Edwards Keeps Bloggers, Makes Them Apologize
The saga of John Edwards’ bloggers continues to unfold, having now passed into the realm of the absurd. Edwards has apparently decided to humiliate them but keep them on staff.
He has posted a Statement on Campaign Bloggers:
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.
So, he’s “personally offended” and thinks their language “intolerant,” even though he hired them after their having written the intolerant sort of thing that offends him for years?
Simultaneously at 11:23, both of the offending bloggers posted separate apologies. Marcotte went the Kerry “botched joke” route:
My writings on my personal blog Pandagon on the issue of religion are generally satirical in nature and always intended strictly as a criticism of public policies and politics. My intention is never to offend anyone for his or her personal beliefs, and I am sorry if anyone was personally offended by writings meant only as criticisms of public politics. Freedom of religion and freedom of expression are central rights, and the sum of my personal writings is a testament to this fact.
McEwan followed Bill Clinton’s path and distinguished her private from professional life, even though blogging is her profession:
Shakespeare’s Sister is my personal blog, and I certainly don’t expect Senator Edwards to agree with everything I’ve posted. We do, however, share many views – including an unwavering support of religious freedom and a deep respect for diverse beliefs. It has never been my intention to disparage people’s individual faith, and I’m sorry if my words were taken in that way.
These statements have all the believability of 5-year-olds being made to shake hands and apologize. Further, while I have no doubt both these women believe in the 1st Amendment, it’s utterly ridiculous to claim that they never intended to criticize people’s religious views. They did so routinely. The only way that religious people would not have been offended by any of dozens of statements on their blogs was by not reading them.
Of course, that was likely the case in most instances. Blogs that appeal to rabid partisans often devolve into ridicule and dripping condescension toward those who disagree. That’s great for building a fan base, as numerous bloggers (and talk hosts) on both sides of the aisle can attest. It’s not very effective for holding a national conversation, though, let alone a presidential campaign.
UPDATE: Cernig and Anderson think lumping Melissa McEwan in with Amanda Marcotte is unfair. While I’ve seen lots of offensive quotes from Marcotte around the blogosphere since this controversy erupted, I haven’t seen a single one from McEwan cited. Is this a bizarre case of guilt-by-association, with John Edwards throwing her under the bus for expediency?
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it: Aside from simple uses of vulgar language, what has McEwan written that could be characterized as either anti-Catholic or that might otherwise have “personally offended” John Edwards?