February 25, 2007
Still more on the Edwards blogger brouhaha
Lindsay Beyerstein has an interesting article up on Salon.com about why she turned down an offer of a blogging job with the Edwards ’08 campaign, and why hiring independent bloggers could prove problematic in general. Here’s an excerpt:
Republican benefactors lavish funds on the conservative message machine because they recognize the value of a good surrogate. Candidates don’t pay their surrogates or give them orders. Instead, they rely on them to say all the outrageous things they can’t say themselves.
So far, the left doesn’t have much in the way of institutionally supported partisan counterweights. We’ve got Bill Moyers, they’ve got Bill Donohue. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?
Progressive blogs have the potential to become the left wing’s open-source counterpart to the right-wing noise machine. But that doesn’t necessarily mean using money and a title to yoke an established blogger to a specific candidate.
There is a breed of blogger that has proven useful working in an official capacity for political campaigns — the party activist/consultant/blogger hybrid, someone like Matt Stoller of MyDD. Ideally, but not always, that kind of blogger puts his or her own blog on hold while being paid by a campaign, perhaps returning to it once the race is run. And the content of a party activist’s blog is heavy on poll numbers, policy discussions and electoral minutiae. An opposition researcher might unearth something allegedly “intemperate” from the archives and use it against the candidate, but that risk is less than with the other style of blogger, an independent polemicist like Amanda.
The whole article is worth reading if you’re interested in the connection between the blogosphere and politics.