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Fake Story

What planet are these people from? I'm talking about the people who have a problem with John Edwards's continued candidacy.

Mrs Edwards's health has been a prime topic of discussion for the past few days among American debating whether Mr Edwards, who is seeking the Democratic nomination, should continue to pursue his political ambitions. Some critics have suggested that he might try to exploit her condition to win votes.

That's Patrick McGeehan, a Times reporter whose byline I don't recall seeing before. I don't know whether I'm angrier with him or with his editors. This "debate," these suggestions about exploitation - who is having this conversation? Nobody I know, that's for sure.

What we have here is yet another instance of No Right Answer. Faced with a partner's catastrophic illness, some people throw themselves into their professional lives with redoubled vigor. Others retire. Neither course is inherently praiseworthy, and neither can be called "selfish." Different people create different relationships between home and work. This isn't to say that some people put work ahead of relationships. Rather, some people bring work home, while others don't. For some couples, particularly high-achieving ones, careers are part of the marriage itself, not distractions from it. The Edwardses would appear to have such a marriage.

If there's No Right Answer, there's No Wrong answer, either.

The Edwards story reeks of media manipulation, and if the Times is going to take it up at all, that is what it ought to be covering.


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