February 26, 2007

How the Edwards campaign blundered into hiring those bloggers.

Based on this Salon essay by Lindsay Beyerstein -- who declined their invitation to blog for them -- I'd say they were fooled by their own smug belief that they really get it.
As we walked, Bob downloaded his vision: The whole Edwards campaign was going to be a decentralized grass-roots operation.

"Elizabeth Edwards gets it," he said with unabashed admiration....

Bob assured me that my controversial posts weren't a problem as far as the campaign was concerned. They were familiar with my work....

"That's you, that's not John Edwards," he said.

Bob was confident that people would understand the difference....
Beyerstein refused the job, in part because she thought it would interfere with what she could say on her own blog. She recommends Amanda Marcotte: "Marcotte was the best writer in the feminist blogosphere. If they wanted a high-profile feminist blogger, Amanda was the best." But she warns "Bob" that Marcotte has said lots of nasty things -- "A-list polemicists are popular because they say things you don't hear on television" -- and has enemies who will try to attack her.

I love this part:
What Bob didn't seem to realize is that the right-wing blogosphere was going to try to get Edwards' bloggers fired no matter what. Unlike the liberal netroots, the right-wing blogosphere is capable of exactly one kind of collective political action. They call it "scalping" -- they pick a target and harass that person and his or her employer until the person either jumps or is pushed out of the public eye. Whoever blogged for Edwards was signing up for a lot of bad hair days, and it wasn't going to be me.
Ha, ha. Only the right. Sure. I have the personal experience of lefties trying to do exactly that to me -- including on Beyerstein's blog, though I think Beyerstein actually stepped in at one point and told her commenters that their idea of trying to get UW to fire me was not a good one.

Beyerstein distinguishes two types of political bloggers:
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.
And this is a really good point:
I think the candidates who benefit the most from the netroots are the ones who can inspire bloggers to do their work for free. They create unpaid, unofficial surrogates....

The Edwards campaign wants decentralized people-powered politics. Ironically, by hiring well-known bloggers to manage a destination Web site, it was actually centralizing and micromanaging.

ADDED: I've never seen the term "scalping" used like this. It's some kind of right-wing blogging lingo? Can somebody prove that? I've heard of "swarming," but not "scalping."

91 comments:

B said...

Marcotte was the best writer in the feminist blogosphere. If they wanted a high-profile feminist blogger, Amanda was the best.

She's "the best"? In the "feminist blogosphere"?

Isn't that like "3rd best prostitute in all Kazakhstan"?

Invisible Man said...

Ann,

While not agreeing with your side of the whole "Feministing brouhaha" as some other liberals did, I would be surprised if more than a few of the more highly known liberal blogs excerpted any effort in a "scalping". I don't recall any posts asking for your job from Eschaton, TPM, Kevin Drum, Kos or Pandagon during the whole affair. But with the Edwards incident you had the usual suspects of Instapundit, Michelle Malkin, Red State and others all pounding the same theme. The point isn't that there are no liberals who would stoop to that level, but that you won't find a top down strategy that seems to be typical of the more mainstream "right-wing" blogs in searching for scalps.

yetanotherjohn said...

To be fair Anne, if you parse her sentance it is technically defensible.

'Unlike the liberal netroots, the right-wing blogosphere is capable of exactly one kind of collective political action. They call it "scalping" -- they pick a target and harass that person and his or her employer until the person either jumps or is pushed out of the public eye.'

This could be saying that only the right-wing blogs engaging in scalping. Or it could be saying that while the right engages only in scalping, the left engages in scalping and other collective political action.

Skiddo said...

"They call it scalping"

They do?

http://www.google.com/search?q=scalping+marcotte&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

George said...

Somehow Mrs. Edwards reminds me of a certain Mrs. Douglas...

...of Green Acres.

Fen said...

But with the Edwards incident you had the usual suspects of Instapundit, Michelle Malkin, Red State and others all pounding the same theme.

