When Edwards appeared on Larry King Live, King noted on the air that he had agreed "out of consideration" not to defile CNN's air with the utterance of that miserable homewrecker's ludicrous name. Same with Matt Lauer on the Today Show. Neither man actually acknowledged that the name-blackout was a condition of the interview.
In NBC's case, Today Show executive producer Jim Bell absurdly told the Associated Press that Edwards' request was not a "demand," but rather a simple favor, and that if she had made it a condition of the interview, Today would have turned her down. Which makes sense how? Rielle Hunter's name was not mentioned during the interview. But if Edwards had demanded that rather than simply said pretty-please, they would have turned her down? NBC News didn't have any qualms last month promising—as a condition of the interview—not to ask Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano any follow-up questions about a controversial report on threats from right-wing extremists. In fact, NBC News' guidelines explicitly permit producers to strike such deals as long as they are disclosed to the viewer. So Bell's posturing and parsing rings hollow, maybe because he felt like a shill when he heard how the Associated Press responded to Edwards' request:
The Associated Press would not agree to the demand and was twice turned down for interviews with Edwards.
"It's simple," said Michael Oreskes, vice president and senior managing editor of the AP. "We don't let other people edit our wire."
Drake said Edwards's restriction isn't motivated by "anger" toward Hunter, but by a desire not to see Hunter profit from the affair.
Yes, it sure would be a shame if Rielle Hunter found a way to make some money off this, like maybe if there was a rich sugardaddy friend of John Edwards who paid her, I don't know, say $15,000 a month to keep her mouth shut? That would be awful.
As for how successful Edwards' no-name campaign has been, the AP's Oreskes called the request "puzzling considering that Hunter's name was in the news and had been widely distributed." But Google Trends suggests that after a spike on May 5, interest in Hunter's name has declined over the last week during Edwards' media tour. Interestingly, Google says the highest number of searches for Hunter's name are coming from Raleigh, N.C., which presumably includes nearby Chapel Hill, N.C., where Edwards lives and spends all day alone in the basement, Googling "Rielle Hunter" over and over again.