Pigeon O’Brien, the one-time friend of John Edwards’s mistress Rielle Hunter who publicly called him out for lying in the Nightline interview where he confessed to the affair — but not to fathering Hunter’s child, which in fact he did. At HuffPo today, she reveals that she was one of the first sources for the National Enquirer story on the affair. It turns out that quite a few reporters had reached out to her, and when she decided to call them back the Enquirer was not her first choice:
One day, I simply stepped off the treadmill while exercising and picked up the phone. I didn’t even know what I was doing. But I found myself calling a publication that had left a voicemail I’d deleted inquiring about Rielle. I was going to confirm.
To my surprise, nothing happened. I got all braved up and no one would take my call. I hadn’t noted who called me, so I got a receptionist. “Can I speak with the person writing about the, um, John Edwards affair?” I ventured. “John Edwards… affair?” Sneered the receptionist. I might as well have asked for the person writing about hating cute puppies.
My second call was to a big newspaper. They had called, repeatedly, and clearly were well versed in the affair whispers. Carefully, anonymously, I asked what would happen if I said anything. There was nothing they could do, they said, unless I went on the record and they used my name. Well, no. But I saw light and I just didn’t stop.
My third call was to the National Enquirer.
Mickey Kaus asks (in the midst of a post that’s well worth reading): “If so much of the MSM knew or suspected the story was true, why was it subequently so easily cowed by the efforts of John and Elizabeth Edwards to cover it up?”
I assume that’s a rhetorical question, as the answer is obvious: They really, really didn’t want the story to be true. If you can picture a Republican candidate evoking the same sentimentality in reporters, you have a more vivid imagination than I do.