Provide quotes as evidence that any of those demanded Marcotte be fired. Didn't happen. Edwards took a hit on the right-wing blogosphere because he hired two bigots. We were happy to have him display that bigotry into the primaries.

I think it was Democrat Catholics that convinced Edwards to fire them.

Joan said...

Fen, he didn't fire them -- well, he did, but then he un-fired them, sort of, only to have them resign. It was a mess.

BrianOfAtlanta said...

The point isn't that there are no liberals who would stoop to that level, but that you won't find a top down strategy that seems to be typical of the more mainstream "right-wing" blogs in searching for scalps.

Or perhaps the point is that Republican campaigns have hired people like John Henke and not people like Ace of Spades. I doubt Joe Gandelman or Justin Gardner would have elicited the firestorm that Amanda Marcotte did.

David said...

Ever the victims, the left comes up with a word "scalping" to intimidate those who take exception to their bigotry. As usual, these predictable fools display their animus against fact based discussion, cover themselves in the glorious claok of 'victimhood' and slink away into the cold embrace of the rock they came out from under.

Hard to believe this supposedly successful lawyer could muff an opportunity to act decisively. Following Marcotte into oblivion, Edwards is another one who bites the dust early.

Internet Ronin said...

Fact-checking can be hard and reveal inconvenient truths that complicate a story-line. That's why so many people like Beyerstein, on the left and the right, don't do much of it.

It goes well with the ever-popular idea that "although X turned out to not have been true, it might have been true [and we wish that it had been true], so we should operate as if X was true and somehow punish those who we believe would have committed X if they had the opportunity because we all know that they would like to [even though we are the ones who thought of it]."

Fen said...

Fen, he didn't fire them -- well, he did, but then he un-fired them, sort of, only to have them resign. It was a mess.

And that was the more serious self-inflicted wound. Forget that Edwards supported two catholic bashers, he couldn't make a principled decision without checkng the polling data.

As POTUS, Edwards would do whats popular instead of whats right. He's not a leader.

CB said...

"Unlike the liberal netroots, the right-wing blogosphere is capable of exactly one kind of collective political action"

I think she accidentally told the truth there: the liberal netroots are not capable of any collective political action.

Scott Ferguson said...

Patrick Ruffini is an example of a blogger who has blogged for the benefit of conservative political causes.

Ruffini's advantage over a Marcotte is that he is a political professional, while she is an amateur.

Patrick understands the consequences of his actions. By contrast, Marcotte is not used to having to care about such things.

Jeff said...

"Scalping" i.e. "fact-checking", "telling the truth".

peter hoh said...

DAVID WROTE of the left "cover[ing] themselves in the glorious cloak of 'victimhood'."

Every time I listed to "conservative" talk radio, I am amazed at how easily the "conservative" hosts adopt this tactic. I'd almost say that they own it in this decade.

Anthony said...

Isn't that like "3rd best prostitute in all Kazakhstan"?

Please, not to make me guffaw this early.

I thought the nutroots took all sorts of credit for "bringing down" Lieberman in the primary? And that guy who had a press pass to the White House, who turned out to be using a pseudonym? (Odd I don't remember his name, as he was a shining star in the conservative firmament. . .)

Paul Zrimsek said...

I also hear that kids nowadays call that marijuana of theirs "Mary Jane".

PatCA said...

It's hard to fathom how insular and immature these people are, but this essay is a good illustration.

At least this writer can spell and use proper grammar. But foul-mouthed incoherent Marcotte -- the best feminist writer on the blogosphere?? Sad.

And I never heard of "scalping" before, but then I missed the last meeting of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

Hey said...

Beyerstein is wrong on the facts. Conservative blogs (along with liberals ones) have gotten together in Porkbusters to highlight and attempt to stop wasteful spending. So the "right" is capable of at least 2 actions.

