Edwards: I was "99% honest"!

A mostly political Weblog.
Aug. 9 2008 9:42 PM

Edwards: Hey, I Was "99% Honest"

It's all the tabloid's fault!

(Continued from Page 14)

___________________________

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

NE to MSM--No Pix Fix: Don't expect any photos of the Edwards Hilton Hunt in the next issue of the National Enquirer. Radar's Neel Shah interviews Enquirer editor David Perel, who says the Enquirer "definitely" has photos but

he won't be putting them in tabloid's next issue, or making them accessible online.

"It's a story that we're taking a long view of," Perel told Radar by phone. "We've got a big exclusive coming out this week, and we are on the trail of some stuff that's even hotter." [E.A.]

Perel told me much the same thing when I followed up--that it's "not about the photos but about the rest of the story, and the story is just going to get bigger from here."

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This seems like a tragic mistake on Perel's part. Why? Rationally or irrationally**, release of the photos has become the talismanic MSM/bien pensant test for whether the Enquirer can be believed about anything. Release them now and the big dailies and networks will all jump into the Edwards investigation, sources will talk (because they're either emboldened or terrified of looking bad), the whole story will come out in short order. Wikipedia will unlock! And the nation will be able move on.

Delay releasing the pics--in hopes of pursuing a "bigger" story, whatever that is--and you give Edwards time to regroup. You give the Protect Elizabeth lobbyists time to call up their media mogul friends (including the ones who own the Enquirer). You discourage truth-telling sources from sticking their necks out while you encourage ass-covering sources to remain loyal to Team E. We could end up with seven months of seething undernews rebellion, no MSM coverage of either the Rielle scandal or whatever "hotter" story the Enquirer documents***--and, next year, H.H.S. Secretary John Edwards.

It's like the famously parodied scene in a Bond film where instead of just shooting poor Bond the villain tries to stage some more elaborate and prolonged auto da fe, with the result that Bond is able to escape.

And it's hard not to completely suppress the feeling that the Enquirer is milking the story to boost its role (and, not incidentally newsstand sales). After being scorned by the Edwards-defending MSM last fall, Perel may understandably be content with building a separate EnquirerWorld where refugees from the mainstream matrix can go to learn the truth for the next few weeks. But that assumes he can pull off his long-term story plan without some other outfit scooping him three weeks out. Why make Dr. Evil's mistake?

Anyway, weeks and weeks of uncertainty aren't in the national interest.  And they aren't in my interest. (I'd like to go back to obsessing about something else.)

At least Perel has declared he has photos. But unless he releases them there will always be the suspicion that he's bluffing. After all, why did his reporters so quickly file a complaint against hotel security  with the local police? One obvious possible goal was to obtain the security camera tapes. Are those tapes so important because the Enquirer actually doesn't have other photographic evidence? I don't think that's the reason, but I don't know for sure. If Perel released even a little teaser photo--and I'd settle for white knuckles gripping a bathroom door--that would help erase a lingering suspicion that the Enquirer's photogarpher was out of position, or perhaps plagued by the world's only defective camera.

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