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February 07, 2007

Stuff About Marcotte/Bloggers
Update: Marcotte & McEwan Both Fired
Update From Ellis Ellers Ellensberg: Edwards Camp Denies, Claims They Have Not Yet Come To Any Decision

Update: Marcotte and McEwan Both Fired By Edwards Campaign. Via Salon:

he right-wing blogosphere has gotten its scalps -- John Edwards has fired the two controversial bloggers he recently hired to do liberal blogger outreach, Salon has learned.

The bloggers, Amanda Marcotte, formerly of Pandagon, and Melissa McEwan, of Shakespeare's Sister, had come under fire from right-wing bloggers for statements they had previously made on their respective blogs. A statement by the Catholic League's Bill Donohue, which called Marcotte and McEwan "anti-Catholic vulgar trash-talking bigots," and an accompanying article on the controversy in the New York Times this morning, put extra pressure on the campaign.

Speculation from sources that the two bloggers might be rehired was bolstered by Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for the Edwards campaign, who said in an e-mail that she would "caution [Salon] against reporting that they have been fired. We will have something to say later."


Leading the charge against Marcotte -- and to a lesser extent McEwan -- have been bloggers like the National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez and Michelle Malkin. Malkin originally accused Marcotte of trying to scrub Pandagon's archives of material that could be embarrassing to the Edwards campaign. When that proved untrue, Malkin posted a correction, but said that the fact that she had been wrong was "even worse for the Edwards campaign" because "its blogmaster left crackpot posts like that one up and hired her anyway."

Thanks to, um, "swingin' dick," who presumably is a guy named Richard who enjoys 40's music.

Hot Air has more, including other bloggers not particularly looking forward to the same scrutiny, should they apply for a job with a legitimate outfit.

Allah notes, rightly, that there's hardly any percentage in rightwingers worrying about Marcotte, because whatever she got, we'd get a thousand times worse, no matter what the outcome might have been.

In fact, we'd get it so bad, from the left of the blogosphere and the MSM, that most campaigns wouldn't even bother. Safer to just make someone on your staff your campaign blogger -- no paper trail.

Or someone painfully boring, like Jon Henke. (I keed.)


I apologize if this bores you. There is blogging and then there is blogging about blogging and bloggers, and a lot of people are turned off by the latter. Still, this is now in the MSM, so here we go.

ABC's left leaning reporter Terry Moran: Does the Edwards campaign endorse hate speech?"

A bit of a tempest is brewing over the strident and profanity-laced writings of John Edwards' official campaign "blogmaster," Amanda Marcotte. She joined the Edwards campaign last week, and she's already gotten a lot of attention.

At issue are Marcotte's comments on her own blog, Pandagon (, which has staked out a prominent place in the left-wing blogosphere. It's pretty strong stuff; her comments about other people's faiths could well be construed as hate speech.

Edwards Questions: What, if anything, does it tell us about Edwards that he's joined up with this blogger? Is Edwards' association with a person who has written these things a legitimate issue for voters, as they wonder--among other things--whom he might appoint to high office if he's elected? If a Republican candidate teamed up with a right-wing blogger who spewed this kind of venom, how would people react? Is the mere raising of this issue a kind of underhanded censorship, a way of ruling out of bounds some kinds of opinion? Are we all just going to have to get used to a more rough-and-tumble, profane, and even hate-filled public arena in the age of the blogosphere?


Last year, Marcotte blasted the Catholic Church's position on birth control: "Q: What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit? A: You’d have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology." (Side note: Would there be a different reaction if John Edwards "blogmaster" had insulted Islam to this degree? Is it "okay" to trash Catholicism--but not Islam?)

That's about the size of it. Whether Marcotte stays or goes, Edwards will be entirely undamaged by any of this. The media doesn't mind such animosity directed against Christianity (an animosity they share in spades), though, of course, here Moran pretends to be at least curious about this phenomenon.

On the other hand, any right-wing blogger who's said anything negative about a religion whose more violent, xenophobic, and barbaric teachings animate our enemies in the current global war is simply too radioactive for any Republican candidate to even consider hiring. It gets into the left's oddly-inverted worldview: It's wrong to denigrate the nation's enemies, but it's acceptable -- nay, one's very duty -- to demean one's own countrymen as if they were in fact enemies in a hot war.

