Los Angeles Times Bans Edwards Scandal Story

LA Times Blog EditorVia Mickey Kaus, we learn that the Los Angeles Times has apparently banned its bloggers from mentioning the Edwards/Rielle Hunter story.

From: “Pierce, Tony”

Date: July 24, 2008 10:54:41 AM PDT

To: [XXX]

Subject: john edwards

Hey bloggers,

There has been a little buzz surrounding John Edwards and his alleged affair. Because the only source has been the National Enquirer we have decided not to cover the rumors or salacious speculations. So I am asking you all not to blog about this topic until further notified.

If you have any questions or are ever in need of story ideas that would best fit your blog, please don’t hesitate to ask

Keep rockin,


Now, the only thing about the Hunter story that actually interests me is the inside baseball: The fact that it might have the beneficial side effect of preventing Edwards from being appointed to an Attorney General position for which he is supremely unqualified in an Obama Administration. Other than that, I really don’t care whether Edwards was at that hotel visiting Hunter or not. Nor do I care if her child is his or if he was sleeping with her while his wife had cancer.

No, the reason I mention this ban is to point out that the Times was not hobbled by any such scruples when John McCain was accused — on much thinner evidence — of having possibly, maybe, sort of having had an inappropriate relationship with Vicki Iseman almost a decade earlier. In fact, a search of the Times website for her name brings up 101 results. Doubtless they’d argue that the Enquirer isn’t a credible source. But the same could be (and was) said of the two anonymous and admittedly disgruntled former aides who were peddling the Iseman story.

One needn’t leap to any conclusions here; one need only take a small step and there conclusions are.

UPDATE (James Joyner): Don Frederick and Andrew Malcolm run an interesting site at Top of the Ticket, so I’m a bit bemused that Pierce, pictured above from his days running the LAist gossip rag, is stepping in to teach them professional journalistic ethics.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Media, , , , , , , , , ,
Dodd Harris
About Dodd Harris
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He contributed over 650 pieces to OTB between May 2007 and September 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Amuk3.


  1. DL says:

    The reason they had to fall back on, out and out pure censorship is because their little political correctness weapon hasn’t yet figured out a way of making you the guilty one if you dare to mention such dastardly activity as adultery and producing a child (please don’t ever call it “love” -love means sacrifice for someone not using and abusing) while your wife is dying.

    It is as we have been told by the original Messiah, truth (that they fear you will learn) that will set you free.

  2. Dantheman says:

    Of course this is partisan. After all, the LA Times spent so much ink on all of the lurid Bush rumors about drinking binges and divorce proceedings.

    Or maybe not.

  3. It must be nice to be a politician with a D after your name.

  4. B. Minich says:

    I think I’d have trouble taking career direction from a man who signs his e-mails “keep rockin”.

  5. unspun says:

    How does someone like that get his job?

  6. WR says:

    Perhaps one of the reasons for this shocking journalistic double standard is that McCain was running for president when the story ran and John Edwards is not.

    Of course, having watched the McCain campaign of late, it could be argued that he’s not really running, either. But at the time of the story, he seemed to be giving it a shot…

  7. Ugh… the McCain story was not about an affair… it was about an improper relationship with a lobbyist. The prurient element was just an added bonus. The Edwards story is a pure affair.

    Let’s at least keep straight what the stories were about before we talk about whether they are credible or not.

  8. Dodd says:

    improper relationship with a lobbyist.

    And this is different from “inappropriate relationship with Vicki Iseman” how? Seriously, the only reason the supposed lobbyist angle had any traction was because he was accused of having an affair with her. No difference.

    As to the status of the campaigns, that dog won’t hunt. Edwards is frequently mentioned as a potential AG and, given that he won some delegates, will most likely have a nice speaking slot at the convention. As such, this is just as (if not more) newsworthy as the bogus McCain story. As such, there’s no credible excuse for this gag order.

  9. No, Dodd, simply not true. Did you even read the original story? It was about how Mr. Clean was elbows deeps into close ties with lobbyists. The affair part was a throw-away — it just said, basically, some of his staffers were concerned that she was getting so much access that they might be having an affair.

    Again, I am not defending the reporting. But the claim that these are both just affair stories is simply wrong and embarrassing and well below the standards readers like me expect of this site.

    By the way, I don’t particularly have any objection to the Edwards story. I do think adultery is a character issue that should be covered. I really, really doubt any McCain supporter is going to want to open up that can of worms though. The shenanigans with Cindy back when he was married to Carol were enough to turn Nancy Reagan off to McCain, and she was closer to the story than any of us is.

  10. Dodd says:

    No, Dodd, simply not true. Did you even read the original story? It was about how Mr. Clean was elbows deeps into close ties with lobbyists. The affair part was a throw-away

    Even assuming for the sake of argument that that’s correct (which I do not concede – we shall simply have to agree to disagree on the import of the alleged affair in that story getting to press), we still have a) on the one hand a salacious story they were all too happy to run with, based on basically nothing, about events that were almost a decade old, and b) on the other hand a salacious story that’s still breaking about which they’re suddenly so cautious about that they’ve banned any mention of it, even posts which question its legitimacy. The disconnect is quite apparent to me.

  11. Spoker says:

    And they keep calling asking me why I canceled my subscription.

  12. Spoker says:

    It is truly amazing how fast policies change at the LA Times. Just happened to see this in todays edition.

  13. TCP Wagner says:

    I think it must be even handier to be a Republican. Whose name is more known when it comes to scandal? Gennifer Flowers or Jennifer Fitzgerald?

  14. Jim Treacher says:

    Perhaps one of the reasons for this shocking journalistic double standard is that McCain was running for president when the story ran and John Edwards is not.

    So it’s not a story because they weren’t able to catch him red-handed until after he’d already dropped out of the race? Even though the baby would’ve had to have been conceived on the campaign trail?

  15. Dodd says:

    The London Times sees the point quite as clearly as I do:

    The New York Times has not deigned to touch the story, although it recently ran thousands of words on a relationship between McCain and a female lobbyist, which appeared to be based more on innuendo than fact.