By contrast, the Enquirer is constantly running preposterous stories about conservatives, such as the Sarah Palin affair story, the banner reports about Palin's son vandalizing school buses—proved false before the juicy Enquirer story even hit the newsstands29—the David Schippers affair story, the story of Rush Limbaugh's impending marriage to Daryn Kagan, as well as every detail of the Limbaugh prescription drug story, including the lurid tales of Rush skulking around parking lots to buy drugs and even which painkiller he was taking. Many people are under the impression that the National Enquirer is accurate but tasteless. When it comes to its stories on conservatives, it's just tasteless. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that a “key owner” of the Enquirer is prominent Democrat Roger Altman.30

  THE SAME YEAR THAT THE ESTABLISHMENT MEDIA WERE BUSY opening sealed court records of Obama's electoral opponents, Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean refused to release even sealed gubernatorial records—you know, documents plausibly relevant to assessing his governing abilities. Dean said he'D prefer to “end the campaign than let the world see everything.”31 The media went ballistic when it was discovered in March 2008 that State Department contractors had glanced at Obama's passport file. There were banner headlines, breaking news reports on the cable networks, and even an ABC Nightline special on this shocking breach of privacy. The matter was quietly dropped when it turned out the passport files of John McCain had been breached, too. The media consider a passport file the very soul of privacy when a Democrat is the target, but the sealed divorce records of a Republican are fair game.

  At least both Obama and McCain were running for president. When Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher asked Obama the Redeemer a question, prompting Obama to casually reveal that he was a Marxist whose plan was to “spread the wealth,” state employees working for Democratic governor Ted Strickland set to work examining government files protected by law to find dirt on “Joe the Plumber.” At the direction of Obama supporter Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, they searched tax records, child support files, and business license records for embarrassing information about a private citizen.

  Soon government busybodies were jubilantly announcing that Joe the Plumber didn't have a plumber's license! This was shocking to people who are unaware that plumbers don't need licenses, owners of plumbing companies do. But that's not all: Joe the Plumber's name wasn't even Joe!!! His given first name was Samuel. People just called him Joe as a nickname! Clearly, this “Joe” character was one of those con artists who goes around taking advantage of decent people by impersonating a plumber.

  And yet none of that changed the fact that Obama had still said he wanted to “spread the wealth.”

  I think most people would rather have the government listening to their phone calls to see if they are terrorists than have the government designate them as “enemy combatants” for asking Obama a question. Government employees searched state databases for the specific purpose of destroying one citizen. If this sort of scrutiny were directed at a Pakistani immigrant training to be a crop duster pilot, everyone involved in the investigation would be fired and publicly humiliated. But Governor Strickland, also an Obama supporter, took no action against Jones-Kelley. To the contrary, he enthusiastically defended her.32

  If it's open season on random American citizens, how about reporters? Washington Post reporter Dana Priest has revealed boatloads of classified national defense information over the years that has been extremely damaging to the War on Terror. For endangering all Americans, she won a Pulitzer Prize. I think it would be “interesting” to see the medical records of Dana Priest to find out if she's ever had an abortion. Can I get a peek?

  The concept of “privacy” is respected solely to protect liberals. While President John F. Kennedy carried on an affair with a mob boss's mistress, Judith Exner, fed his mind-boggling drug addictions supplied by his own “Dr. Feelgood,” and brought whores to the White House to satisfy a dangerous sex addiction, the media aggressively covered it up, on the grounds that it was private. CBS's Dan Rather explained why most of the mainstream media buried Juanita Broaddrick's claim that Bill Clinton had raped her, saying, “When the charge has something to do with somebody's private sex life, I would prefer not to run any of it.”33 But Joe the Plumber, Jack Ryan, and Rush Limbaugh might as well be living in a police state for all their privacy is respected.

  Oddly, the media never used their innovative “it might be interesting” argument to unseal the divorce records of John Kerry (Democrat), Joe Lieberman (Democrat), or Teddy Kennedy (Democrat). I'm not sure about the first two, but Ted Kennedys divorce records not interesting? I'm surprised they haven't been optioned by a major Hollywood film studio. With a string of drunk-driving offenses, adulteries, a night of boozing with his younger relations on Good Friday leading to a rape accusation against nephew William Kennedy Smith, and one dead girl to his credit, if anyone's personal life ever deserved looking into, it is surely the Fredo of the Kennedy family. But as far as the media were concerned, it was America's responsibility to deal with the Kennedy self-esteem problem. Kennedy's divorce was not deemed sufficiently “interesting.”

  You know when Teddy Kennedy's divorce records would have been really interesting? In 1994, when he faced Mitt Romney in a tough battle for the U.S. Senate. During that very campaign, Joan Kennedy filed sealed papers to reopen her divorce from Ted.34 That would have set reporters’ hair on fire if Kennedy were a Republican. Filing in a Boston courthouse, Mrs. Kennedy specifically stated that their divorce papers had been originally filed in Hyannisport simply to avoid “public scrutiny and publicity,” because “Mr. Kennedy was fearful the press would learn of the divorce and the provisions of our separation agreement, which incorporated our financial settlement.”35 Hello? Watchdog media? Anything “interesting” there? Or were you still trying to reinterview the same three people claiming that Newt Gingrich was a beast to his first wife?

