Bloggers on the Edward blogging scandal.

Bloggers on the Edward blogging scandal.

Bloggers on the Edward blogging scandal.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Feb. 9 2007 5:31 PM

Blogged Down

Bloggers devour their own over the Catholic backlash against John Edwards' net-roots campaign staffers. They also speculate about Anna Nicole Smith's death.

Blogged down: The Catholic League and its outspoken executive Bill Donohue are unappeased by John Edwards' decision not to fire two campaign bloggers—Melissa McEwan and Amanda Marcotte—for writing allegedly anti-Catholic screeds on their personal sites, Shakespeare's Sister and Pandagon, respectively. McEwan had dubbed Christian conservatives as "Christofascists," and Marcotte said the church opposes contraception because it wants women to spawn more "tithing Catholics." Let the games begin.

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At the John Edwards '08 Blog, the former senator himself posted a statement claiming that he was "personally offended" by the rhetoric: "But I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake. I've talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word." Marcotte and McEwan post apologies as well.

Conservative Christian Dawn Eden at The Dawn Patrol ain't buying Amanda's mea culpa: "I guess it's nice to know that all those times her blog referred to Our Lord and Saviour as 'Jeebus'—in 114 blog entries to date (the most recent last Sunday)—she was only kidding. A search of Pandagon archives shows that Amanda has yet to devise a similarly ha-ha name for Mohammed." Catholic righty The Anchoress predicts: "These blogmistresses are going to either become better writers or they're going to buckle under the constraints of a campaign, crash and burn. Let 'em write. I think we in the 'sphere need to let things play out a bit more … if we want to gain some credibility outside of our own little world."

Lefty lawyer Glenn Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory is grateful things ended as they did. "The Edwards  'controversy' was a story that was concocted at the lowest depths of the right-wing blogosphere, and it then bubbled up through the standard channels until it arrived in the national press. When the story was first reported by the New York Times and the Associated Press, those outlets mindlessly tracked the right-wing storyline without deviation, and that storyline was designed to convey these familiar themes."

Politically moderate legal eagle Ann Althouse is happy the Edwards camp didn't crucify the bloggers: "I'm glad, for the sake of blogging, that Edwards made this decision. I truly worried—I'm still worried—about how this incident would—will—affect the employability of bloggers and motivate them to censor themselves. (I say "them," not "us," because I'm beyond the point in my career where such things affect me.) Edwards faced serious damage whichever decision he made, so it remains to be seen how reluctant candidates will be to hire bloggers."

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Read more about the Edwards blog hiccup.

Anybody's guess: Ex-Playboy centerfold Anna Nicole Smith died Thursday at age 39 under highly mysterious circumstances. Cyberspace wants to know: Was it a drug overdose or foul play? Who's the father of her newborn daughter? Why is Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband claiming it's him? And what are the parallels to the untimely death of her teenage son five months ago? Why do we all care?

Henry Midgley at Bit of News asks: "So what should we make of Anna Nicole Smith—my sense is that it's hard to understand her interior life—how can we from the outside? However what we can see is a set of patterns. Anna Nicole Smith seems to have sought out and tried to find the limelight—tried to find people who would photograph her clothed or not, tried to make money from the perilous property of her own appearance. Her income depended to a large extent on attention being paid by the public and increasingly desperate antics—like for instance her reality TV show."

Michelle Collins at the blog of VH1's show Best Week Ever has got the Twin Peaks script storyboarded: "Last night, a friend shared her theory that the former Playboy Magazine model had been murdered by her husband Howard K. Stern, since what were the odds that both her and her son Daniel would die in similar ways (though it appears Anna had been sick the week leading up to yesterday's news.) … But perhaps the most disturbing and disgusting rumor we've come across (our skin is crawling even writing this) is that her son Daniel is actually the real father of her baby Danielynn."

Jeff Weiss at The Passion of the Weiss pens a parody obit that places the media coverage of Smith's demise in its proper context. Weiss quotes one fictive soldier serving in Iraq: " 'It's not easy here in Baghdad. Today, alone I had to interrogate four suspected insurgents, dodge three roadside bombs and duck twice from sniper bullets … But to come back to base and turn on the TV to see that the American people are uniting over Anna Nicole's death? Well that makes me want to keep fighting.' "

Even Gawker dips into forensic pathology for a day: "This is all conjecture at this point, and we've seen no statements yet from the vomit's lawyer, but this story keeps getting weirder and weirder: Why was the vomit there? What was the children's sedative? This thing may go all the way to the top. Also, there's some completely repellent footage of EMT guys trying to revive Smith on the Internet now. We never thought something could out-tacky Anna Nicole's own C-section video, but what can you say? Lady went out on top."

Read more about Anna Nicole's death.

Michael Weiss is the director of communications at the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank that promotes democratic geopolitics. He is also the spokesman for Just Journalism, which examines how Israel and the Middle East are portrayed in the U.K. media.