NYT's Seelye Again Flubs John Edwards's Dem ID; Zeleny Calls Indictment a 'Tragedy All the Way Around'

Another day, another New York Times story by Katharine Seelye story on liberal Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards that completely leaves out the words "liberal" and "Democrat" -- an admiring profile of Edwards’s loyal daughter, "For Edwards’s Adult Daughter, A Recurring Role: Family Glue," which led Thursday's National section.

Seelye’s initial online story on Edwards’s indictment last Friday also left out the disgraced politician’s party affiliation, though it was added in by the time the story appeared in print Saturday.

From Thursday's piece:

At the courthouse, Ms. Edwards, a graduate of Harvard Law School, appeared composed. She has come by her strength the hard way, having coped with more than her share of pain, much of it on the public stage.

Fifteen years ago, when she was barely a teenager, her 16-year-old brother, Wade, was thrown from a car and killed on his way to the family beach house. For two years, her mother later wrote, Cate slept on two chairs pushed together in her parents’ room, but she emerged as the glue that would hold the family together.

Last week, reporter Jeff Zeleny (pictured) had sounded almost regretful about the Edwards prosecution in a very brief segment on the June 3 Washington Week in Review.

Zeleny: "It was pretty unbelievable. Four years ago, right now, he was in Iowa. He was in New Hampshire. And it just goes to show that we never exactly know what is going on in a campaign. So a lot of voters had their eyes on Senator Edwards and thought that he was the strongest nominee possible. I remember back to 2003, at this period, the people inside the Bush White House thought that he was the guy who could beat George W. Bush. And of course, it's not ended very well for him and it's a tragedy all the way around. We can argue the merits of, if this is a rightful prosecution or not, the -- a jury will decide that in North Carolina -- but it just goes to show that flash and appearance is not you know perhaps the most important thing in a candidate. He had a lot of that. And he had substance as well, but--"

Host Gwen Ifill: "And even if the government can't prove its case here, he's still -- the things he's admitted to are still things people find pretty objectionable."

Zeleny: "Right."

Ifill: "Yes. Well, we’ll talk some more about him during the webcast..."

"Tragedy" is certainly not how the Times treated the indictment of another politico, Dick Cheney's aide Lewis Libby (who also had a supportive family) for his role in leaking the name of CIA employee Valerie Plame. Scott Shane's front-page piece February 15, 2007 from Libby's trial was headlined "For Liberal Bloggers, Libby Trial Is Fun and Fodder."

In the episode's webcast, Zeleny sadly admitted candidate Edwards had become increasingly entitled and demanding, while holding out the possibility (hope?) that the case could fall through:

Zeleny: "I mean it wouldn’t be the first time, you know, for a Justice Department, to be prosecuting a senator or a former senator, to have a case fall through, I mean it happened with Senator Ted Stevens in Alaska, totally different case obviously, but, you know, we can’t necessarily know where this is going. But it just makes you think back to all those moments where we saw John Edwards talking about the "Two Americas," both in the 2003 campaign and again in 2007, 2008....I think the change that happened in John Edwards, I covered him a lot in both campaigns, was when he was running as the vice-presidential candidate to John Kerry in 2004. He changed then, I think, he became more entitled it seemed to me, he became more, he was demanding things and expecting things."

Clay Waters
Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center . Read more: http://archive.newsbusters.org/bios/clay-waters.html#ixzz3CdgxLFgQ