BOB GARFIELD: From WNYC in New York, this is NPR's On the Media. I'm Bob Garfield.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: And I'm Brooke Gladstone. The metaphor of the week was "last piece in the puzzle," and the piece in question was Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, newly-anointed contender for vice president on the Democratic ticket. Edwards was dubbed "Southern Comfort" by the Chicago Tribune and a "swing-state boost" in New York's Newsday. "Edwards is the yeast to help Kerry rise," said the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which claims to be a family newspaper. And in Tuesday's edition of ABC's online newsletter, The Note, this headline: "Happy Birthday, Mr. President. John Kerry Just Got You a Smooth-talking, Handsome, Charismatic, Rich Southern Trial Lawyer to Run Against!!!" "Let's be frank," noted The Note. "We The Media love John Edwards and we love John Kerry even more than before for picking him. And Emma Claire and Jack are really, really cute." [TAPE PLAYS]
MAN: Sunny, vigorous, boyish enthusiasm as a campaigner -- so he's going to get a friendly initial reception. He's already getting it. You see the results...
BOB GARFIELD: John Kerry's announcement this week was the gift that kept on giving. First, on Tuesday, when he divulged his choice in an email to supporters, and then to the world in Pennsylvania. [TAPE PLAYS]
JOHN KERRY: ...that with your help, the next vice president of the United States of America will be Senator John Edwards from North Carolina. [CROWD CHEERS]
BOB GARFIELD: Later that day, the first photo-op. [TAPE PLAYS]
WOMAN: ...together for the first time since the Democratic presidential ticket was formalized yesterday. The two seemed in very good spirits and seemed like old pals.
BOB GARFIELD: And Wednesday, in Ohio, the first rally. [TAPE PLAYS]
WOMAN: ...you see the Edwards' children in the background -- little Jack and Emma Claire are appearing as well with the candidates, and there is Elizabeth Edwards...
BOB GARFIELD: And though some in the media groused about the perpetual dog and pony show, on Thursday, they followed the political newlyweds right into New York City's Radio City Music Hall. [TAPE PLAYS]
JOHN KERRY: John and I -- even though he comes from the South and I come from the North -- we have a lot in common. John was picked as one of the People Magazine's sexiest politicians! [LAUGHTER] I read People Magazine. [LAUGHTER]
BOB GARFIELD: Second star on the right, and straight on till morning -- or, at least, Sunday night when they reach the media summit on CBS's 60 Minutes. So far, despite swipes at Edwards' inexperience and attempts to stigmatize him as a trial lawyer, the Republicans have failed to rain on their parade. Perhaps they wished for another target -- one less shiny. Perhaps they wished for-- Congressman Dick Gephardt. Certainly the New York Post did. Tuesday morning, it declared Gephardt the chosen one -- an embarrassment akin to the headline declaring Dewey the winner in 1948. The source of the scoop that wasn't, according to an unnamed Post employee quoted by the New York Times, was Rupert Murdoch, the staunch conservative whose company owns both the Post and the Fox networks. The employee said that Murdoch called his tip into the Post's news desk just after 10 on Monday night. The Post has flatly denied that.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: But one media outlet, hardly worthy of the name, did have the story as early as Monday. An airplane mechanic named Bryan Smith, a.k.a. "Aerosmith," noticed that John Edwards VP decals were being put on Kerry's plane in Pittsburgh and posted the news in a USAviation.com chat room, proving the power of bloggers to best not only the mainstream media, but even, potentially, the future vice president of the United States, who had not yet been informed. [MUSIC]