January 31, 2008

The Edwards Exhibit


(click for full size)

(BNN contributer Alan Chin is in N.O. this week, and may be sending us some images of the last day of the Edwards campaign.  In the meantime, I wanted to return to the beginning.)

From the first day he entered the presidential race, the NYT treated Edwards like a phony.

In this headline, “Exhibit A” can be read two different ways.  More objectively, it describes Edwards’ use of New Orleans as an example of what is wrong with our country and our political values.  Because of the dubious tone of the article, however — packaged with another one slapped on the end of it reporting how Edwards had just sold his Georgetown house for $5.2 million — there is another, less friendly read here.  In this light, the city of New Orleans, and particularly, this group of kids behind him, serve as an exhibit for Edwards.

Of course, Edwards’ announcement — the candidate in jeans, against the backdrop of the Lower Ninth Ward — did employ political theatre.  That a lot of people — including The Times — however, would interpret this as an exploitation of New Orleans, or a manipulation of the poverty issue, or  a fake show of compassion (which is what was hinted at in article after article, and surely played a large role in undermining the candidacy) is incredibly cynical.

I’m not putting forth the argument, by the way, that Edwards was a perfect messenger.  But I am curious to see now — without Edwards to address it — how much America’s decaying corners continue to merit any form of exhibit.

New Orleans Is Exhibit A as Edwards Opens His Presidential Campaign (12/29/06 – NYT)

Abruptly, Edwards Ends His White House Bid (NYT – notice the comment about the three “H’s.”)

Update From Breck World (or: Who’s Wearing John’s Pants?) (BNN)

Taking Aim At Edwards (BNN)

The NYT’s Edwards Clip Job (BNN)

(image: Amanda McCoy/Getty Images.  December, 2006.  New Orleans. nytimes.com)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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