  In September 1994, Romney led Kennedy 43 percent to 42 percent in polls.36 But on election day, Kennedy clobbered Romney 58 percent to 42 percent. What happened in the interim?

  In innumerable newspaper articles and TV reports, Romney was portrayed as an uncaring robber baron who had laid off hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of hardworking blue-collar workers. The specific charge involved a strike at a paper plant in Indiana that had been acquired by a company named Ampad, which in turn was owned by the company Romney founded, Bain Capital. As was later admitted in the Boston Globe—after the election—Romney had absolutely nothing to do with the Indiana paper mill even using the crazy corporate-connection logic of liberals. Ampad bought the Indiana paper plant six months after Romney had left Bain. To put this in perspective, it would be like blaming a guy who sold Kennedy a car six months before July 19, 1969, for Mary Jo Kopechne's death.

  But as the Globe would ruefully remark after the damage was done, “politics is about emotion, not logic.”37 Who creates that emotion? Could it have anything to do with the 8 billion news stories the Globe ran smearing Romney as a ruthless corporate raider?

  The first of the literally two dozen stories in the Globe pursuing the story of “Mitt Romney: Robber Baron” featured heartrending tidbits like these:

  A union official said the paper company's problems “are evidence that Romney is insensitive to workers.” Then the union official got back into a Lincoln town car and had his driver take him back to his country estate.

  The union official added that “Romney is just another robber baron.” You'D think Romney had amassed a great family fortune through unscrupulous business ventures, like bootlegging liquor during Prohibition.

  He added that Romney's firm “destroyed 10 jobs for every job they have allegedly created”—whereas the union rarely destroyed more than 5 jobs for each job it created.

  Among those laid off at the paper plant “were two pregnant women.”38 By contrast, Kennedy was so compassionate he would have immediately offer
ed both women free abortions.

  In its postelection analysis, the Globe said the Kennedy campaign had cleverly coordinated with union officials to concoct a major media scandal out of a strike at a paper plant acquired by a company that was bought by a private equity firm six months after Romney left the private equity firm. The Globe acted as if it were merely an unwitting accomplice in this ridiculous slander.

  WHILE THE MEDIA WERE UNABLE TO STOP THEMSELVES FROM spreading unsubstantiated rumors about Romney's business, they were an impenetrable firewall for rumors swirling around presidential candidate John Edwards in 2007.

  During the 2008 Democratic primaries, it was generally assumed that John Edwards's presence hurt Hillary more than it hurt Obama, by peeling off some of her blue-collar voters. The same mainstream media that were mad to produce Jack Ryan's sealed divorce records when he was running for the Senate obstinately refused to report on Edwards's extramarital affair. Perhaps they were still working on that Chap-paquiddick exposé that hadn't been ready for publication for forty years.

  In 2007, the National Enquirer began reporting on Edwards's affair with New Age divorcée Rielle Hunter, formerly Lisa Druck. The establishment media completely ignored the story and Edwards continued with his campaign for president. Even when the Enquirer reported that Hunter was pregnant with Edwards's love child, the media ignored the story.

  The Edwards campaign denied the affair, pawning it off on an apparently very loyal Edwards campaign official, Andrew Young. Like Edwards, Young was married with children, but also like Edwards, Young was a Democrat, so it was possible. Except that, not only did Young's wife not leave him, she was perfectly agreeable to having her husband's mistress move into their gated community for the duration of the pregnancy, and even join her, Andrew, and the kids for dinner. This did not pique the media's interest.

  The campaign videos Hunter had been hired to make for Edwards were stripped from the campaign website. The mainstream media remained uninterested.

  Finally, in the summer of 2008, the Enquirer, still the lone news outlet covering the affair, staked out the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles after receiving a tip that Edwards would be there to visit Hunter and the love child, who reportedly has her mother's eyes and her father's dramatic flair in front of a jury. Edwards fled from the reporters and blockaded himself in a hotel bathroom until hotel security came to rescue him. Even more suspicious, while Edwards was barricaded in the bathroom, no one reported hearing sounds of a blow dryer. If only Republican Larry Craig had been in that bathroom, NBC might have covered it!

  A memo from an L.A. Times editor to his bloggers was leaked to Slate blogger Mickey Kaus soon after the Enquirer's hotel stakeout, firmly instructing the Times's bloggers not to mention the brewing Edwards scandal. This would suggest that there was some interest in the topic. The memo said:

  From: “Pierce, Tony”

  Date: July 24, 2008 10:54:41 AM PDT

  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,


  A Washington Post reporter defended the total media blackout on the story, telling the Times of London, “Edwards is no longer an elected official and he is not running for office now. Don't expect wall-to-wall coverage.”39 But Edwards wasn't some no-name congressman: He was the Democrats’ most recent vice presidential candidate, he had been a candidate for president just months earlier, and he was being talked about for cabinet positions in any Democratic administration.

