John Edwards and the mistress mystery

LAST UPDATED AT 10:00 ON Mon 28 Jul 2008

The mud being slung at the two-times Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards – last week the US scandal rag the National Enquirer claimed he had a mistress and a "secret love child" – appears to be beginning to stick. When the story originally broke no major news organisations deigned to follow it, although it was widely aired on political blogs such as the Drudge Report. However, at the weekend the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News claimed that it had "independently verified" details of the Enquirer's story.

Reporters from the supermarket tabloid had confronted Edwards, 55, at 2.40am on Tuesday July 22 in the corridors of the Beverly Hilton, as he was leaving the bedroom of Rielle Hunter, a divorcee whom he was rumoured to have made pregnant last year. Amid scenes more suited to a Benny Hill sketch than the corridors of a luxury hotel, two journalists and a photographer chased Edwards – whose wife Elizabeth is fighting incurable cancer – around the building for several minutes. He eventually hid himself in a men's lavatory for a quarter of an hour, before being escorted from the premises by security staff.

Although the Enquirer appeared to have a proper story (for once), most newspapers and major broadcasters refused to touch it. The editor of the Los Angeles Times went so far as to order staff "not to cover the rumours or salacious speculations" about Edwards, even though he is (or was) among leading contenders to be Barack Obama's running mate. The apparent blackout was broken by Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes at Fox, who ran a report that confirmed several major details of the Beverly Hilton incident, and asked: "Why were the reporters chasing Edwards, and why is this story nowhere in the mainstream media?" · 

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