The other odd thing is what exactly are blogs supposed to do besides get someone fired? What else do all media do except get people fired? You can have some small effect on a policy point or a legislative matter, but it is exceptionally hard to control those things since the congresional process is so slow with lots of opportunities for professionals to re-insert their preferences in another bill. That's why lobbysists exist: their is little role for amateurs to influence the legislature or the executive.

By collecting heads, amateurs can demonstrate their power while also improving the population of those making day to day decisions. Blogs, for a while, got Trent Lott out of his Senate leadership role and that improved the character of the Senate. He got back in, despite the efforts of blogs and conservative activists, thanks to the culture of the senate and their cult of seniority and incumbency. Blogs were one of the groups that helped stop Meyers from becoming a USSC Justice.

Blogs have a hard time advocating for people: anyone the blogs know about is likely impossible to appoint for a very high level position or else has no need of blog support (Paulson got lots of support, but he was head of Goldman, which is pretty much a solid lock on the nomination if you share parties with the President).

Blogs do brag about scalps they've taken. Insta if rightly proud of helping bring down Lott, and ashamed that he got back. LGF reminds you of all the work they've been involved with. But just because they're scalp takers doesn't mean they were in on Marcotte. Insta said that he thought she should keep her job, as did many others (Jane Galt at Asymmetrical Information, for one). Some on the right did that for uncharitable reasons (Marcotte on staff would hurt Edwards) but they did do it.

Henry said...

Whoever blogged for Edwards was signing up for a lot of bad hair days, and it wasn't going to be me.

Beyerstein makes several astute points. It's too bad she didn't give Marcotte career advice along with that referral.

One of the saddest things about Marcotte's story to me was that she thought she could take a paycheck from a major political campaign, act as one of its public faces, and still do her own personal political thing on the side. And weirdly, the Edwards people hired her without rectifying this confusion.

When a political campaign wants to use blogs to reach out to the most radical elements in the electorate, the advantage of unpaid, unofficial surrogates is not the unpaid part. It is the unofficial part.

That was what the Edwards campaign got wrong.

Naked Lunch said...

And I never heard of "scalping" before, but then I missed the last meeting of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

Ask Mara Vanderslice John Kerry's religious outreach director, why Bill Donohue went after her saying "I'm going to get her fired," and "I got her." And when Bush's 54 yr old religious outreach director gets busted assaulting a drunken 18 yr old girl Donohue rushed to his defense.

See any pattern here?

Daryl Herbert said...

I laughed out loud when I saw the word "scalping."

It was a sort of explosive guffaw.

I've never seen it used online before.

Leftists just make shit up.

George said...

Future SAT question:

Edwards: Marcotte

as

Academy Awards:

a) Ellen Degeneres
b) Pilobolus
c) Best Foreign Animated Short
d) Al Gore

bos0x said...

Oh Althouse, poor you :((

I don't see how that post on Beyerstein's blog fits that definition of scalping. Okay, so she wrote about you, but did she harrass you? Your employer? Were you "pushed out of the public eye"? ...no? Then get over it. Your commenters can produce sexist, creepy remarks about another blogger--and you are the victim here? Because someone had the audacity to link to you without providing an adorable testimonial for your heading? ono!!! :((

It also amazes me how you're whining over the actions of another blog's commenters. Judging by your commenters, you are the most bigoted and moronic person alive. Read what Mr. Snitch had to say in response to your "arrange them randomly" post, for instance.

By the way, one or two commenters who decide to write a letter to UW is hardly "collective political action" from the "leftie blogosphere", you hyperbolic twit.

PatCA: Marcotte can't spell or use proper grammar...? Oh that's right! Writing anything that PatCA from the internet doesn't agree with: bad grammar on the level of comma splices and danging modifiers.

rhodeymark1 said...

These clowns are still keening for Dan Rather, Eason Jordan, even that ex-AP photoshoptographer. It's hard to "move on", don't you know. Thanks for the link NL, and good luck with that scalp. Remember though, no swiftboating. ;)

Dewave said...

Beyerstein is mostly, though not totally, clueless.

