much as I do, you see some pretty strange sights and tend to catalogue such things as the antics of a bunch of local kooks out to grab some headlines.



Now they've really gone and done it as far as Ed Schultz is concerned.

Speaking with Schultz on his radio show Thursday, Schultz's producer James Holm described plans by members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., notorious for their protests outside funerals of American soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, to stage a similar protest during the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards.

The discussion between Schultz and Holm was preceded by Schultz gushing about Rev. Al Sharpton meeting with FCC officials in a thinly veiled attempt to censor Limbaugh for racial insensitivity. First, Schultz played a clip of Sharpton's remarks, not citing where they were stated, while Schultz brays his approval  (link here for audio) --



In the February 22, article, "The Quiet Dignity of Rielle Hunter," Newsweek columnist Jonathan Darman praises Rielle Hunter, the mistress of John Edwards who gave birth to his baby, and suggests that her silence during the scandal has reflected favorably on her character.

Mediaite’s Frances Martel points out Darman’s bizarre admiration for Hunter in the February 24, article, "Newsweek Columnist Prefers Rielle’s ‘Quiet Dignity’ to Elizabeth’s ‘Vengeful Hysteria.’" Martel summarizes the Newsweek article:

Out of all this irresponsible suffering, Newsweek has found an unlikely hero: Rielle Hunter. Columnist Jonathan Darman argues that it is in her silence throughout the entire ordeal that the public can see her true "dignity," and that she is unlike most mistresses of the modern era in that she has not used her new-found fame for financial stability or to generate more fame for its own sake.

In Darman’s article, he summarizes how he sees the "character" of each major player in the scandal:



On Friday's Good Morning America, Claire Shipman gushed over Elizabeth Edwards as a “smart, passionate, sometimes fierce woman with many different sides to her personality.” She lauded the wife of John Edwards as a complex “heroine” who is “increasingly hard to define.” At the same time, Shipman downplayed the negative portrayal of Mrs. Edwards in a new campaign book.

Recounting the story of the spouse to a cheating politician, Shipman began, “It's a long journey from the adored, everywoman next door who captivated Washington on her arrival.” The journalist did mention the highly negative characterization of Elizabeth Edwards in the book Game Change, a recounting of the 2008 campaign.

However, she assured viewers that staffers say “this was a one-dimensional portrait.” GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos, who himself is a former Democratic campaign operative, quickly agreed: “And we're all a lot more complicated than that.”


Are you putting me on, Jim?

Yeah, I'm talking to you, James Rainey, of the Los Angeles Times.

It seems that the Times columnist just can't figure out how the MSM missed out on reporting the John Edwards scandal story despite the fact that the L.A. Times was Gound Zero for media refusal to report on this matter even after the National Enquirer broke an important aspect of the story in Rainey's own backyard at the Beverly Hilton. First the entertaining money quote from Rainey in today's column:

After reading "Game Change," a sweeping new account of campaign 2008 by veteran journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, a reader might wonder: How could the schmucks on the bus miss the operatic disintegration of Edwards' once widely admired partnership with his wife, Elizabeth?



Hee! Hee! Hee!

I'm cracking up every time I look at New York Magazine's terrific Nathan Fox artwork used to illustrate a chapter of the John Heilemann and Mark Halperin book, "Game Change," chronicling the 2008 presidential race. The chapter excerpted in that periodical, "Saint Elizabeth and the Ego Monster," is about the complete self-destruction of John Edwards along with his campaign and marriage. Never has a candidate fallen so far and so quickly as you can see in both the the story and the illustrations. And what illustrations! The picture of Elizabeth Edwards ripping off her blouse on the upper right is explained by the authors which presents a picture of something less than the wedded bliss which John and Elizabeth Edwards portrayed to the public:
At the terminal, the couple fought in the passenger waiting area. They fought outside in the parking lot. Elizabeth was sobbing, out of control, incoherent. As their aides tried to avert their eyes, she tore off her blouse, exposing herself. “Look at me!” she wailed at John and then staggered, nearly falling to the ground.


The media have routinely denied having a liberal bias over the years, but when it comes to Barack Obama, they're not so shy about admitting their favoritism. Time magazine's year-end double issue republishes "Letters of the Year," and reprinted in the largest boldest, type is this reaction to the 2008 Person of the Year story:

"Choosing Obama was so predictable. TIME has had a love affair with him since he announced his candidacy for president." -- Ken Taylor, HARTFORD, TENN.



With Saturday Night Live now in re-runs until September, my offering for a little Saturday night -- media bias-based -- humor.

Nearly five years ago, when compliant journalists were touting then-vice presidential candidate John Edwards and admiring his supposed idyllic marriage to Elizabeth Edwards, Katie Couric celebrated the happy couple's annual wedding anniversary “romantic ritual” of eating at Wendy's, wondering as all three laughed together: “What do you say, 'One Frosty, two straws?'” Pretty ridiculous in retrospect.

In the taped interview aired on the Thursday, July 15, 2004 Today show, Couric cued up the couple: “I know you'll be celebrating your 27th wedding anniversary. And I understand you go through a romantic ritual every year to commemorate that date. Share it with us will you?” John Edwards answered that “we go to Wendy's for our anniversary” before his wife provided her take, prompting a delighted Couric to marvel: “So every year for 26 years so far?” As John Edwards quipped “you could question our sanity,” Couric jumped in: “I was gonna say, what do you say, 'One Frosty, two straws?'”

Audio: MP3 clip (48 seconds)


Elizabeth Edwards probably didn’t figure one of the toughest interviews on her publicity tour for her book Resilience was going to be an appearance on ABC’s The View on Tuesday.



The website Women on the Web (Wow-o-Wow) convened a little forum last Friday about whether Elizabeth Edwards is right to stay with her adulterous husband. Sesame Street creator Joan Ganz Cooney expressed a distaste for Elizabeth's creation of a spectacle that's clearly not coming from Oprah Winfrey or Larry King or other publicists of Elizabeth's new opus: "I think she is making a mistake writing a book about the affair and publicizing it.