The Latest Edwards Pseudo-scandal

by TNR Staff | February 7, 2007

A quick recap for anyone who hasn't been following this story: John Edwards recently hired two liberal bloggers--Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon and Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare's Sister--to blog for his campaign. Conservatives on the internet dredged up some inflammatory things Marcotte had written in the past, and did their best to act offended and cause a ruckus. (They also managed a few distortions and a bit of misogyny, which is par for the course.) Along the way, Michelle Malkin managed to embarrass the entire human race.

Now, I'm a big fan of both Pandagon and Shakespeare's Sister, although both of them do say a lot of incendiary things, and it does seem valid for people to judge John Edwards based on the people he hires. They reflect on him and his abilities as a manager, just as the hatchet men that John McCain has hired reflects on him. That said, however, it was a bit rich to read the AP's take on this pseudo-controversy. The headline reads: "CATHOLICS SLAM BLOGGERS HIRED BY EDWARDS." Wow, all Catholics? Many Catholics? No, here's the actual story:

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.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, demanded that Edwards fire Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan.

"John Edwards is a decent man who has had his campaign tarnished by two anti-Catholic, vulgar, trash-talking bigots," Donohue wrote in a statement. "He has no choice but to fire them immediately."

Bill Donahue, of course, doesn't speak for "Catholics". His group is something of a fringe organization. And I'm curious to know why the same guy who goes on TV to talk about the "gay death style" and explain that many in "Hollywood" would happily "sodomize their own mother" is allowed to call other people "bigots" and earn a sympathetic headline for his troubles. If the AP (and the New York Times, for that matter) wanted to report this story, why not actually report it, rather than simply rewrite a Donohue press release and give it wider play?

--Bradford Plumer

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