Obviously the right leaning blogs are capable of more than just one action, and I have never seen them refer to it as 'scalping'.

Furthermore, how low must your standards be to declare Marcotte the best blogger of anything, anywhere? She's truly horrible, and appeals only to folks who think exactly like her and simply want a little echo chamber where they can all rant and rave together.

There's a place for these folks, sure, but it's certainly not on the payroll of a presidential campaign that has to appeal to the mainstream of society in order to win.

Why you would *hire* an opinion blogger at all is beyond me: for one thing, you become 'responsible' for their opinions, and for another, if they genuinely agreed with you, they'd essentially push your opinions for free!

Beyerstein makes this point, and was wise enough to refuse the position herself, which makes her astoundingly poor choice of Marcotte instead even more incomprehensible.

The driving impetus behind their firing was not conservative bloggers (who are not going to vote for Edwards anyway) but those segments of the left who were shocked at Marcottes catholic and man hating tirades.

Daryl Herbert said...

Beyerstein: the right-wing blogosphere is capable of exactly one kind of collective political action. They call it "scalping" -- they pick a target and harass that person and his or her employer until the person either jumps or is pushed out of the public eye

invisible man: typical of the more mainstream "right-wing" blogs in searching for scalps.

naked lunch: Ask Mara Vanderslice John Kerry's religious outreach director, why Bill Donohue went after her saying "I'm going to get her fired," and "I got her." And when Bush's 54 yr old religious outreach director gets busted assaulting a drunken 18 yr old girl Donohue rushed to his defense.

First, Donohue (Holy Spirit Be Upon Him) isn't a blogger.

Second, those are both non-sequitur responses to the fact that nobody calls this "scalping"

You'll have to try harder to justify this.

Third, if Kerry was justified in firing Vanderslice, then you've got no right to complain about Donohue.

And if he wasn't justified in firing her, then you've got no right to complain about Donohue. You should take it up with John Fucking Kerry.

tiggeril said...

Scalping? How racially insensitive.

Ann Althouse said...

bos0x said..."I don't see how that post on Beyerstein's blog fits that definition of scalping. Okay, so she wrote about you, but did she harrass you? Your employer? Were you "pushed out of the public eye"? ...no? Then get over it. Your commenters can produce sexist, creepy remarks about another blogger--and you are the victim here?"

I linked to Beyerstein's blog, but there were MANY other blogs, exerting a huge effort to try to discredit me, repeating the same memes, etc. Look it up if you want. I'm not going to link to them all. And that was just one of the times that a lot of lefty blogs got together to try to hurt me. It happens regularly. So get a clue. Do some research. You loser.

Ann Althouse said...

bos0x said..."I don't see how that post on Beyerstein's blog fits that definition of scalping. Okay, so she wrote about you, but did she harrass you? Your employer? Were you "pushed out of the public eye"? ...no? Then get over it. Your commenters can produce sexist, creepy remarks about another blogger--and you are the victim here?"

I linked to Beyerstein's blog, but there were MANY other blogs, exerting a huge effort to try to discredit me, repeating the same memes, etc. Look it up if you want. I'm not going to link to them all. And that was just one of the times that a lot of lefty blogs got together to try to hurt me. It happens regularly. So get a clue. Do some research. You loser.

Doug said...

Not to channel Jerry Seinfeld, but what is the deal with liberals and term "... gets it" ? And its flip side " So and so doesn't get it"?

As for scalping or whatever it is, the reason that the right had to take up the cause in the Amanda affair is because no such effort was put forth by the mainstream media. If a conservative candidate had hired someone who printed the bigoted things about Judaism or black males similar to what was on Pandagon, the NYT's, Washington Post, Katie Couric, and the rest of the media would have done the scalping. It would not have to fall on the lefty blogs, their surrogates in the MSM would have gotten the job done.

PatCA said...

"And when Bush's 54 yr old religious outreach director gets busted assaulting a drunken 18 yr old girl Donohue rushed to his defense."

