Dispatches from a Reporter's Notebook

What's news got to do with it?

Posted February 16, 2010

Probably one of the most media-saturated stories in recent weeks has been that of John Edwards and his failed cover-up of an extramarital affair and the subsequent birth of his out-of-wedlock child.

At first glance, an avid news follower might say: This is old news. He's not a public figure anymore. We already knew all of this. But like anything else in the news cycle, while the story may have its season, it can be redone over and over like next year's spring fashions if there is the slightest reason for new headlines. In this situation, the former presidential candidate's longtime aide, Andrew Young, wrote what has now become a best-selling tell-all book called The Politician which details Edwards' fall from grace. This has stoked the proverbial fire and given it new life, more life than any of us in the media ever expected.

The story itself has everything-sex, money, power, greed. It brings to mind a Greek tragedy with its cast of colorful characters-the dashing young aide who is loyal to his boss to a fault, the handsome, affable, rich politician and his brilliant wife who is suffering from incurable cancer, and the wild-card mistress who espouses good karma, but has fallen into one of the biggest political scandals of our times.

As the mistress, Rielle Hunter, continues to battle over what she perceives Young took from her-personal photos and a sex tape that reportedly shows Edwards and a woman who appears to be her. As a result, the story re-generates on a daily basis. In an effort to sell his book , Young has appeared on dozens of national television shows and radio programs across the country. He has also appeared in newspapers and major magazines like People. It is almost impossible to get away from the story even if you wanted to. One might think people would lose interest, but so far isn't proving to be true. The Politician is number two on the New York Times bestsellers' list. The public seems to hang on every new detail. Is Elizabeth Edwards filing an alienation of affection lawsuit against Young? Did John Edwards propose to Hunter and buy her a home on Bald Head Island?

The truth is that we may never know the answers to many of these questions, but as long as the public is interested the details, media outlets will continue to follow the story for better or for worse.



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About this Blog:

WRAL's Amanda Lamb offers a behind-the-scenes look at what TV news reporters do, the people they meet and how their jobs affect them.