26 February 2007

The wisdom of keeping your filthy godless blogging to yourself

So a couple of bloggers caused a big stink for the John Edwards campaign, as you've no doubt heard.

Here's an interesting little post-brouhaha revelation: Wisely foreseeing the trouble her personal views might cause, Hell-bound unbeliever Lindsay Beyerstein of Majikthise writes at Salon that she turned down a blogging offer from the Edwards camp.  Some excerpts...
I am an atheist, but when Bill Donohue called the John Edwards bloggers "anti-Catholic, vulgar, trash-talking bigots," my first thought was, "There but for the grace of God go I."

I was offered a job blogging for John Edwards, but I declined.

On Jan. 12, an Edwards campaign staffer whom I'll call Bob, which isn't his real name, e-mailed me to ask if I might be interested in blogging for the campaign. I maintain a blog called Majikthise, and I'd met Bob several times at various political and social gatherings in New York City, including Drinking Liberally.

We settled into the back of a small, brightly lit shawarma joint and ordered baklava. After this heartfelt pitch, Bob asked me if I was interested in blogging for the Edwards campaign.

I was dazzled by Edwards' speech, Bob's vision and the sense that I might be on the verge of the big time. I wanted to jump on the bus, but I knew I couldn't.

"I'm probably not ... the person you want," I said, finally. "I mean, I'm on the record saying that abortion is good and that all drugs should be legalized, including heroin. Don't you think that might be a little embarrassing for the campaign?"

Bob assured me that my controversial posts weren't a problem as far as the campaign was concerned. They were familiar with my work. And Bob did seem to know my writing. I didn't get the impression he was a daily reader, but it was obvious he had been reading the blog for a while.

"That's you, that's not John Edwards," he said.

Bob was confident that people would understand the difference. I wasn't so sure.

"So, it's not a problem that I'm an outspoken atheist?" I asked.

Every blogger says controversial things from time to time, Bob assured me. He admitted that he'd drawn some fire for a tasteless joke on his own site a while back. It hadn't been a big deal.

I asked if I would have to quit blogging at Majikthise in order to take the job with Edwards. My blog means more to me than any job I've ever had. After three years of hard work, I finally have a platform from which to express ideas that won't get a hearing in the established media, let alone in mainstream Democratic politics. So the prospect of giving up my untrammeled freedom to blog press releases for John Edwards gave me pause. Still, I assumed Bob would say it was a necessity.

I was wrong. Bob promised that I wouldn't have to give up my personal blog. He added that I probably wouldn't have much time left for personal blogging, since everyone was working 18-hour days on the campaign. But, he noted, he hadn't given up his own blog, and neither had another member of the Edwards Internet team.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. A bunch of Internet staffers with private blogs sounded like a disaster waiting to happen...

Read the rest of her fascinating entry here.

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