  Say, what sort of “elected official” was Ted Haggard again? He was the Christian minister no one outside of his own parish had ever heard of until he was caught in a gay sex scandal the previous year. Then he suddenly became the Pope of the Protestants. And yet, despite the fact that Haggard was not an “elected official,” the Post gave that story wall-to-wall coverage. And what office was Bill Bennett running for when he was caught gambling in Las Vegas? What office was Rush Limbaugh running for when the media was saturated with coverage of his unused bottle of Viagra?

  The non-American press was not so demure about the Edwards scandal. Here is a sampling of some of the foreign headlines within a couple of weeks of the National Enquirer bathroom stakeout: “Sleaze Scuppers Democrat Golden Boy” (Sunday Times—London), “Scandal Sinks Edwards's VP Hopes” (The Australian), “VP Dreams End in Rielle Nightmare” (Sunday Independent—Ireland), “The ‘Scoop’ the US Papers Ignored” (British Independent Media Weekly—Britain), “Edwards’ ‘Love Child’ Silence Fuels the Gossip Mills” (Toronto Star), “It's Enough to Make You Veep Down a Rich US Path” (Canberra Times—Australia). There was also this evocative line from an article in the Canadian Hamilton Spectator: “I was sweating like John Edwards looking at the National Enquirer.”

  Why do liberals always want us to be more like foreigners when it comes to “tolerating” the sex scandals of Democrats, but not when it comes to reporting sex scandals of Democrats? To paraphrase Michelle Obama, after reading those foreign headlines, for the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm proud to be a European American!

  Isn't there some level of coverage between “wall-to-wall” and “double-secret probation, delta-force level total news blackout” when it comes to a sex scandal involving a Democrat?

  Apparently not. The only way consumers of the establishment media might have ascertained that Edwards was embroiled in some sort of scandal was that, after the incident in the hotel, his name was summarily dropped from discussions of possible vice presidential candidates. The Democrats’ most recent vice presidential candidate was suddenly getting less coverage than Ron Paul. It was reminiscent of the Soviet press. His name had simply been completely whitewashed out of the news. Say, why isn't anyone talking about John Edwards for vice president anymore? No, seriously— Hey! Why are we going to a commercial break?

  It was not until Edwards himself confessed to the affair that the media had dispensation to report the story. Edwards copped to the sexual relationship, but said the child he was visiting in the hotel wasn't his, and he also gallantly added that he had never loved his mistress anyway. He said he was being “99 percent honest” when he had denied the affair. Apparently if you simply removed the words “not” and “false” from his denials—which is about 1 percent of what he said— the rest was true. He also boasted that he only cheated on his wife when the cancer was in remission—I guess by regularly checking her red blood cell count. I wish I had a nickel for every time a married guy in a bar said to me, “My wife just doesn't understand me—and her cancer is in remission!” Needless to say, the love child landed Edwards in hot water with the feminists, who were hopping mad that Hunter had decided not to abort the baby.

  Edwards had no explanation for why his national finance chair, Texas trial lawyer Fred Baron, was paying his mistress—allegedly about $15,000 a month—and was also paying Andrew Young, the Edwards aide who bravely claimed to be the father of the love child. Finally, Edwards said the affair was over before he announced he was running for president, but that claim collapsed almost immediately, after photos were released showing Edwards and Hunter together after he had announced. For his next story, I recommend: Yes, the child is mine—but she looks nothing like me.

  Forced by Edwards's admission to report this blockbuster story, the establishment media decided to cover it on … the opening night of the Olympics. That seemed really weird, because for weeks the media had been talking about how no one would be paying attention to politics during the Olympics. On CNN, John King said the Olympic Games were “expected to push politics off the center stage for most of August.” The Associated Press re
ferred to “the August summertime lull when attention is focused not on politics but on the Olympics.” And an article in the Wall Street Journal said, “With the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics just days away and hordes of voters on vacation, the American public's attention span for politics is minimal at best.”

  If you were paranoid about media bias, you might think that the networks got together to figure out how to report the Edwards story so that it would have the least conceivable impact. Through months of increasingly dramatic coverage in the Enquirer, the mainstream media had played Soviet Commissars, refusing to mention Edwards's shocking sex scandal. And then the media waited until the opening night of the Olympics to finally break the story. Evidently, ABC got the short straw, and it had to broadcast Edwards's admission. As planned, the Edwards interview got abominable ratings. In two years, liberals will be boasting about ABC's airing of Edwards's confession—forgetting to mention it was on the opening night of the Olympics—as proof that there is no liberal media bias.

  Say, do you think the Enquirer's “love child” story would have attracted media attention if it had involved Mitt Romney? His presidential campaign ended one week after Edwards's did. But I'm fairly certain the press would be able to manufacture an all-new rule to justify nonstop coverage of any lurid sex scandal in Romney's life. They'D bring Ted Koppel out of retirement to cover that. Katie Couric, Brian Williams, and Charles Gibson would be anchoring the evening news from Romney's front yard. They might even get Dan Rather to produce some forged documents for the occasion! But with a Democratic sex scandal, major media outlets compete for the Pulitzer for Best Suppressed Story.

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