Bill Clinton was working for Bush?!

...to respond to your "I know you are but what am I" defense which, as daryl aptly points out, makes no sense.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that if Mrs. Edwards had really gotten it, she would have had the campaign follow up on Ms. Beyerstein's comment that Ms. Marcotte had said those nasty things.

And I think that they somewhat mischaracterize what the right side of the blogosphere does. The left side CAN do in depth fact checking, while the right side WILL obsessively do it.

Think about it. If it had been planned by the right, the stuff on Marcotte would have been sprung after Edwards got the nomination. Indeed, from a Republican point of view, Edwards is probably the best Democratic presidential candidate we could have. Living his Two Americas in his huge house on 100 acres across the street from a trailer park. And gettting the money while driving OB/Gnys out of business by channelling dead babies in court using junk science. And with six years of Senatorial experience under his belt, and not running for a second term because he knew he would get creamed. Much easier to beat than an Obama. Much easier.

Lonesome Payne said...

Self-congratulatory, dishonest, kind of stupid, offputting,ignorant, condescending, smug.

Those are things that Lindsay Beyerstein could have added to her description of what it means to be an "A-list polemicist," assuming she's talking about the left and assuming she considers herself an A-list polemicist.

Cedarford said...

Marcotte was the best writer in the feminist blogosphere. If they wanted a high-profile feminist blogger, Amanda was the best.

I admit to complete befuddlement on that.
Why oh why would any candidate seeking a national audience want all blogosphere communications efforts coming from a divisive, angry narrow niche player?

Beyerstein, being a Jew, also has a deaf ear to a factor past Marcotte's coarse language and man-hating writings...and that would be Marcotte's venomously bigoted anti-Christian, particularly anti-Catholic, posts.

[Her blaming Righ-wingers for Marcotte's canning is dead wrong. It was Democrat Centrists and leading Democrat Catholics that said in no uncertain terms that Marcotte remaining would signal Edwards embraced religious bigotry and strident, militant feminism.

Part of the problem is the Jewish and WASP Ruling Elites in America ARE afflicted with an open contempt and snobbery towards religious people other than Muslims.

And the other part of the problem is the spousal factor. As politicans have gravitated towards their spouse as their #1 Advisor, all but unchallengable by other members of the Team - you see more and more occasions where trusted advisors will bite their tongue and not say that the Co-Senator or Co-President spouse is wrong. Advisors, from the time of Mary Lincoln through Nancy Reagan to Theresa to Laura Bush's cluelessness on voting will lead Muslim woman to shed patriarchy and the Burqua - who will not hesitate to tell the boss he is wrong, but think it career suicide not to acquiesce to a spouses dumb idea or position.

tiggeril said...

Which reminds me: the problem with political discourse today is that there's too many polemicists whether A-list or not, and far too few thinkers. Not intellectuals, but thinkers.

Daryl Herbert said...

gettting the money while driving OB/Gnys out of business by channelling dead babies in court using junk science

Oh, be nice

Seven Machos said...

1. Elizabeth Edwards doesn't "get it," whatever "it" is.

2. I don't want to paint myself as a centrist, because I am not one, but both the left and the right both need to get over this absurd idea that the other side is able to conspire while their side is just a ragtag bunch of individuals fighting for good. There is no "scalping." There is no "swiftboating." There are efforts made by people who agree politically. Sadly, whenever lefties or righties "scalp," they feel morally pure. Whenever they get "scalped," they feel woe-is-us victimized.

3. I STILL HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THIS DONAHUE GUY OUTSIDE OF THIS BLOG. .

4. N.B.: sadly, the SAT no longer contains analogies.

Doyle said...

And that was just one of the times that a lot of lefty blogs got together to try to hurt me. It happens regularly.

Trying to “hurt” you? You mean in the virtual, verbal sense, right? Wouldn’t want to go too overboard on the totally unjustified self-pity.

The reason it happens regularly, Ann, is because you regularly parrot idiotic right wing talking points with your own homegrown, ditzy spin.

