In a February 6 ABCNews.com weblog post titled "Does John Edwards Condone Hate Speech?" ABC's Nightline co-host Terry Moran wrote that a "bit of a tempest is brewing over the strident and profanity-laced writings" of Amanda Marcotte, a blogger recently hired by Edwards' presidential campaign. In his post, Moran asked five rhetorical questions, including, "What, if anything, does it tell us about Edwards that he's joined up with this blogger?" and "If a Republican candidate teamed up with a right-wing blogger who spewed this kind of venom, how would people react?"
In fact, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has hired Republican operative Terry Nelson as campaign manager and political consultant and blogger Patrick Hynes on his presidential campaign. Despite a February 4 New York Times front-page article, which reported that McCain is hiring "advisers who once sought to skewer him and whose work he has criticized as stepping over the line in the past," Moran never asked similar questions of McCain. Moran, who began blogging on January 23, has also never broached the subject of McCain's controversial hires on his blog or on ABC*.
As blogger and attorney Glenn Greenwald noted in a February 7 post on his weblog Unclaimed Territory, Moran appeared to "echo the sentiments of his brother, right-wing blogger Rick Moran of 'Right Wing NutHouse.' "
From Moran's February 6 weblog post:
A bit of a tempest is brewing over the strident and profanity-laced writings of John Edwards' official campaign "blogmaster," Amanda Marcotte. She joined the Edwards campaign last week, and she's already gotten a lot of attention.
At issue are Marcotte's comments on her own blog, Pandagon (http://www.pandagon.net/), which has staked out a prominent place in the left-wing blogosphere. It's pretty strong stuff; her comments about other people's faiths could well be construed as hate speech.
Questions: What, if anything, does it tell us about Edwards that he's joined up with this blogger? Is Edwards' association with a person who has written these things a legitimate issue for voters, as they wonder -- among other things -- whom he might appoint to high office if he's elected? If a Republican candidate teamed up with a right-wing blogger who spewed this kind of venom, how would people react? Is the mere raising of this issue a kind of underhanded censorship, a way of ruling out of bounds some kinds of opinion? Are we all just going to have to get used to a more rough-and-tumble, profane, and even hate-filled public arena in the age of the blogosphere?
*Lexis/Nexis database search: "Moran AND Nelson OR Hynes" in ABC transcripts from previous year.