New Lows in Media Coverage: ABC and Andrew Young

Why is ABC so heavily promoting its segment tonight with Andrew Young, author of the sleaze book on John Edwards? I have gotten an e-mail from ABC every few hours today. Their website is filled with news and details of his appearance. So is GMA, they've been hyping it all week. I wouldn't watch Young, a self-promoting scam artist, if they paid me.

Young is not an unbiased journalist. He has a past filled with transgressions, from tax liens to misdemeanor convictions. He's out to make money. He's trying to bury Edwards. I hope no one buys his book.

As for the sex tape he's trying to peddle, the court put a kabosh on that for the time being, granting Rielle Hunter's motion for a temporary restraining order preventing him from disseminating it. A hearing will be held Feb. 8. [More...]

As for the domestic call made to the Edwards' home in October, 2008, Elizabeth called the police saying John had taken her wallet and credit cards and that he wasn't living there. She said he wasn't being violent. All that shows is that the Edwards were separated in 2008. Not surprising, considering it was two months after he went public acknowledging his affair with Hunter.

The only issue worthy of attention is the grand jury investigation into whether campaign funds were illegally funnelled to Rielle Hunter with John Edwards' knowledge. Even Young, whose testimony before the grand jury was purchased with "limited immunity" has said he doubts it.

A few last words on Young:

Although Young is sometimes now described as Edwards’s former “finance director,” and although it’s true that he did do some fund-raising, his primary role was that of the ne plus ultra factotum. His duties revolved around the most menial of chores, from picking up Edwards’s dry cleaning to shuttling him to and from the airport to (literally) taking out his trash.

Among Edwards’s more senior advisers, Young’s slavish fealty to his boss was the source of constant mockery and derision. “Butt-boy” was a term frequently invoked, along with “a*s-kisser.” Young sometimes served as Edwards’s “body man,” doing advance work for him on campaign swings. One oft-repeated joke in the Edwards circle was that if Young’s own grandmother was standing in the way, he would shove her aside to clear a path for the candidate. By all accounts, Young loved the trappings of power, and often leveraged his connection to Edwards into small but tasty perks.

I could understand the National Enquirer pursuing Young, but the extent to which ABC is pimping him and his uncorroborated allegations is really troubling. I wonder how much they are paying him.

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    I liked this piece (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by BDB on Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 07:00:37 PM EST
    in Salon on Elizabeth Edwards, but then I generally like Kate Harding.

    That's a terrific, terrific (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 07:11:05 PM EST
    piece and expresses pretty much exactly how I feel about it.  Thanks very much for pointing us to it.

    Ditto (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 08:57:31 PM EST
    During the 2004 campaign, watching Elizabeth Edwards on the morning shows and meeting her in person, she always struck me as one of the campaign's greatest assets because she was the female Bill Clinton -- in that she could take political points and their every day implications for the average American, and put them ever so articulately into clear and compelling language that we all could relate to; she cut through the gobledy-gook (sp?) of campaign rhetoric so effectively.  
    I think it's shameful that in the MSM's rush to build audience it has hurt her in the process. I wonder if Elizabeth & John's roles had been reversed if these male authors would have felt so free to paint John in bad light? Since no one in the MSM ever "got" how Hilary was mistreated throughout the campaign and the misogyny of it, the MSM continues to trash women just because -- because they can get away with it.

    The MSM has become (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Zorba on Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 07:03:01 PM EST
    not much different from the National Enquirer, Jeralyn.  We shouldn't be surprised.  OTOH, if people weren't listening to/buying this dreck, they'd go out of business.  As sleazy as ABC (and others) are, if everyone paid absolutely no attention to them, they'd go away.  Ultimately, I blame the American news consumer.

    Sure wish the media would pay this much (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 08:39:18 PM EST
    attention to real issues...

    But, as my grandmother used to say...if wishes were horses then beggars would ride...

    This is what (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by cal1942 on Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 10:25:27 PM EST
    broadcast news media has degenerated into.

    The networks see the news division as a profit center and sleaze gets ratings, boring old sound analysis doesn't.

    He said, she said reporting on the issues allows them to call themselves 'balanced.' Forget the truth, the efficacy of a given statement, that would indicate "bias."  Facts, after all, have a distinct liberal bias.

    Anyone at any of the networks that suggests this model be dropped would be viewed as though they had a third eye in the middle of their forehead and either permaently ignored or shown the door.

    All the networks are owned by others, are only a part of other corporations and the attituide is that every division must achieve the highest possible profit. They just don't understand anything else, it's beyond them.

    This will continue unabated and will probably be the permanent state of broadcast news.