Beyond the jump, some stupidity from Gleen.

Now of course Gleen can't stay out of an intrablog scrum. Still, this is absurd even by his low standards. In case you've forgotten the sort of hateful anti-Christian crap Marcotte has written, you can refresh your memory with the quotes at the end of Moran's article. This weak tea is what Gleen comes up with in response:

Let's begin with Patrick Hynes, the paid consultant for John McCain's presidential campaign....

Immediately after the 2006 midterm elections, Hynes posted a photograph of Henry Waxman and said: "But a dude with a mug like this guy has really needs a nickname. Something that’ll stick. Nothing too clever comes to mind right away. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the 'Comments' thread."

Hynes entered his own Waxman contest by adding an "update" to his post -- a You Tube clip from Seinfeld in which the word "Pig Man" is mentioned five times in roughly 10 seconds. Most of the other entries for Waxman's nickname on Hynes' blog centered around what Hynes' readers apparently think is Waxman's big nose, though some were just more commonplace profanity. Here were the first four entries: "Nosferatu!" "NOSEGAY." "The Nose Knows." "Henry ‘Nostrils’ Waxman." Those were followed by: "How bout 'Asshole'?" "Prick?" "His face frightens children and repulses women."

After the first set of vulgar and insulting comments, a commenter objected that Hynes' behavior was "juvenile" and, in response, Hynes egged on his readers more: "C'mon. You guys have given us six years of “smirking chimp.' Let us have a little fun." That's a great contest McCain's consultant is running. Does McCain countenance his consultant's calling Henry Waxman "pig man" and encouraging his readers to mock the size of Waxman's big nose (a standard, highly offensive stereotype) and to spray vulgarities at Waxman?

Oh, please. Knocking on someone's looks is juvenile and petty (not that that's stopped me), but Waxman does look like a pig, and you'd have to be blind not to notice it. From this unavoidable unflattering comparison, Gleen manages to glean a narrative of... anti-semitism.

Sure. As Freud meant to say, "Sometimes a pig-nose is just a pig-nose."

He also whines that Hynes has posted a lot of anti-Mormon stories, but, ummm... well, he fails to mention that posting anti-Mormon stories was all the rage on the left at the same time, and they were quite a bit more vicious than Hynes has been. Plus, let's face it -- while I find that somewhat odious, Hynes is doing on McCain's dime. So that's not really an example of a blogger's deep religious bigotry being ignored or covered up by a campaign. It's really just an example of a candidate wanting his employees to push dirt about his rivals.

So if you're going to whine about it (and, actually, I think some whining is appropriate): take it up with St. John McCain, not his employee Patrick Hynes.

A correspondent writes to say that all of this is going to end up being used against rightwing bloggers -- and, as the Great Pig-Man Outrage demonstrates, the bar for what's offensively unacceptable will be set quite a bit lower for those on the right.

This is a weird issue for me, as my partisan instincts compel me to attack the useless and untalented Marcotte, but my mercenary instincts root for her to weather this storm. Obviously, I (and a lot of bloggers, right, left, and center) have a vested personal interest in the proposition that someone can write over the top, profane, and sometimes offensive posts and yet not be denied all opportunities to find steady work, whether in the media or on a political campaign. Just disclosing the obvious personal agenda here; not suggesting that I'm right. (And it's more of a theoretical agenda for me anyway, since I know I'm radioactive.)

On one hand, it does demonstrate that Edwards excuses the excesses of the hard left, and perhaps can now be considered a fellow traveller. On the other hand, despise her though I might, I think it's cool that bloggers are being hired by political campaigns.

Still, it should be said that most rightwing bloggers are in fact and awful lot more circumspect than Marcotte, or me. There are hundreds of rightwing bloggers with fairly clean blog rap sheets. Is it the case that there simply aren't any leftwing bloggers who can make similar claims? If there are a lot of talented leftwingers who manage to post without larding their writings up with anti-Christian bigotry, why on earth couldn't Edwards have hired one of them?

I don't think there are many leftwing bloggers who aren't consumed by hatred, and so Edwards had only the pick of a bad lot. Interesting, that.

digg this
posted by Ace at 03:17 PM

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