It’s an absolute travesty that this is “Althouse month” at the NYT. I’m just going to attribute the decision to the same lack of vetting that produced Amanda Marcotte: campaign blogger. Or maybe they just thought you were a non-liberal who wouldn’t be taken too seriously.

My favorite was when you tried to explain how people are wrong to mock Giuliani and Romney for shamelessly flip flopping on abortion (presumably because they are Republicans), and your apparent obliviousness to McCain’s previously having said Roe shouldn’t be overturned.

Seven Machos said...

Doyle -- Where is your New York Times column?

Doyle said...

Doyle -- Where is your New York Times column?

If Bill Keller read these threads, I'd have one!

Naked Lunch said...

patca said...
Bill Clinton was working for Bush?!

Ha. I'm guessing it was Guiliani. Anyways I was responding to a question of what a scalp was. This was clearly a scalp [irregardless of who was involved] and provided two cites that should clearly bolster my assertion. The individual that originally leveled the charges is clearly a professional scalper.

Can you imagine if Edwards was planning hiring this party operative? Looks like a typical Republican, maybe no one will notice. ;)

Seven Machos said...

Lunch -- What? Can't handle it when people don't fit your basically racist preconceived notions about what a Republican is supposed to look like?

Doyle said...

I don't know, the punk rocker looked white and stupid to me!

Seven Machos said...

Doyle -- That's exactly the kind of trenchant analysis that's going to get you a column in the New York Times. Some would call you trite. Some would say virtually everything you say jumped the shark at least seven years ago. But don't let the critics get you down.

What a blow to humanity that you haven't been discovered by starmakers such as Bill Keller.

Doyle said...

Hey, remember when I busted your false claims about public support for the war? That was column-worthy, I thought.

P.S. "Jump the shark" is over.

Seven Machos said...

Doyle --

1. Remember when we talked about how binary questions about public policy are useless, about how nobody ever gets elected campaigning to lose a war, and about how the very poll you cited suggests that Americans do support the war?

2. Please don't hijack the thread and make it about Iraq.

3. If you believe that what the mainstream media needs in this country needs is another not-very-good writer bloviating against victory in Iraq, you are delusional.

4. If you think your incoherent prose is any good, you are delusional.

Naked Lunch said...

Johnny Rotten isn't a blogger, so he's okay. Whew. Glad THAT's settled. Who could argue Amandagate didn't change everything?

Doyle said...

Are you senile or dishonest? Let the people decide!

See Seven Machos get broken up here..

The fun starts at 9:44pm.

Seven Machos said...

Doyle -- I won that argument, especially when your buddies chimed in about Bali.

Good luck finding that paid writing gig, though.

Dewave said...

and provided two cites that should clearly bolster my assertion

If so, your assertion is completely unrelated to the question at hand, which is: does the 'vast right wing blogosphere' actually call this practice 'scalping', as Beyerstein claimed.

It's almost like a game of
Jeopardy: you provide the sources, and then we have to guess what wacky and as yet unmentioned assertion for which they provide proof.

"I'll take 'Reasons Why Donahue Would Make a Poor Campaign Blogger' for $400, Alex"

jogoldbe said...

AA said, "I linked to Beyerstein's blog, but there were MANY other blogs, exerting a huge effort to try to discredit me, repeating the same memes, etc. Look it up if you want. I'm not going to link to them all. And that was just one of the times that a lot of lefty blogs got together to try to hurt me. It happens regularly. So get a clue. Do some research. You loser."

I worry for your sanity.

Of course, the same standards will be applied to Duncan Hunter's new campaign co-chair: http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/10028.html. Seeing as you're NOT a conservative and all ...

But seriously (I joke about you not being a conservative), you cannot compare the fisking you regularly get on the blogs to Marcotte's ... well you can, but only with a head full of valuum while sitting in the rubber room.

And also, "loser?" Good one!!!!! Your comments on civlity in the blogosphere keep getting better and better.

