This is a question about balance, but it may sound insensitive: was Elizabeth Edwards' medical news worthy of a national press conference?
Early in the day The Politico, (which righteously tells all here) broke the story that a change in Mrs. Edwards'
The specter of something coming out of left field rightly put media outlets on "Stop the Presses" mode. But Edwards knew what the announcement would be -- sad, but not landscape-altering.health -- whatever it was -- would prompt her husband to abandon or at least suspend his presidential campaign. That's newsworthy because he is considered a serious contender for the Democratic nomination (although well behind Hillary and Obama, and in the same neighborhood as Al Gore, who is not running at all) and leads the polling in the Iowa caucuses where the first actual voting occurs, oh, years from now.
The specter of something coming out of left field rightly put all media outlets on "Stop the Presses" mode. But Edwards knew what the announcement was going to be -- sad, but not one which would alter any public landscape. Edwards didn't even raise the issue of what impact his wife's medical condition would have on his campaign, which must have caused some head-scratching in the pack. It was left to a reporter to ask the question, timidly, as if inquiring was impolite or rude.
The air could have easily be let out of this balloon. That might have cut interest in a mid-day news conference but such a consideration could not have accounted the the hours and hours that misinformation was allowed to circulate, right?