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Wednesday afternoon John and Elizabeth Edwards let it be known they would have a press conference on Thursday, noon on the east coast. All morning CNN has speculated wildly about what the conference would be about. Cancer of course, but we were treated to old clips of Elizabeth talking to a CNN host about the death of her son, to Candy Crowly talking about what the suspected announcement would mean about the presidential campaign. On and on it went.

At least two on-line sources were headlining: Edwards to Quit Race!

The conference blessedly came. The Edwards appeared. Smiling. Their announcement was in fact that Elizabeth had a reoccurrence of cancer, but that it is is a rib, not in soft tissue, that they feel confident that it will be managed and that John will go on with his campaign and that Elizabeth will usually join him.

Now I have no idea of how right their future prognostications are. Optimism is one of their trusted tools and they employed it this morning.

What’s bugging me is news time spent in endless speculation, much of it turning out to be wrong, all of it building the growing consensus that nothing is important but noise; the rightness or wrongness –of interpretation or prediction– will be forgotten so soon it is not worth fussing over. Say anything at all, just say it with a loud and positive voice, enough to hold wandering attention long enough for the next ad. Alzheimers is a national condition and is depended on to keep the ratings high.

At least Ben Smith at politico.com had the decency to apologize for his bad call. I hope he re-evaluates what constitutes a “trusted source,” and remembers that you don’t have a story until confirmed by more than one. [More mea culpa here. If only the NY Times would do as well.]

Bob Geiger has a nice run
of other Prez Candidates’ reaction to the Edwards’ news.