Tiger Woods is slated for a comeback next month. Can John Edwards be far behind?
America is the land of second and third changes. That's especially true in politics, where a hungry politician like Richard Nixon can regain footing after a pounding and rise to electoral victory.
What's to say that now disgraced Edwards won’t throw his hat into the ring in 2016 in the race to succeed President Barack Obama? If the former North Carolina senator and vice presidential/presidential candidate is driven and smart enough to hire a reputation expert such as Mike Sitrick, Eric Dezenhall or even my colleague Fraser Seitel, redemption is possible.
Woods, however, won't be jumping on the Edwards bandwagon.
The American Journalism Review tells why with a cover story, "Lost in the Woods: Sinking Standards, The Media and Tiger Woods." Written by Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi, the piece argues that the massive mainstream wall-to-wall overage of the Woods scandal is partly due to the "black eye" it suffered for missing the Edwards sex story.
The "trashy" National Enquirer broke the story of Edwards' hook-up with Rielle Hunter, a former campaign staffer. Once Edwards dismissed the Enquirer report as "tabloid trash," prominent news outlets went mum.
Alicia Shepard, National Public Radio's ombudsman, believes the "first scandal incited the firestorm over the second." She told AJR:
“The John Edwards story forced legitimate news organizations not to ignore Tiger Woods. The mainstream media used to dismiss that kind of story now they do so at their own peril. The floodgates are open. Anything goes.”
AJR believes the Woods scandal constitutes a watershed in U.S. journalism, where "respectable" outlets ditched "traditional news gathering methods and standards of fair play" to piggyback "on the aggressive but now always accurate tabloid reporting."
Mainstream outlets believe they may be "quickly left behind, unless they, too, report what's already “out there,” even if it turns out to be wrong." The tabs rightfully complain of being "ripped off" by mainstream free-loaders. The tabs invest time and money in chasing down scandals and then are lost in the mix when Big Foot media enters the fray.
AJR notes the Woods coverage also reflects the "hyper-competitive news environment that places a value on speed rather than accuracy or reliability."
That's why guys like Sitrick, Dezenhall and yes, Seitel, come in handy.