A colleague – and fellow blogger – and I were discussing the Marcotte situation. He raised two valid concerns that this would a) deter campaigns from hiring bloggers in the future and b) lead to a situation where an arms race of who can find dirt on the other guy’s blogger.
While I respect his concerns, I think the issue is a little different. Take the Internet out of the equation and substitute print media or television. If a campaign hired a Bill O’Reilly, an Ann Coulter, or an Al Franken as a spokesperson, and that person continued to keep their day job as a firebrand, it would be a short matter of time before they said something stupid on air or in print to cause the same eruption.
The fact is, this had less to do with blogs and online politics, than it did with two questionable decisions – one by Edwards, and one by Marcotte. The bad decision Edwards made was in not demanding that Marcotte stop blogging at Pandagon. The bad decision by Marcotte was to continue doing so.
When you work for a Presidential campaign, especially as a spokesperson, you become the voice of the campaign. Everything you write, or say, can be construed as a campaign position. You may say something that you’d never think twice about in day-to-day life, and it becomes a much larger issue because you say it with the weight of your position.
That’s why the Ann Coulter’s and Bill O’Reilly’s don’t take campaign jobs (ok, that and the massive salary cuts). That’s also why Marcotte’s decision to continue blogging on topics as trivial as a movie and its feminist leanings is such a mistake. It’s rarely a blatant statement that gets someone in trouble. It’s almost always an off-hand remark that costs them. Just ask Joe “Barack is Clean” Biden. One of Marcotte’s commentators points out this very fact in response to the Children of Men post.
It appears that jackelam and pduggie have very different experiences of organized Christianity from Amanda‚Äôs. Well bully for them. I‚Äôm glad on their behalf.
And as a white woman I have very different experiences of privilige from those of someone of a different skin colour. My good fortune, probably, but that doesn‚Äôt mean that I get to say that the experiences of a black woman or a Cree woman, and her consequent take on my culture, are invalid or wrongheaded, even if I believe my culture didn‚Äôt mean for the black woman or the Cree woman to feel bad.
And yet, that is exactly what Marcotte did. She ignored the fact that different people bring different perspectives to any interaction, and she offended a great many people with her words. In doing so, she spoke not only for herself, but with the megaphone of the campaign. The trouble is, she didn’t realize it was turned on.