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Thursday, February 08, 2007

McIlheran Watch: The Edwards Blogger Kerfuffle

by folkbum

One GOP talking point this week is all about how John Edwards's presidential campaign hired a couple of--gasp!--bloggers, and those bloggers have a history of saying what they think. Well, of writing what they think. And publishing it for everyone to see. Patrick McIlheran, local Authorized GOP Talking Point distributor, lays it on thick:
Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) has hired a campaign blogmaster, just the thing for a candidate with young and hip hair. The background check missed something, though:

She’s got a real problem with Catholics.

Specifically, when Amanda Marcotte was writing on her own blog, Pandagon, about the church’s view of birth control, she started with a little joke that, in crude terms, involved the Virgin Mary, the Plan B contraceptive, a nasty description of the “holy spirit” and a reference to Catholic doctrine as an “ancient mythology” meant to justify misognyny.
P-Mac also noted Amanda's penchant for "vulgarity" and colorful intolerance of the anti-abortion postition. Those of us who have occasionally been reading Pandagon since the Jesse Taylor days, long before Amanda, are not surprised that anyone who blogs there is outspoken. Those of us who have been reading blogs since before, well, yesterday, are not surprised at the profanity. It's not something I do here, but, well, there is no list of seven words bloggers can't say. We can say them all, in any order or combination we want, should we choose to.

But it should also come as no surprise to you, gentle readers, that my problem isn't with the way McIlheran's delicate sensibilities have been offended by an outspoken advocate of her position. It's the way he's dumbly parroting the party line without considering the double standards, without recognizing the cognitive dissonance that must be overcome to complain about Amanda.

For example, among those leading the charge is the Catholic League's Bill Donohue; you might remember him as the one who famously said
Who really cares what Hollywood thinks? All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, okay?
And that, my friends, is the tip of the porverbial iceberg--just google Donohue, and you can learn all about his hateful speech--less profane, but no less offensive--against Jews and homosexuals (or see, yes, Pandagon for more). Yet Donohue gets to go on TV to represent Catholics everywhere while Amanda may get fired from her gig as a blogger. Go figure.

Moreover, McIlheran cites the National Review as his source; the online version recently featured this picture of Valerie Plame (of leaked CIA identity fame) on its site:
They say C-word is a reference to questions about Plame's covert status--I'll let you be the judge of that.

And why isn't McIlheran looking into the world of Republican presidential bloggers? Glenn Greenwald tells us all about John McCain's blogger, Patrick Hynes:
Hynes continuously blogged about political matters, including ones involving McCain and the GOP field, while concealing that he was on McCain's paid staff. That was not the first time Hynes has been caught using deceitful tricks to manipulate the blogosphere into writing content on behalf of his undisclosed clients.

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?
There's more if you, as they so often say, read the whole thing. When CNN asked McCain's campaign yesterday about Hynes's tactics, CNN was told that McCain was happy to have Hynes on board.

And what happens when purveyors of hate speech go to Washington? They get to meet with the president, of course.

All of this is left out of McIlheran's consideration of the case of Amdana Marcotte. (Much of it is even left out of the Time magazine story, though it seems they had room for many errors of fact.)

I'm not saying Patrick Hynes should be fired--any more than Amanda Marcotte should be fired--but I am saying that what she has written is certainly no worse than what he has, and if there's to be a drumbeat to purge inflamatory bloggers from presidential campaigns, or people who speak their minds from politics and punditry altogether--a purge McIlheran seems happy to be a part of--then let's do it without the double standards, shall we?

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