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John Edwards Ruined My Opening Ceremony

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What a C.R.E.E.P.

Here I was planning to blog about the Olympics for the next two weeks and then shift happens: my lowest-common-denominator button prevailed.

I can't be the only one who Tivoed the Opening Ceremony and channel surfed between Fox News Channel and CNN as the talking heads and tabloid reporters waxed hours about Edwards' turpitude.

Now the 300 million dollar extravaganza in Beijing will have to wait as I contemplate the rise and fall of the 400 dollar haircut man.

It's not that the popup breaking news yesterday was any surprise. When you teach about the media, you have to be aware of stories from all sources--talk radio, tabloid, online sources from YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo!, among many others. I make no apologies about occasionally picking up the Enquirer, which by the way is the most popular print weekly in the United States.

I was well aware that Edwards was the tabloid king and right-wing radio hot topic.

Several weeks ago on a trip to South Carolina I heard Sean Hannity discussing the Edwards affair and love child on his talk radio program. I told my brother that the story would shortly make its way up the media food chain to Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper. He had his doubts. Where was the story in the MSM, he pleaded? Give it time, bro, I said.

Then yesterday's news tsunami hit. Of course, the Edwards sit-down with Bob Woodruff was a political calculation. Edwards thought he might bury the lead in all those fireworks and waving flags. That didn't happen. The US media finally pounced.

Howard Kurtz had to come on CNN as a man-of-the-media-cloth to explain why the "Drive By" didn't jump on this story in the last year when it first began to circulate. The respectable press, as they like to be known, thought it prudent to wait until someone cried uncle or at least baby daddy. They also hesitated on the story because the media in question, the National Enquirer, pays its sources for information.

Anyone see the parallels between paying off sources and paying news analysts for their information?

Edwards had to publicly admit to the affair with Rielle Hunter on ABC's Nightline to make the respectability door open so that all media would appear like the tabloids. For his part, Edwards was still probably hoping we were looking for Jennie Finch and Yao Ming in the stands.

He did tell Woodruff he never loved her. Now Hunter's family is calling for an immediate paternity test to prove that his glove doesn't fit conception timeline is way off. Doesn't Edwards know that you shouldn't have a sexual affair with a woman and then report to the world that you never loved her? That's something to keep to yourself, unless you want to generate some hell fury.

Edwards was once touted the next YouTube president. Here is how The Washington Post reported his December 26, 2006 presidential bid announcement: "Nor did Edwards hope to spread his message by putting himself at the mercy of others. Like all candidates now, Edwards has his own Web site and his own videographer...Smart candidates know the old command-and-control structures of politics don't work anymore. Instead, campaigns are all about building communities and speaking directly to supporters, whether through email or podcasts or what the Edwards team calls "webisodes.""

That webisode producer/director was one Rielle Hunter. The Edwards team is devastated that these home movies that were designed to show the softer and more casual side of Edwards (in one he's seen commenting on Hunter's cool shoes) revealed a not so smart candidate driven by, in his words, narcissism and ego.

Wow, that was a surprising defense. We all know U.S. presidential candidates are the most humble public servants imaginable.

I was waiting to hear about Twinkies too.

Something told me in December 2006 that Edwards would not get far in his presidential journey. He began his bid in New Orleans to highlight his poverty theme against the backdrop of a nation still reeling from the Hurricane Katrina response. His YouTube "Tomorrow Begins Today" video was broadcast after he now says his affair with Hunter had ended. He must have believed his own slogan.

His timing was off from the start. He announced his bid in the same week that Saddam Hussein was hanged in Baghdad and James Brown died of pneumonia in Atlanta. His lead was buried. Now it's his credibility.