Saturday, February 10, 2007

To blog or not to blog?


Most of the presidential candidates have blogs on their web sites. Unfortunately for John Edwards, he didn't read the personal postings of two bloggers before he hired them.

According to an article in the New York Times on February 8, "John Edwards learned the hard way this week of the perils of grafting the raucous culture of the Internet to the decidedly staider world of a presidential campaign."

Before they were hired, the to bloggers criticized the Pope, the Catholic Church, and the "wingnut Christofascist base.”

The NYT article said Edwards had two choices. He could fire them and face a revolt in the liberal blogosphere that has increasingly more power in campaigns, or he could keep them and try to distance himself from the vulgar material.

Being that an election is luming...he kept them to try to keep liberal voters.

MSNBC had to two polital strategists from both parties come on TV this morning to discuss the issue. The democratic strategist said Edwards was right to keep the bloggers, the republican said he should have fired them.

He should have fired them. The postings were crass and offensive. Despite the 'anything goes' atmosphere in blog world, what they said was inapropriate.

This incident illuminates the greater issue of bloggers in campaigns. Most people log onto blogs to get information. The candidates can reach more people by posting blog sites, but how should it be done?

No one knows. It's unchartered waters.

John McCain got into trouble when a blogger with his campaign posted anti-semetic postings among other things. He wasn't fired either! I don't understand. These candidates want to reach more people, but isn't it counter productive to offend a lot of people in the process?

Edwards issued a statement. "...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 disagree with keeping the bloggers, but the '08 candidates are doing their best in a world that is changing.

Simon Rosenberg of the New Democrat Network said "It is difficult to apply the old ways campaigns were run in the late 20th century to this new wide-open, citizen-led politics.”

Obviously the candidates, and journlists for that matter, are going to need to find a way to work with the bloggers. It will be interesting to watch this all shake out.

-JE

12 Comments:

At Saturday, February 10, 2007, Anonymous TD said...

I'm very surprised that John Edwards' people didn't bother to read these bloggers sites before they hired them. Bloggers are known for being outspoken and saying what they want. It wouldn't have taken very much research to find out about these comments early on. After all, one of the touted things about blogs when they first arrived is that the reader has access to previous posts like pages in a diary by simply clicking on a back button.

 
At Saturday, February 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, TD. I'm more concerned a/b the Edwards camp's inability to vet these people than anything else.

I don't care what kind of inflammatory language bloggers choose to use to "express themselves," but Edwards should not hire inflammatory people to blog his message 24/7 in the first place.

Here's the kind of language we're talking about by the way : "What don't you lousy motherf——ers understand about keeping your noses out of our britches, our beds and our families?" (Posted by one of the bloggers)

If I said that on my personal blog about any religious group, I'd be fired too (from my yet to be determined future "tv job")

LT

 
At Sunday, February 11, 2007, Anonymous LA said...

After last quarter, I'm on a bunch of religious organizations' email lists and press lists. And oh my goodness, I got so many emails from the Catholic League about this happening.

The League is nutty and vehement, and its president, William Donahue, is the ultimate squeaky wheel. I have to wonder if much of the uproar and media attention this week was linked to Donahue. A Women's Wear Daily article about him (posted on Romensko) talks about the effect he has on the media -- often manufacturing news - http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45&aid=117794.

That said, the Edwards campaign did not do a good job of vetting (word of the week!) the new medium they were using. And JE, I agree, it will be fascinating watch and see how blogging and online videos and podcasts and who knows what play out during the 2008 race.

 
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