Free the John Edwards two!
The New York Times political blog "The Caucus" and editor Kate Phillips seemed to sympathize with two bloggers, Andrea Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, who recently quit the John Edwards for president campaign after coming under fire for bigoted, irresponsible, and vulgar statements they'd written on their own blogs in the past.
Marcotte quit Monday night after coming under fire for her incendiary and vulgar postings on the Catholic Church, and last night Melissa McEwan, who once blogged against Bush's "wingnut Christofascist base," followed her out the door.
"Melissa McEwan, a blogger at Shakespeare's Sister, who came under fire from a conservative Catholic group, along with Amanda Marcotte, of Pandagon, once both were hired onto John Edwards's presidential campaign staff, has also decided to quit.
"Her statement on her blog is a little different, citing the onslaught of, well, she might see it as hate-mail or worse, descending into her email and onto the blog against her. We've seen much of it deluging our own website. Civility, we would once again mention, seems a lost concept, no matter whose set of beliefs are held dear, or whose writings are found objectionable. (We are in no way taking sides, just offering up, yet again, the observation that the online conversation has devolved into truly abhorrent language.)"
Speaking of "truly abhorrent language," has Phillips read any of the posts by Marcotte and McEwan? Here's one, in the form of a joke:
"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."
Phillips benignly calledsuch offensive rants "feminist writings."
"Well, both women - whose feminist writings were deemed anti-Catholic by Mr. Donohue and at times offensive by others and many not - at first allowed Mr. Edwards's campaign to publish statements by them saying their personal views or past writings would not color their work on the campaign. And they both asserted they were not denigrating any faith or any person of faith."
That's ridiculous, and Phillips should have enough journalistic chops to say so. How can the above "joke" from Marcotte's personal blog be interpreted any other way but as denigrating faith?
Phillips put the blame on conservative bloggers for having the bad manners to make a fuss: "That didn't stop conservative bloggers from flogging the issue. And that didn't stop bloggers on all sides from posturing on one side or the other. And it didn't stop even our readers from objecting on one side or the other, sometimes to the point where we couldn't publish their obscene remarks." Is obscenity the reason the Caucus blog won't reprint the offensive anti-religious comments from Marcotte and McEwan?
In conclusion, Phillips plays the female card: "The epilogue to this? I'm not sure. Some will indeed claim victory; some will counsel that political campaigns have to vet and vet and vet any staff; others will feel doomed in defeat of what was seen as an arm around new - especially rare female - voices in the blogosphere by politicians."