    Yes. (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Fabian on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 06:28:03 AM EST
    The title "a new low" seemed silly to me.  I don't bother with most broadcast news precisely because of this Springeresque style.  It's common enough, even if it isn't front and center every day.

    I'd have to dig up the appropriate link, but NPR had a review on a 2008 campaign book which fits this style - all about supporting the narrative that Obama was better person than his political rivals simply because he won.  It's the kind of book you'd read if you were a) an Obama fan and b) liked sleaze and gossip.

    I predict solid sales.


    Ewwwwww.......reading about all their problems (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Angel on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 02:52:06 PM EST
    makes me feel a little bit dirty.  The mistress seems kind of creepy to me, and John Edwards, well, he seems kind of creepy, too, especially if he really did steal Elizabeth's wallet and credit cards.  If that's true then he's gone off the deep end.  I feel sorry for Elizabeth in many ways, not the least of which is that she is seriously ill and her husband is a pos and isn't there to comfort her.  I really feel sorry for the kids, having spent their first years in what appeared to be a loving home with loving parents and now all hell has broke loose.  I hope the older daughter will be able to step in and help the younger ones through this stuff.  Wow.  The guy has ruined so many lives.  

    Edwards, Tiger Woods, Governor Sanford (none / 0) (#4)
    by txpolitico67 on Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 08:04:00 PM EST
    what gets me is how the media goes full tilt boogie on spouses cheating on one another.  It's no one else's business. "Man cheats on wife"..WOW stop the presses! /s.  This may be armchair pop-psychology in what I'm about to write, but to me, since roughly 1/2 the marriages in this country end in divorce, people may want to relate their marital failures to those society glamorizes and holds to a higher standard (which is nuts in the first place).

    Only when they have to (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by BrassTacks on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 02:31:39 AM EST
    The media usually keeps these affairs quiet.  They don't report them until forced, which is why the Inquirer had break the Edward's story.  MSM knew about the affair, they followed him everywhere, but they chose not to report it.  Ditto with Tiger.  MSM has known for a very long time but didn't want to destroy a hero so they kept it quiet, until they were forced to report it.  

    Those two were held to a higher standard because of their pretense of living to a higher standard.  It was their lies that the MSM chose to support.  I have no clue why, but the press loved them and went along with their lies about them such fine, family, men, do devoted to their wives and kids.  Blech.  


    Call to Police Due to Theft (none / 0) (#5)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 08:37:43 PM EST
    You write that the call to the police only reflects that the Edwards were separated in 2008.  Based on the police document you link to, it seems that Elizabeth was reporting that John stole her wallet and credit cards.  To me, this makes John even more depraved than previously thought.  Did he really think Elizabeth was going to run up bills buying caviar and jewels?  

    I wholly agree that by interviewing Young, ABC is turning itself into a TV tabloid.  All this stuff adds insult to injury for Elizabeth and to me is utterly shameful.  

    I agree! (none / 0) (#10)
    by BrassTacks on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 02:34:11 AM EST
    Particularly when John Edwards built a 28,000 square foot home, the largest EVER built in NC and is worth many, many, millions.  Why on earth would he care if Elizabeth DID run up her credit cards?!  He owes her a buck or two.  The man is a total sleaze.  ABC can't ruin his career, it's LONG gone, through his own actions.  Say goodnight John.  

    Why? Because people engaged in (none / 0) (#14)
    by Anne on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 10:35:10 AM EST
    marital difficulty can get petty and vengeful and wildly impulsive.

    Haven't you ever seen War of the Roses?  :-)


    Yes, divorce (none / 0) (#17)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 06:55:30 PM EST
    like other stressful situations, as when a business slowly closes, firing people a few at a time, is, in my opinion, when you can tell a person's character.  Stress is one thing; how you handle it another.  

    Andrew Young (none / 0) (#13)
    by lc on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 10:13:00 AM EST
    Andrew Young sure sounds like quite the reprobate.  And poor John Edwards -- forced to involve himself with such a person!!

    Ha! (none / 0) (#15)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 11:51:30 AM EST
    I was thinking earlier today about John Edwards (none / 0) (#18)
    by Angel on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 01:52:29 PM EST
    after seeing something on the NYT website about the book.  I recalled that during the first presidential debate Edwards and Obama ganged up on Hillary, and I thought that John was particularly mean in his actions and words, etc.  I was really pissed that night and afterwards, and couldn't figure out why he did that.  Now I understand why he did what he did...he just does not have respect for women.  None.  Not for his wife, not for his mistress, not for his new daughter, not for the two daughters he has with Elizabeth.  The guy is a walking talking creep who cares only for his own needs and ambitions.  I'm so glad he's out of public life for good.