Monday, August 11, 2008

What does 10 pounds of guilt really look like?

I haven’t had a chance to watch the Nightline interview with John Edwards yet, but I did read his statement after penning a letter to him. (FWIW, I’m inclined to say that I found his statement to be relatively redeeming.) As Slate pointed out, this kind of story is only a story when hypocrisy is involved (Again, see: Larry Craig.), as it was with Jesse Jackson. But even Jackson was able to maintain a public image. (Kind of.) And sure, mainstream media’s reluctance to cover the story is worth mentioning as well.

But I found Alessandra Stanley's article, True or False: Everyone Looks 10 Pounds Guiltier on TV, to be just a wash of anti-Edwards rhetoric. Stanley writes: “Even if he acted to pre-empt another wave of reports, Mr. Edwards didn’t need to put himself in front of a camera. Silence, or a written statement followed by a tactical retreat from public life, would have sufficed. But apparently Mr. Edwards is not ready to leave the stage; he just wanted to have more control over the script.”

Really? Because if he hadn’t gone in front of the cameras, what would the media have said then? And honestly, what’s wrong with controlling the script? Stanley does no more than piss and moan about smart politicking. In her world, Edwards was damned because he did, but by someone else’s standards, he was damned if he didn’t.

If Alessandra Stanley was really looking for an example of someone looking 10 pounds guiltier on TV, maybe she should have watched the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremonies on Friday night instead. Because as Iraq’s four athletes entered the stadium, George W. Bush’s face contorted into an uncomfortable smirk that was worth several thousand lives worth of guilt. Or when Thailand entered the stadium, Bush exemplified all the enthusiasm for his country that one might expect from a president so disliked, as he disinterestedly slapped his thigh with the American flag and stared blankly into space.

At the very least Edwards apologizes for his behavior.

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