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The John Edwards Rumors and the Denver Media

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At the top of his KHOW talk show on July 24, Peter Boyles suggested that the mainstream press is showing liberal bias by keeping its distance from reports published on the National Enquirer's website on July 23 (with an update on July 24) that former Senator and potential Barack Obama running mate John Edwards was "caught" visiting "mistress" Rielle Hunter and his "love child" at a Los Angeles hotel. Boyles' evidence? Reporters were all over stories that Senator Larry Craig, a Republican, had been caught in a compromising position in the men's room of a Minnesota airport, but they've essentially ignored the gossip about a relationship between Edwards and Hunter, which have circulated around the Internet since at least last year.

Of course, equating these two incidents is nonsense. In the case of Craig, reporters had official police reports, not to mention Craig's guilty plea -- and even so, a couple of months elapsed between the bust, in June of 2007, and August, when news broke. As for the Edwards story, it's backed primarily by the word of the National Enquirer, a source that falls somewhat shy of unimpeachable. Nevertheless, it does seem strange that the Denver dailies haven't at least alluded to the rumblings about the Man With the Perfect Hair, especially since both ran puffy articles about him that appeared the same day as the initial Enquirer salvo -- and, by happenstance, the Rocky Mountain News' version had the word "passion" in its headline.

No, not that kind of passion. "John Edwards Passion to War Against Poverty," penned by Jean Torkelson, focused on his quick visit to the University of Denver on behalf of Half in Ten, which aims to cut American impoverishment by fifty percent in a decade. He said this fight, and not the search for nookie, was "the cause of my life" -- a point reiterated in a smaller Denver Post item stemming from the same event.

Since then, the Los Angeles Times has published a piece about the potential impact of the Enquirer allegations on Edwards' veep chances, even referencing the Rocky report. This is an entirely appropriate approach, and the Denver newspapers certainly shouldn't shy away from it. Thus far, though, nada -- not even on Politics West, the Post address devoted to all things political.

The papers' reticence doesn't prove Boyles' point -- but it ignores a legitimate news angle. -- Michael Roberts

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