Lindsay Beyerstein Turned Down Edwards Campaign
File this under I'm not surprised.
Lindsay Beyerstein wrote a Salon article about how she was offered the John Edwards campaign blogging gig before Amanda Marcotte and Shakes. It makes sense. Lindsay has a high media profile. She writes articles and blogs at Alternet. She is one of the few lefty bloggers on both Atrios's and Daily Kos' blogrolls. Lindsay is star.
An Edwards staffer (whom Lindsay won't name) offered her the job. Lindsay proceeded to do everything in her power to convince him not to hire him.
"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?"
I can't think of many lefty bloggers that could run a campaign blog. Josh Marshall is the only one that comes to mind. He is about as noncontroversial as an A list progressive can get. Duncan Black would be chased out of the Edwards campaign by an angry mob. Tas of Loaded Mouth has gotten into major profanity-laced flame wars with Wizbang, Say Anything and Jeff Goldstein. He was shocked by how angry some of Amanda's posts came off. That is a good sign the Edwards campaign didn't read the Pandagon archives. Then again, the campaign didn't seem to care.
"The thing you have to realize about Amanda is that she's got real enemies," I said. "We've all got trolls, but Amanda gets a whole different level of abuse."
I told Bob this story to give him some idea of the kind of seething hatred the campaign might have to deal with: The first time I heard Amanda on the radio, an angry caller phoned up to say, "You're Amanda Marcotte, and you're a clerical worker at the University of Texas at Austin." He had his facts wrong, but his message was clear. He was trying to get Amanda fired while leaving some darker threat hanging in the air. The host had to cut him off. Since that incident, at least one of Amanda's trolls had called her then-employer and tried unsuccessfully to get her fired.
I tried to suggest that the campaign might not want high-profile bloggers. I thought it might be better off hiring a well-connected political operative with good connections in the blogosphere.
Lindsay makes a good point in the article on how conservatives use the internet as a trial balloon. They learned from the Monica Lewinsky scandal that if a story gains traction on the web they are safe to run with it. If the balloon pops then Matt Drudge or Glenn Reynolds takes one for the team. Michelle Malkin ran those horrying Hot Air videos. Bill Donahue followed after the Amanda attacks gained enough traction. The media runs with it because they need to fill air time. Repeat cycle when the next scandal comes around.