The “Schieffer Standard”
Lethargy over John Edwards Scandal Returns to MSM

The Schieffer Standard

In the John Edwards Scandal, CBS News’ Bob Schieffer serves as the poster child for the ADHD Mainstream Media.

After a spike in coverage–largely composed of stories about why the MSM didn’t allow their customers news of the John Edwards affair, scandal and cover-up before John Edwards gave the Dinosaur Press his okay–the MSM has ‘moved on’ to more pleasant topics, leaving the scandal’s reporting and investigation to the National Enquirer and the blogosphere.

Bob Schieffer, of CBS, might well one day become a case study in Journalism 101’s “Death of the Dinosaurs” chapter. From the beginning, Schieffer has racked his brain for excuses for not bothering his remaining viewers with news of a presidential and vice-presidential contender’s affair and cover-up in an election year. The fact that Schieffer “knows” John and Elizabeth Edwards, or that Edwards has the protective “D” after his name probably never blurred Schieffer’s news “judgment”.

In December, when the National Enquirer published pictures of pregnant mistress, Rielle Hunter, and the news that she’d moved to within five miles of the Edwards 08 for President campaign HQ in Chapel Hill, NC, Bob Schieffer wasn’t interested in the story.

The Enquirer also published details of the Edwards’ cover-up and the fact that Hunter was driving around in a BMW owned by Edwards’ operative, Andrew Young. But none of that interested hard-bitten newsman, Bob Schieffer.

[Background information: access over 100 DBKP stories on the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter affair, scandal and cover-up: John Edwards Love Child Scandal Library.]

Here’s what Schieffer had to say in December about why he wouldn’t be reporting the John Edwards’ affair:

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, you know I saw that this morning. I believe that — I believe that’s a story that we will be avoiding, because it appears to me that there’s absolutely nothing to it. I’m told that another — a man says that the child is his. I’m told that the woman who seems to be pregnant says it’s not his. So I guess — I guess we’re going to pass on that. Unless you come up with some new information on this, Don.
–When asked about the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter story On the Don Imus show

What sort of “new information” might have changed the news equation for Bob Schieffer?

How about John Edwards getting cornered by Enquirer reporters on July 21 in the Beverly Hilton after visiting Hunter?


How about Edwards ducking reporters on July 30 who tried to question him about the Beverly Hilton events, after an Edwards’ speech in Washington, DC?

No, again.

Apparently, it took John Edwards appearing on rival ABC’s Nightline to confess to the affair–but not to the cover-up or the paternity of Hunter’s daughter, Frances Quinn Hunter–to get the attention of Bob Schieffer.

Not sure if Bob Schieffer would have reported on it even then.

It took a personal phone call to Schieffer from John Edwards himself to convince steely-eyed journalist Bob Schieffer to comment on the matter at all. On August 8, Schieffer got the the go-ahead to talk about the Edwards-Hunter affair. Readers can decide for themselves if Schieffer sounds like a objective newsman or an Edwards’ PR hack trying to soothe CBS’ dwindling audience.

SCHIEFFER: Russ, just before we went on the air tonight, John Edwards called me and said he wanted to talk. He said that all this happened back in 2006 before he announced that he was running for president and that he told his wife Elizabeth about it then and that she forgave him. He said because of that he thought it was just between them. I’ve known John Edwards a long time and I asked him if I could talk to Elizabeth and she came to the phone. She was obviously in tears and didn’t say much but she told me that he had told her about then and they had decided to move on.

MITCHELL: Why did he decide to tell it now?

SCHIEFFER: He said he said he just couldn’t live with the constant pounding from the tabloids. It wasn’t going to stop, I was being dogged and dogged, for the sake of my family I just had to end it, for the sake of my family. So he decided to confirm it and go on, he said, for the sake of his family. He said repeatedly that he took full responsibility for this. He told me he was certain the child was not his, that the affair was over long ago. When I asked him how Elizabeth was doing he said she is just amazing, like she always is.

Edwards’ previous denials to the press in October 2007–which Schieffer now knew to be lies was barely remarked upon.

SCHIEFFER: When I asked him why he had denied the story over and over he said because so many of the stories had so much false information. He said what I should have done is confirm the part that was true and then live with it.

That explanation reveals why the story of the Edwards’ coverup–in Bob Schiffer’s mind–is a settle matter.

So, nineteen days after that phone call, how does Bob Schieffer feel about reporting on the man who lied to the press and the nation while running for president, vice-president and away from reporters?

Continue reading: John Edwards Scandal: Mainstream Media Adhering to Schieffer Standard

by Mondoreb
Source: John Edwards Scandal: Mainstream Media Adhering to Schieffer Standard

Mondoreb blogs at Death By 1000 Papercuts. Interested readers can e-mail him at All DBKP stories are filed under Mondoreb at BNN.

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