Everybody’s favorite Rielle Hunter source, Pigeon O’Brien, tells her story in the Huffington Post. I learned some things: 1) A lot more people were investigating the Edwards/Hunter sex scandal than I’d thought. It wasn’t just the National Enquirer and Sam Stein of HuffPo. Other campaigns and other publications were calling O’Brien for confirmation. Which raises the question: 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? 2) After Edwards’ first semi-confession, when he swore he couldn’t be the father of Rielle Hunter’s child, MSM reporters took his side with O’Brien:
Rielle was flown out of the country and Edwards “confessed” on television (the first confession, the one in which he denied he was Quinn’s father) but included a troubling aside that he’d been with her at the hotel late at night because of her “troubles.” The press leaped on this and my phone rang all night: She’s blackmailing him for Andrew Young’s baby! Appalled, I spoke out and was told again and again, off camera, “Why do you defend her? Edwards says she’s a slut. Who knows whose baby that is?”
Maybe they were just playing devil’s advocate. Or maybe they really, really wanted the story to go away. 3) Have Edwards and/or his aides gotten enough opprobrium for peddling the ‘she’s a slut’ line? 4) The whole scandal was set in motion by a blind item in the NY Post. O’Brien was not the source for that item. 5) HuffPo‘s Stein also played a crucial role breaking the story with an ingenious, innuendo-drenched piece about Hunter’s videos. For this he was pilloried by HuffPo commenters.
In Huffington Post comments people were calling for Sam’s dismissal. I still don’t know whether this was a deliberate use of anonymous vox populi or was the Edwards Effect, a reluctance to criticize the star. It was nearly unanimous and it nearly worked.
P.S.: O’Brien makes it clear that Hunter has some kind of unreported charismatic power, but doesn’t quite explain what Edwards saw in her that would prompt him to put his campaign (and party) at risk. … O’Brien doesn’t really try to explain Elizabeth Edwards’ decision to go ahead with the campaign, except to note that, at least initially, it was a success:
Swinging around the one-year mark of their affair, the Edwards myth in the media focused more on family and, increasingly, wife. I could see a private battle being fought between wife and mistress. The wife was clearly winning, owning the narrative of happy couple and having the country’s microphone. It was a dangerous strategy, going exactly against what was actually happening. I knew that Elizabeth knew. Instead of reeling her husband in, smartening him up and zipping his pants, instead of getting him to respect the trust of every supporter and voter depending on him, she went, with homey interviews about her marriage, woman-to-woman at Rielle. Look out, I thought.
Read the whole thing. But don’t show it to Aaron Sorkin, who is scheduled to write and direct a big John Edwards movie. O’Brien is a good source because she tells the truth. Sorkin can’t handle … no, that would be a cheap shot. But, judging from his Facebook movie, Sorkin doesn’t want to write the truth because it’s boring it’s not about him he’d rather make his own points about the times in which he lives.