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John Edwards smeared for accepting fees at speaking engagement

Reported by Chrish - May 23, 2007 -

Following in the big clown-shoe footsteps of Fox and Friends this morning, the so-called Big Story filed a hit-piece on John Edwards over his continued employment. Substitute host Jon Scott had San Francisco Chronicle blogger Carla Marinucci, who "broke" the story, as the sole guest today to discuss Democrat Edwards earning a fee for speaking on poverty issues at UC-Davis last year. Typically, salient facts were not included and the two worked at creating a storyline along the lines of "Al Gore invented the Internet."

Even though he never really said that, the "perception" (propaganda) was that he exaggerated and played loose with the facts - even though it was the media who did that, and created the storyline. Marinucci is complicit in creating a similar storyline for John Edwards, fomenting resentment in FOX viewers and portraying him as a hypocrite.

The faux Big Story from Marinucci's blog post goes that Edwards received a "whopping" $55,000 fee for speaking at Mondavis Center last January (2006, before he declared for president). Her opinion seems to be that because he is already wealthy, he should have done the speech gratis. She itemized all his college and university engagements in 2006 and noted that this one netted him the highest fee.

She calculated the average price of a ticket to the event, $31, without noting that student ticket prices started at $17.50. Hey, if a kid has the disposable income and wants to spend it there, good for her! And as was noted in the California Aggie before the date, " Demand is high for tickets, which are available at the Mondavi Center box office or at MondaviArts.org. Student prices begin at $17.50."

This little hit job and all it insinuated was sufficient to get her invited onto FOX's biggest tabloid news show, where she coyly feigned concern for Edwards getting a reputation as a hypocrite. because he is a wealthy American and continues to generate income yet speaks out on the issue of poverty in America.

Before we go any further, let's define hypocrite (or rather, let M-W.com do it):
1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

John Edwards is neither. His stated beliefs are that everyone should have a shot at an education and the American dream, as he did. He and his wife donate plenty to charities while they provide a comfortable and secure future for their family. According to the Associated Press, the Edwards family donated more than $350,000 to charity, including the International Rescue Committee and Habitat for Humanity. Edwards also received $333,334 in royalties for his book "Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives, " which money was donated to charity.

What was conspicuously missing from the "report" was the dissection of Republican Rudy Giuliani's finances, also related in the AP articles and elsewhere. Media Matters has a comparison of the two candidates here, and also notes "Giuliani's speaking fees are considerably higher, and he charged a state school far more than Edwards did."

Comment: The whole premise is ridiculous, stupid, even. They are pushing the idea that because Edwards is wealthy, he should not charge for his services. He doesn't have to, but it is his right to and to question him alone for continuing to accumulate wealth while ignoring the Bushes and the Cheneys and the Giulianis and the Romneys etc. etc. etc.) is pure partisanship. They are trying to push the meme that because the subject of his concern is poverty in America, it is hypocritical of him to take money for his work at educating and motivating audiences.

If Edwards was going around advocating in favor of poverty, saying we should all strive for it and live simple, non-material lives as he lived the good life, THEN he would be a hypocrite. But what he does is advocate success and tries to show people how to achieve it, as he did. The real hypocrites are at FOX.