Media's Hidden Anti-Furniture Store Bias

Skewed Edwards coverage shows they'd rather just write about sex

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Nobody seems to care much about furniture store openings -- unless they're related to adulterous former presidential candidates and their long-suffering wives.

    Elizabeth Edwards opened a furniture store this weekend and all anybody could talk about was her stupid husband's stupid affair.

    This event highlights a great shortcoming in modern reporting. You get a perfectly respectable news story, such as a person opening up a store of some sort, and instead of just delivering the facts the reporter attempts to tie the new development to some old chewed-over bit of gossipy trash just to sex it up a little.

    Thus, this weekend's story is not "North Carolinian woman opens furniture store in North Carolina." It is "John Edwards, former presidential candidate who cheated on his cancer-stricken wife with a trashy videographer and may have ended up fathering another grandchild of a millworker, stood around while his his long-suffering wife (who still has cancer) opened up a furniture store and the store has furniture in it for sale, presumably."

    Look at this sad AP story, which devotes equal coverage to Mrs. Edwards' store and Mr. Edwards' exploits. Or this local news story, which segues abruptly from a brief quote about Elizabeth's retail ambitions to the full rehash of John's life as a cad:

    [...] "I thought I'd like to eventually have a furniture store,” she said.
    John Edwards also attended the store opening.
    It was the first time the couple has been seen together publicly since sources told WRAL News that they expect John Edwards to announce he is the father of his former mistress' child.
    John Edwards confessed last August to having an affair with Rielle Hunter, who served as a videographer on Edwards' 2008 campaign. He has denied fathering her daughter, saying his relationship with Hunter ended before the child was conceived. ...

    Ugh, icky!

    So, because all of the "real" journalists are too busy typing out drooly recapitulations of John Edwards' philandering, here's a quick, servicey run-down on this new store. It's called Red Window, and it's located in Chapel Hill. It offers "North Carolina furnishings at wholesale prices," as well as "folk art, lighting and accessories."

    That wasn't so hard, was it?

    Nobody in the media would have bothered to write about this store opening at all if there were not a famous person associated with it. This says as much about our national anti-furniture store bias as it does our obsession with celebrity adulterers. How many compelling furniture store-opening stories get buried and forgotten every day because there's no sex angle to it? Countless ones, undoubtedly!

    This is why, if John Edwards actually had an altruistic bone in his body, he would travel to every scheduled furniture store opening in America in the months ahead. It is the only way he can raise awareness on this vital topic. And to refrain from doing so would be to admit, however tacitly, that he is exactly the type of shallow womanizer who would rather engage in his own selfish pursuits than help a furniture store or two.

    Retail consultant Sara K. Smith writes for NBC and Wonkette.