Rielle Hunter, (left), John Edwards' former mistress,… (Phil Ellsworth )
Here's hoping that news of guilty verdicts in the Jerry Sandusky case took a huge bite out of the audience ABC's "20/20" expected for its hour-too-long interview with Rielle Hunter Friday night.
I say that because then ABC News will have gained nothing for debasing itself by giving an hour of prime time to this wretched woman so that she could sell more copies of her new book.
In fact, I am really hoping ABC News lost some credibility with viewers for sticking with this tabloid con job instead of breaking away at some point to cover the real news that the former Penn State coach was found guilty on 45 of 48 counts in connection with the sexual molestation of minors. That news started popping about 10 minutes into the sorry conversation with Hunter.
In terms of new information or perspective that could shine light on the scandal that ended John Edwards political career, ABC News got zip. Actually, it got less than zip. It got hustled by a continually smiling conwoman who explained every deplorable and horrible thing she did by saying, "I was in love... You do crazy things when you're in love."
Really, Rielle? Thank you so much for that. And did you come to that truth in the 9th or 10 grade? And how did you miss the part after that where you're supposed to grow up and act like a responsible person -- especially when there are children involved? Or, how about the part where we tell the truth?
The only thing she didn't explain away totally by being in love is taking the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of living expenses Edwards provided for her even before she was pregnant with his secret child. After again saying she was "in love," she added that she was raised in a "southern background," where "it's OK for a man to take care of a woman."
And interviewer Chris Cuomo just kept bopping along acting like these were real answers he was getting.
In fairness, Cuomo did ask some of the right questions. He asked her how she could still be so bedazzled and in love with Edwards after seeing him tell public lie after lie about their relationship and their child, denying love of the mother and paternity of the child.
Hunter's answer for that is that John Edwards was under the spell of his evil wife Elizabeth. Yes that Elizabeth, the woman who was dying of cancer while these two were spending their nights together talking about what band they were going to have play at their White House wedding.
Yes, it was all the fault of Elizabeth Edwards, who Hunter calls "hell on wheels" and characterizes as as monster who "used her cancer and her children as weapons" in a war with her husband.
And then, somehow in her head where two thoughts never have to be in synch with each other, she says she has no desire to "bash" Elizabeth Edwards and, in fact, has great "empathy and compassion" for her. If that's your idea of empathy and compassion, I know who I think should wear the monster collar.
Really, I'm typing this at midnight Friday, and I am getting depressed just looking at my notes on what Hunter said -- and ABC broadcast to millions.
I should have tuned out five minutes in when Hunter described herself as, "First of all, a mom... and a woman who fell in love with a married a man." At 10 minutes in when the first Sandusky verdict promises were flashing all over my iPhone, I should have completely bailed on this self-absorbed fool with her adolescent talk of what she wants to call love.
My takeaway: ABC News behaved shamelessly on so many levels in panting after this interview, handing over an hour of time and wrapping the final product in some of the most breathlessly brain-dead tabloid language ever heard on network TV.
Examples of that language and hype: "It was the biggest political sex scandal of the century." (In fairness, ABC News later walked it back to, "It was the biggest political sex scandal of a generation.") As for Hunter: "Perhaps, the most reviled woman in America."
I wonder who at ABC News suddenly got religion and thought they should add "perhaps" to the description. (I'm trying to be sarcastic.)
But, seriously, with all the fine journalists and editors at ABC News, I really do wonder how someone in the news division doesn't speak up and at least question this kind of sleazy programming.
Remember the old concept of "socially redeeming value"? Zip on that count as well for ABC News Friday night.
Oh well, here's hoping others viewers like me saw news of the Sandusky verdict on another screen while they were watching "20/20" rolling in the mud, and tuned Hunter out for an even bigger tabloid story Friday night -- leaving ABC News with only mud and no Nielsen glory for its shame.
American culture Friday night prime-time style, huh? Rielle v. Sandusky. Let's hear it for the U.S. of A.