Blog and the Right’s Fake Outrage
ever-growing intersection between bloggers and the politicians they blog
about hit a crescendo this past week, when revelations about two young
bloggers hired by a Democratic presidential candidate drew paroxysms of
began in mid-January, when the Edwards campaign announced it had hired
two prominent liberal bloggers, Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon.net and
of Shakespeare’s Sister, to run his presidential campaign blog. The
hiring made little news until last week, when William Donohue, head of
the Catholic League, decided to make a stink.
dossier distributed by Donohue’s group, and later added to by various
conservative bloggers, numerous “controversial” posts by Marcotte and
McEwan were unearthed which, among other things, criticized the Catholic
church, the Christian right and numerous other conservative sacred cows,
specifically their opposition to abortion, gay rights and birth control.
This led to
demands from the right that the bloggers be fired, as well as demands
from the increasingly messianic left-wing blogging community, which had
heretofore been in the candidate’s corner, that they would ditch Edwards
en masse, should he fire the bloggers.
who likely had nothing to do personally with the hirings and probably
wanted the whole thing to go away as soon as possible, split the
difference, issuing a statement that he was “personally offended” by the
blog posts, but that he would not fire Marcotte and McEwan, despite
early reports that they had, in fact, been let go (the two women
apologized as well). In all, the whole kerfuffle was only the second
most unjustly-hyped media story of last week, behind only the death of
Anna Nicole Smith.
As more and
more candidates are starting to hire well-known bloggers to run their
campaign blogs, this sort of thing is bound to start happening more and
more. It’s hard to run a blog for a period of years without something
controversial coming up from time to time - especially in a medium like
the blogosphere, in which controversy and extreme partisanship are
rewarded like few other things.
one has come out of this looking too good. The bloggers themselves had
embarrassing posts dredged up and, in Marcotte’s case, she went back and
changed them. The Edwards campaign appeared to not do due diligence on
who they hired, probably making more news with this than anything else
the campaign has done thus far.
political media, meanwhile, gave constant coverage to the minutiae of
the presidential campaign nearly two years ahead of time. The left-wing
bloggers, as is their wont, made the possible firing of two bloggers
into a fascist-level atrocity. And the right-wing activists and bloggers,
going nuts with mock outrage as usual, for some reason decided they all
of a sudden cared who a Democratic presidential candidate was employing
as low-level staffers.
worst of all was the Catholic League’s Donohue, who for years has been
at best a nuisance and at worst a menace to free speech and free
thought. His sorry operation, which he pretends speaks with one voice
for the nation’s entire Catholic population, sees “anti-Catholic
bigotry” everywhere. But his organization really has a lot more to do
with opposing liberalism in all its forms than anything to do with
also has his own lengthy paper trail of controversial comments, having
once attributed control of Hollywood to
"secular Jews who hate Christianity,” and referring to homosexuality as
“the gay death style.”
brings together all of the worst features of American politics,
combining the prudery and hatred of culture of the far right with the
identity politics and “offense”-based victimology of the far left, along
with the monstrous self-righteousness of both. In a just world, no
politician, movie producer, or talk show booker would ever acknowledge
Donohue except to tell him to sod off.
There is no
reason why political candidates shouldn’t hire bloggers to run their
campaign operations. But at the same time, there are really better
focuses for Americans’ outrage than who the minor staffers are for a
presidential candidate of the opposite party who they are unlikely to
ever support anyway.
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