Why we’re not covering the Edwards trial

by YES! Staff


You haven’t heard much about the John Edwards trial from us. The news trucks line the block outside the federal courthouse in Greensboro, and the News & Record is running wall-to-wall coverage with an archived compendium of the day-by-day reports.

We know we’re missing the story, but we have our reasons. Still, we’re whores for fame like any other person who packs a notebook into a courtroom or council chamber, like any videographer eager to capture the zeitgeist and retail it to the masses. So two of us felt a little sheepish when we had to tell someone from a national TV news outfit that we couldn’t put someone in front of their camera to talk about the court proceedings because we hadn’t been there. And only an hour earlier we’d been selfrighteously holding forth on what a non-story the Edwards trial was.

We don’t blame our daily news rival and the television news outfits for covering the Edwards trial. People want to know about it, and they should respond to the demand. But there’s probably not much that we can add to it.

Frankly, it’s been a whole lot more fun to follow the craziness surrounding the marriage amendment, a ballot referendum that — by the time you read this — will have defined North Carolina to the world, for better or worse. It’s been more fun to cover fierce electoral battles between Rep. Marcus Brandon and Earl Jones over who will represent our communities in Raleigh; to chronicle firebrand Bill Flynn and a hollering man Billy Yow nipping at US Rep. Howard Coble’s heels; to unravel a scheme by a cabal of politicians to secretly funnel money into an effort to manipulate voters at the polls in Forsyth County.

We understand why John Edwards is interesting, but we stopped caring a long time ago.

We understand why John Edwards is interesting, but we stopped caring a long time ago.

John Edwards mattered in the winter of 2007-2008 when he forced the other Democratic candidates to talk about poverty and workers’ rights. Thanks to Edwards’ prodding, Obama the post-partisan reformer who campaigned in Iowa in December 2007 became Obama the economic populist who campaigned in North Carolina in April 2008.

It was easy to brush aside the knock against Edwards for his $500 haircut, although maybe it shouldn’t have been. By the time the sex scandal broke, Edwards had become a bit player on the political stage. But in hindsight, the revelation that he secretly raised almost $1 million to conceal an affair and love child points to the hollowness of Edwards’ professed concern for the poor.

Edwards was utterly disgraced because of his betrayal of his magnificent wife long before the federal indictment dropped. All the same, the idea that this constitutes a violation of campaign finance law is a stretch. Yes, he concealed the secret payments, but would anybody argue that they were legitimate campaign expenditures? So the outcome of the case is no more significant from a legal standpoint than a political one.

Still, it makes for a pretty juicy soap opera.

YES! Weekly chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration