New report on McCain affairs on the campaign trail shows the media’s uneven handling of sex and politics.
Frankly, for decades my view is that if someone wants to fool around on their spouse, it’s their business and we should all butt out. Even presidential candidates are entitled to a sliver of privacy. But we live in an age that craves mixing its puritanical attitude about sex with a voyeuristic demand for celebrity gossip: Don’t have sex but if you do, we want all the gory details.
So it’s not surprising that cable news outlets were obsessed on Thursday and Friday with a two year old story about John Edwards’ affair with a campaign staffer. It should have ended with Edwards’ heart-felt confession Friday night that he had, indeed, slept with Rielle Hunter, who directed video production for Edwards' political action committee. Sadly – but not surprisingly – the story lingered into the weekend with cable’s talking heads musing like the idiots they are, dithering over how the news would affect Obama’s candidacy.
Needless to say, given much of the media’s gentle handholding of John McCain, no major media outlet ever linked the Edwards story to John McCain’s long-time habit of sleeping around on his various wives. After all, he began an affair with Cindy while still married to his former wife; knowing his proclivities may explain why Cindy barely lets him out of her sight since he began running for president.
Even still, in February, new stories of his on-going philandering appeared when reports showed up in The New York Times and elsewhere about McCain sleeping around on Cindy with lobbyist-cum-campaign staffer Vicki Iserman.
Now, new information indicates that Iserman is not the only fling McCain has indulged in while married to Cindy, including at least one that he had since locking up the Republican nomination months ago.
“It happens when Cindy returns to Phoenix for a few days,” a well-placed former McCain campaign advisor told me by phone on Aug. 10. “I know for certain he spent at least two different nights with a 30-something campaign worker because I saw the Secret Service trying to hide the woman when she left McCain’s suite around five one morning and they hustled her back to her own room.”
The Secret Service said it does not comment on security arrangements.
But the man’s account is supported by at least one additional, knowledgeable person who confirmed the incident by e-mail.
“It’s the fighter pilot mentality,” this person wrote in explaining McCain’s attitude about sleeping around. “They think they’re invincible and can get away with anything.”
Both sources requested and were given promises of anonymity in exchange for being interviewed.
During reporting for this post, it was impossible to verify numerous other accounts of McCain’s one night stands over the past two years. Reportedly, some of the travelling press corps on the Straight Talk Express jet knew of at least two other incidents.
The point is why do journalists feel that the sexual peccadilloes of Democrats – Bill Clinton comes first to mind – are fair game are waiting for McCain to be caught with a prostitute before giving equal time to his romps between the sheets?
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