Saturday, February 10, 2007

Analyzing the Edwards blogger bruhaha

Seems like everyone's got something to say. Here's Jane Galt (HT: Sullivan):
Nonetheless, I'm afraid that I, like Julian, will be much happier not living in a world in which every stupid thing one ever said on one's blog generates pseudooutrage from political opponents trying to cleanse the marketplace of ideas, preferably by getting one fired and evicted.
She goes on to say some interesting things on the place of religious ideas in politics: admittedly limited knowlege of Non-Coastal-Elite-America indicates that in most of the country, slagging off the Pope, or indeed making fun of religion qua religion, is mostly verboten.


In practice, of course, almost everyone only actually objects to religiously motivated beliefs they disagree with; the civil rights movement, and the abolitionists, are well regarded by everyone even though they were sustained by religious beliefs that most modern liberals and libertarians would find frankly nuts (and no, my little chickadees, I do not buy the argument that they were involved with churches simply as a matter of convenience. Listen to Martin Luther King's speeches and then come back and tell me he was not a religious nut on a crusade.
Salon points out the central dilemma facing presidential candidates:
The major candidates are trying to do two conflicting things: channel the authenticity of the blogosphere while simultaneously maintaining the rigid image and message control that is crucial to any presidential campaign. It's a ready-made car wreck because bloggers are tough to domesticate. They want to demonstrate they haven't sold out once they get onto a politician's payroll. Their regulars readers will be turned off if they tame themselves, and if they don't, they're likely to be coarse and brash.
It will be very interesting to see how this plays out for other campaigns. It echoes what I said earlier:
If you were going to fire a blogger for past statements that include foul language or are offensive to some group, is there any blogger, left or right, of any standing that could be hired by anyone?
Glenn Greenwald takes in the implications of how this story developed:
The blogosphere fundamentally altered the arc of this story. All of the balancing information which made its way into the national press within a very short period of time was found by bloggers, amplified by other bloggers and by groups such as Media Matters, and that shaped the story -- both how it was discussed and its ultimate outcome -- in numerous ways. And it re-inforced the idea that the rotted network composed of the Michelle Malkins and Bill O'Reillys and Bill Donohues cannot drive media stories unilaterally anymore and cannot force major presidential candidates to capitulate to their demands.


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