Revenant said...

I'm amazed at how politically tone-deaf the people who write these articles are. This is the second or third "Marcotte is a victim" article I've read in a major online publication, and all of them ignore the elephant in the room -- namely, that Marcotte's blogging history contained a lot of stuff that was completely repugnant to the majority of Americans.

I hate the Catholic Church. I basically dislike Christianity in general, actually. Unlike Marcotte and Beyerstein, however, I realize that the overwhelming majority of Americans do NOT share those views and, in fact, quite actively dislike them. Were I to write some sexually explicit comments about the conception and abortion of Jesus, I would not have the nerve to be surprised when a firestorm of criticism erupted in response.

Either Marcotte was too unintelligent to realize she was offending people or she was arrogant enough to think that nobody would dare criticize her for it. Either way she's a lousy choice for a political blogger.

Revenant said...

Anyways I was responding to a question of what a scalp was. This was clearly a scalp [irregardless of who was involved] and provided two cites that should clearly bolster my assertion. The individual that originally leveled the charges is clearly a professional scalper.

The claim was that right-wing bloggers target enemies and try to bring them down, and call this "scalping".

You provided an example of a NON-blogger doing something which YOU call "scalping" and he does not. Your second example was of that NON-blogger defending somebody against attacks, which is the exact opposite of scalping.

All you've demonstrated is that Donohue is a political hack and an asshole, and we all knew that already.

Naked Lunch said...

If so, your assertion is completely unrelated to the question at hand, which is: does the 'vast right wing blogosphere' actually call this practice 'scalping', as Beyerstein claimed.

But that's not what I originally responded to - the question of what a political scalp is. It had nothing to do with the Beyerstein's claims in the first place.

Seven Machos said...

Joe -- Duncan Hunter and Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich and Pat Robertson can hire whatever nutball bloggers they want because they are not serious candidates for the presidency. The implication that you cannot seem to grasp that Duncan Hunter is not a serious Republican candidate says a great deal about you and how tone-deaf and stupid you must be.

John Edwards, on the other hand, was a serious candidate last time and the vice-presidential candidate last time, and presumably will be a competitive, serious Democratic candidate in 2008. (I personally view him a bit like Harold Stassen, but I'm not a Democrat.)

Serious candidates are going to be held to serious standards and will be expected to make good decisions. Hiring this Marcotte person was a stupid decision, and Edwards paid dearly for it.

Revenant said...

But that's not what I originally responded to - the question of what a political scalp is.

Here is the actual post you were responding to:

And I never heard of "scalping" before, but then I missed the last meeting of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

He wasn't asking how lefties define "scalping". He was saying he'd never heard of the term, despite its supposedly being the only form of group political activity right-wing blogs engage in.

So a valid response would have been to cite some right-wing bloggers who use the term, rather than (as you did) making the off-topic observation that Donohue is a jackass.

Naked Lunch said...

Revenant

Commenters were asking what a scalp was. I made my opinion clear I thought this was a scalp. I never claimed there was a collective scalping jihad on the right blogosphere.

Donohue could have handled this in numerous different ways, like perhaps calling Edwards and ask him if knew what Marcotte was writing on her blog. The fact he chose to go public first [as his long track record proves] tells me he isn't looking out just for Catholics, and he has another agenda. Liberal scalps.

PatCA said...

"Commenters were asking what a scalp was."

No, they were not. We were asking, and I asked specifically, why we never heard of the right wing blogs supposedly engaging in something they call collectively "scalping." After all, we are part of the VRWC so we should have heard of it, right?

Your answer is still nonresponsive.

Seven Machos said...

I predict that this scalping meme, if it takes off, is going to come back and bite the left in the ass really big time. Unless no one on the left attacks anyone in a personally destructive way -- an eventuality that is ridiculous on its face.

Revenant said...

Commenters were asking what a scalp was.

