An interesting story has been brewing out of the John Edwards campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. He hired a couple of bloggers to run outreach to the liberal blogosphere. And their credentials were so good that it kind of backfired on him. Let's sample the blogging delicacy of new hire Amanda Marcotte, who writes at Pandagon:
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.
BlasphemousClassy, eh? Or how about this one?
Marcotte has a special passion against the Roman Catholic Church, and you can read more of her comments on Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran's blog (which is definitely worth checking out). So, needless to say, Roman Catholics and other Christians questioned Edwards' hiring abilities. Here's how the Associated Press wrote up the brewing storm:
Two bloggers hired recently by Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards were criticized Tuesday by a Catholic group for posts they had written elsewhere on the Internet.
. . . [Catholic League President Bill] Donohue cited posts that the women made on blogs in the past several months in which they criticized the pope and the church for its opposition to homosexuality, abortion and contraception, sometimes using profanity.
The AP report then quoted a remarkably mild blog post from Marcotte. I understand that family papers can't print more than a few successive words from Marcotte's questionable posts due to her vocabulary, but the whole reason that Roman Catholics are commenting on her hire is because of how dramatically offensive they deem the language.
Of course, the AP report is excellent compared to the one from The New York Times' John M. Broder. Here's how Broder begins:
Two bloggers hired by John Edwards to reach out to liberals in the online world have landed his presidential campaign in hot water for doing what bloggers do -- expressing their opinions in provocative and often crude language.
Oh, is that what bloggers do? And Edwards is in hot water solely because he hired bloggers? Way to spin the story! Edwards should hire Broder over the bloggers! Of course, I don't accept the contention that Marcotte is just a humble average blogger. But even among bloggers who use crude language, they're more at home on MySpace than a presidential campaign.
There are myriad respectable liberal bloggers out there, folks who don't have a personal vendetta against Christians. I know the mainstream media like to dismiss all bloggers as lunatics, but isn't it inappropriate to describe Marcotte as an average blogger?
Edwards is being criticized by conservatives and religious adherents and his hire is being defended by liberals, so it will be interesting to see how that affects what he chooses to do. Presumably he hired them because of their provocative blogging, so it would seem unfortunate if they were fired for the same reason. Salon has an unconfirmed report that the bloggers in question have been fired.
I'm sure that at the very least we can agree that this is a good lesson in support of cleaning up one's potty-mouth when hurling verbal assaults. And remembering that what happens on the Internet does not stay in Vegas.
Update: The women are keeping their jobs. We'll look at coverage of same if it's warranted.