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Fox News Scoops Locals on Rielle Hunter-JonBenét Ramsey Connection

Rielle Hunter.
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The press loves it when sensational stories collide -- and that's precisely what happened in the case of John Edwards and Rielle Hunter, his extra-marital paramour. At first, the mainstream media didn't want anything to do with rumors of their liaison -- but once Edwards sat down with ABC's Bob Woodruff to admit the affair (and make the credibility-straining claim that he's not the father of Hunter's bambino), it was Katie Couric bar the door. By Friday, August 8, Fox News had already learned that Hunter is the former wife of Alexander Hunter III, son of past Boulder district attorney Alex Hunter. Because the elder Alex had been on the job in 1996, when the daughter of prominent Boulderites John and Patsy Ramsey was killed, the network's Roger Friedman was able to point out that "it’s less than six degrees of separation from... the JonBenét Ramsey murder case to the current reported scandal involving former presidential candidate John Edwards."

Praise Jesus! It's the motherlode! But don't credit the local press for discovering this deep seam of synchronicity. Far from it: Area dailies took up to five days to make note of it.

The Denver Post gets a bit of a pass, since it doesn't have a Saturday edition -- and the Associated Press report on the Edwards-Hunter love match that appeared in its Sunday, August 10 issue concluded with the sentence, "Hunter is the former wife of Alexander Hunter III, the son of former Boulder prosecutor Alex Hunter, according to Fox News." Then again, the paper made no mention of the bizarre JonBenét connection and hasn't followed up on it since then with the exception of a brief mention in Bill Husted's August 12 column.

On that same day, the Boulder Daily Camera finally decided to get into the game -- and at least the subsequent article, "Boulder Linked to Edwards Scandal," put a few points on the board. Here's the new stuff, buried at the midpoint of the story:

On Tuesday, Hunter III was in Boulder at his 1,300-square-foot, $540,000 condo atop a commercial building in the 800 block of Pearl Street, which Boulder County assessor’s records show he purchased in 2001.

“I hope you can appreciate why I can’t comment,” Hunter III said by phone, declining to talk about his ex-wife.

The senior Hunter did not return phone calls Tuesday.

Unlike his father, Hunter III has kept a relatively low-profile public life.

According to Camera archives, he was briefly thrust into the spotlight as a 21-year-old suspect in connection with shoplifting a $3 bottle of whisky from Boulder’s Liquor Mart in 1980. The charge was dismissed and the case dropped after witnesses to the reported theft could not be located.

Hunter III also received attention in February 1978 when he told Boulder police that a man approached him and a friend while walking in the 1100 block of University Avenue and demanded to see some identification. The man, later identified by witnesses as John Grubesic, reportedly shot Hunter III in the leg with a small-caliber revolver.

As for the Rocky Mountain News, the paper took the easy way out, choosing to run an abbreviated version of the Camera's report in the physical version of its August 13 offering. At this writing, it's not coming up in web searches of the Rocky's site -- but the scissor-wielders at the copy desk cut out the entire Liquor Mart saga and shortened the stuff about Hunter III being shot in the leg -- a tale that needed more detail, not less.

Get it together, guys. Fox News shouldn't be the go-to source for salacious information rooted in your neighborhood. What would JonBenét say?-- Michael Roberts

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