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John Edwards and Journalism 101

Former senator John Edwards gave a speech in Des Moines today calling for greater responsibility in corporate America, including limits on executive pay and increased shareholders' rights.

It's a safe bet that no one from the UNC-Chapel Hill journalism school was covering the event in person: a professor from the program said that the Edwards' campaign attempted to scuttle a student's video report about the Edwards campaign headquarters. According to the News & Observer, professor C.A. Tuggle ("Dr. T to his students" per his web site) said the campaign threatened to cut off access for UNC student reporters and other student groups if the piece aired on the student-run television program "Carolina Week." The campaign also asked for the video to be removed from YouTube, Tuggle said.

The campaign told the News & Observer that the incident was "silly," but did not comment specifically on the student's report. "We love all reporters, the problem is the feeling isn't always mutual," Edwards spokeswoman Colleen Murray said.

The video--which is posted on YouTube, despite whatever objections the campaign may have raised--shows eager volunteers making calls at the former senator's campaign headquarters in the Southern Village area of Chapel Hill. The campaign volunteer being profiled in the story notes that the Chapel Hill base shows Edwards is not an old Washington insider and is in fact the candidate for the average person.

But the reporter then cuts to a shot of a woman and young child walking leisurely across a street. The woman sips a cup of what is likely Starbucks coffee, signaling to the viewer what the reporter makes explicit: "Southern Village isn't really for everyone." It's a Starbucks-purveying affluent area. So what kind of America is John Edwards working for, if he sets up his own headquarters here? That's the question the reporter goes on to explore and what the Edwards campaign, at least according to Dr. T, doesn't want her to be asking.

By Washington Post editors  |  October 26, 2007; 5:21 PM ET
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John Edwards most likely chose the office location on the businesslike basis of easy commuting and convenience to staff. If your staff works long hours, you don't want them tied up in traffic. With regards to his interest in poverty, John Edwards directs attention to a problem most people would just as soon sweep under a rug. He brings a much needed can-do attitude. But he does not need to live and work in a log cabin to make his point. (I think that the height in duplicity is George W. Bush building an energy efficient ranch for the Presidential campaign yet doing nothing about global warming and doing everything the energy lobby wants.)

Posted by: CyberCitizen | November 15, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards is the man! He is the best candidate for President of the good ol' US of A!

Posted by: vjg75235 | October 29, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

JOhn Edwards deserves more serious coverage! He is speaking directly to issues and is winning all of the straw polls in Southern California. The corporate elites refuse to cover his campaign surge and you wonder why you loose readership and people turn to alternative news searching?

Posted by: paintergal | October 29, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Coles, corporations have rights, it's true, but they also have responsibilities that aren't always fully met. Don't you believe that the well-being of individual voters should come before the well-being of corporate special interest entities who don't fully disclose their activities? I hope you do. That is what John Edwards stands for. Also, please cite what "junk science" you are referring to when you make such strong accusations. Voters want to know if it is true or if you are just attempting to fabricate some kind of slur campaign. As far as Starbucks and Southern Village, is this at all relevant to the presidential campaign? Sounds more like "Non-Journalism 101".

Posted by: ttj1 | October 29, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I went to UNC and I know Southern Village. We used to call it "the communist village" because it is a very strange place. It's straight out of an idlyic 50's sitcom.

Bill Clinton had to move his office from a posh part of NYC to Harlem, so this not new. Edwards could have chosen Carrboro or Durham to have his office.

I don't see anything wrong with this piece, nor do I think the hot blonde student represents a main stream media conspiracy. Get a life people and stop threatening students!

Posted by: washpo | October 27, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

WaPo does it again, what a surprise. Edwards makes two huge policy addresses this week and all we get is this lightweight hit piece of fluff. I am sure GOP or Clinton sanctioned. If you have a beef with Edwards make it on something substantive not this crap. BTW Edwards lives in Chapel Hill is it so unusual to have your headquarters near where you live? I personally would like to know the political affiliations of above said student and professor..
John Edwards 2008 "The Peoples President" returning the government back to "We the People"

Posted by: asher13 | October 27, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Good grief. this is the most ridiculous coverage yet. Edwards makes a major speech today and we get this?

Posted by: pmorlan1 | October 26, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Having an office in a somewhat affluent are means nothing. I think that the campaign had reason to not want this video airing since people would make false assumptions that would hurt the campaign and quite frankly it seems almost libelous (it isn't, but still). Also, as one person noted earlier, there is no Starbucks in this particular neighborhood. I mean, what do you expect? For every candidate locate their office in a slum? I mean, many neighborhoods that have a Starbucks in them aren't exactly that wealthy...

Posted by: tnearing | October 26, 2007 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Do we remember how he made his money? Lawsuits based on junk science. U.S. Capitalism refers to an economic system in which the means of production are all owned and operated for profit, and in which investments, distribution, income, production and pricing of goods and services are determined through the operation of a market economy. It is the right of individuals and groups of individuals acting as "legal persons" or corporations to trade capital goods, labor, land and money (see finance and credit). See

Posted by: DrColes | October 26, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Edwards IS the best candidate for the people.

That is why the corporate media will so everything they can to highlight anything that detracts from him.

Americans are being told that Hillary is "inevitable." Where is out democracy? No one will vote for even the primaries for 2 1/2 months, and already are being told that the decision is already made.

Edwards will win Iowa. Then the game will be on.

Posted by: river845 | October 26, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I guess it would be too much to ask that you check and note that there is no starbucks in southern village.

That is an active imagination you're using.

Posted by: daniel.siler | October 26, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

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