Friday, February 09, 2007

John Edwards, Fair Shakes, and Blogging News

The Edwards campaign has
decided to keep two bloggers on the payroll despite some uproar over past comments they posted on their respective personal blogs:
The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte's and Melissa McEwan's posts personally offended me. It's not how I talk to people, and it's not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it's intended as satire, humor, or anything else. But I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake. I've talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word. We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in.
It must have been a tough call for the Edwards people trying figure out the next step in this resonating non-story. Do we fire these two women and risk alienating the "passionate" people out there in the blogosphere (for whom we inexpertly hired these two ladies in the first place)? Or do we keep them in place and hedge our bets that the story fades fast and we keep the internet constituency appeased?

Edwards chose the latter course of action, albeit with a day or two of intense handwringing, no doubt. Time will tell whether this was a shrewd move; news releases from some religious organizations indicate this non-story might have a little gas left, though.

UPDATE: Ann Althouse offers similar sentiments on her blog:

I'm glad, for the sake of blogging, that Edwards made this decision. I truly worried -- I'm still worried -- about how this incident would -- will -- affect the employability of bloggers and motivate them to censor themselves. (I say "them," not "us," because I'm beyond the point in my career where such things affect me.) Edwards faced serious damage whichever decision he made, so it remains to be seen how reluctant candidates will be to hire bloggers. As one commenter pointed out on yesterday's post about the Edwards bloggers, there's no really good reason why a candidate needs to hire a blogger to deal with the bloggers. Anyone thinking of hiring a blogger as a liaison to bloggers will now check much more carefully, and there will be some worrisome things on everyone's blog. On the up side, this incident shows how much harm bloggers can do, so the candidates are on notice that they need to hire blogger wranglers.
UPDATE II: A decent wrap up from ABCNEWS.COM:

The controversy, including Edwards' decision not to fire the bloggers, provides great insight into his campaign. The decision shows just how far he will go to court the far-left activists in the party. So far, in fact, that he has just, in effect, gone on record saying he believes Marcotte's comments on the Immaculate Conception could possibly be construed as something other than denigrating someone's religion, which begs the question, just exactly what kind of statement does Edwards think it would take to denigrate a religion?

It also reveals a lot about Edwards' judgment in general. Bryan Preston wrote, "if they truly never meant to malign anyone's faith, as Edwards says, Marcotte and McEwan are two of the most incompetent writers on the planet. Or they lied to him and he bought it whole."

In my opinion, Edwards failed this first big test of the campaign, from the failure to vet the bloggers to the strained statement he released defending his decision to keep them on the payroll.


Minor Ripper said...

Edwards is shedding the softie,breck girl image's video proof:

Bob W. said...

Pretty funny clip, ripper!

Tiger said...

Those two Bloggers must have just come from a meeting of the "Liberal Church of Tolerance"!

Bob W. said...

You said it, Tiger!

sexy said...