Edwards Bloggers Draw Unwanted Readers Two bloggers working for former Sen. John Edwards' campaign resigned last week, after Christian political activists accused the duo of making anti-Catholic remarks in their personal blogs.

Edwards Bloggers Draw Unwanted Readers

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And one way the Web has changed campaigning: The rise of bloggers. Just about every candidate has embraced this notion. Some staffs are even hiring professional bloggers.


John Edwards did, and he got into a bit of trouble. Last week two of Edwards' campaign bloggers resigned after comments they made on their personal blogs were criticized as anti-Catholic. I spoke with one of those bloggers, Amanda Marcotte. She says she was surprised that her personal blog got noticed at all.

Ms. AMANDA MARCOTTE (former Edwards' campaign blogger): It just never even occurred to me that my profile could possibly be high enough to garner attention.

BRAND: Well the campaign asked you not to post incendiary comments on your Web site. Then after John Edwards asked you not to write anything controversial you wrote about the movie "Children of Men" - you wrote that the Christian version of the virgin birth is generally interpreted as super patriarchal where God is viewed as so powerful he can impregnate without befouling himself by touching a woman.

Ms. MARCOTTE: Yeah, and then the next part I talked about how I appreciated that the movie updated the myth and pointed out that it doesn't necessarily have to have a misogynist spin as it often traditionally has. I didn't think that was particularly controversial but my naiveté was forgetting that they are willing to take things completely out of context.

BRAND: I wonder if it's just being on the other end of, I guess, the blogging lense if you will. Because I know a lot of people feel scorched by bloggers. So I wonder if you just experiencing something that maybe you or other bloggers inflict on a daily basis to other people. And it just didn't feel so great.

Ms. MARCOTTE: Honestly, if I hadn't been on a campaign when all of the - this hate and abuse and insults started being flung at me I probably would have loved it. I — you know it was just that I didn't want to attract negativity towards my employer.

BRAND: What do you learn from this? Maybe is it possible for these two worlds to mix or do they have to be kept separate?

Ms. MARCOTTE: Well at the present time I think that there's certainly going to be growing pains and I think that you know the openness that the blogosphere, the personal political blogging community, has could be a very good influence on politics. I, I think that from here on out candidates are going to be very scared to hire bloggers that they think have anything about them personally that might seem like lightning rods. There's going to be a real problem going forward - if bloggers want to be hired by campaigns, they're going to have to either delete their blogs, or clean up their act, or ape the sort of language and manners of the D.C. media. The one thing about that - I don't think there's going to be too many that ever think that they will work for campaigns, so I don't think that's probably going to change the blogosphere in any significant way.

BRAND: Well what do the campaigns lose and what do the voters lose?

Ms. MARCOTTE: Campaigns lose an ability to reach out to that audience, for sure. And people who read political blogs are plugged in - there is no doubt. They're the kind of people that vote in primaries, they're the kind of people that knock on doors, they're the kind of people that give money. So you want that audience.

BRAND: And now that you're back to running your personal Web log, Pandagon, are you going to write in support of the John Edwards campaign?

Ms. MARCOTTE: I would never work for a candidate that wouldn't be the candidate that I'd vote for. You know he certainly still has my support.

BRAND: Amanda Marcotte former blogger for the John Edwards campaign and now with Pandagon.net. Thanks for joining us.

Ms. MARCOTTE: Thank you.

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