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Media's affair with Edwards

August 12, 2008

Re "An era ends in silence," Column, Aug. 9

Tim Rutten, whose columns are almost always worth reading, cites Mickey Kaus, who is almost never worth reading, to assert that the failure of the media to follow up on the National Enquirer story about John Edwards' affair demonstrates that the media have a double standard favoring Democrats. The charge of a double standard "is largely true, as anyone who recalls the media frenzy over conservative commentator and former Cabinet secretary William Bennett's high-stakes gambling would agree," Rutten writes.

Let me beg to disagree. The Bennett story is not the right comparison. A better comparison would be the media ignoring the tabloid reports of marital discord between George and Laura Bush over George's renewed drinking and relationship with Condoleezza Rice.

Or the media failing to cite as part of the context for the Edwards story that two of the leading GOP candidates for president -- Rudy Giuliani and the likely nominee, John McCain -- are admitted adulterers whose adultery led directly to their divorces.

Or the media's and punditocracy's denunciation earlier this year of the New York Times for reporting that McCain had a close personal relationship with a younger female lobbyist.

Double standard favoring Democrats? Neither Rutten nor Kaus can fairly build a case demonstrating it.

Jack Needleman

Los Angeles

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I say, who cares? It's terrible that the mainstream media didn't print the story as soon as the National Enquirer did -- because we know what a bastion of truth and integrity the Enquirer is.

Thousands of people killed in an illegal war; thousands of Americans losing their homes; millions of Americans unemployed; the dollar at an all-time low -- these things affect people's lives. Edwards' affair only affects his family. Let them deal with it, and let The Times stick to the stories that really matter.

Betsy Estrada

Mission Viejo

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Re "Edwards' affair puts him on the sidelines," Aug. 9

I'm requesting that Edwards return my $35 campaign donation.

I'd hoped to help the "other America," not the other woman.

Donna Morel

San Diego

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As a former supporter of Edwards' presidential campaign, I am furious with him. Not for having an affair, or even for lying, but for having the hubris to believe he wouldn't get caught.

What if Edwards had gotten the nomination? Where would we Democrats (who are hanging on by a thread, let's face it) be now?

Cherie Rodgers

Santa Monica

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