No commenters had asked what a scalp was, nor would there be any reason for them to -- Beyerstein defined (and probably invented) the term in her article. If you honestly thought that people were asking for a definition of the term, that was because you were not paying attention to what people were actually saying.

Your repeated harping on Donohue -- who has absolutely no relevance to this thread and whose behavior is not "scalping" as defined by Beyerstein -- suggests that you're really just looking for an excuse to make this thread about your pet peeves, the was DTL does with homosexuality or Cedarford does with Jews.

Steven said...

The left and right blogospheres both engage in what neither calls "scalping" (except when the left uses the term to try to deliegitimize the practice by the right). However, the left consistently fails, while the right often enough succeeds. The reason is that the right picks "scalping" grounds that seem reasonable to a wide swath of Democrats.

Marcotte, for example, talked blasphemously about the virgin conception of Jesus, thus insulting the religion of everyone who accepts the account of either the Gospels or the Koran. William Donahue doesn't need magic media-control powers to make that a big issue; there are lots of orthodox Christians and Muslims who vote in Democratic primaries.

(Now, if Marcotte had forthrightly come forth and apologized for the intentional insult, instead of pretending she'd only accidentally offended people, she might have salvaged the situation with enough Democratic Christians. Genuine contrition, or at least contrition faked so as to seem genuine, plays well. But a confession that she was deliberately intolerant of the beliefs of two religions on an element of their dogmas [the Virgin Birth] that doesn't impinge on any public policy issue? That William Donahue was right? Why, that wouldn't fit the script. It's the Right that's intolerant! Always!)

Charlie Eklund said...

What a great post. What great comments.

1. I love it when Althouse calls a loser a...loser.

2. I love it twice as much when such a remark is posted more than once.

3. I love it when Doyle writes about the greatness he would certainly achieve in an alternate universe.

4. I love it when people talk about those wonderful prostitutes of Kazakhstan.

5. I love it when a commenter gets right to the heart of the matter, as brianofatlanta did when he noted the difference between people like John Henke on the one hand and polemical bloggers like Ace of Spades and Marcotte on the other hand.

6. I love it when Seven Machos enumerates the points he makes in his comments.

7. I hate it that the SAT not longer does the analogy thing. America used to be a better place.

Naked Lunch said...

Revenant
Patca correctly pointed my error in straying from the VRWC "scalping" [false] vernacular theme which the thread was about. The only reason it is relevant to me is because of Donohue. Anyone but him. I don't like getting shook down either. I also hate it when he gets to go on national television and have a grand mal seizure, and we just give him what he wants so he'll shut up and go away. Until the next time. It's also relevant because the media peddles these stupid pseudo scandals as news, in lieu of current actual news - and it's the reason George Bush is President, and it's the reason we are in Iraq today.

bos0x said...

Althouse: Do you mean the coverage you got on Pandagon and Feministing? I did see that. Considering that they (as well as Beyerstein's blog, apparently) are feminist blogs, and that one of your posts instigated a load of sexist comments, I think that any writing they might have done about your blog was justified.

Don't tell me that I need to do research. For one, I'm not researching an imaginary internet feud. Also, you're the one that linked to Beyerstein as an example of liberal bloggers slandering your good name. It ended up being the most civil "slandering" in existence, but I'm supposed to believe that there are juicier examples out there that I only have to find? Uh, right. So she was a little sarcastic in the few sentences that she did write about you (of course, she did have a fairly solid argument beyond that). If you have a problem with that, then why the hell did you start with the "lets arrange the bloggers randomly" in the first place? Or is it only okay to attack someone if you don't mention their name right away?

If you still want to claim that you're being victimized by liberals (regularly, even!), the burden is on you to support it. Meathead. :<

Dewave: Oh yes, irrelevant little Amanda Marcotte, just an echo chamber. Unlike the Althouse blog, whose commenters...oh wait.

Seven Machos said...

Lunch: the reason President Bush is president is because he won two elections.

Bosox: where is the term "slander" used?

Seven Machos said...

Oh man, this is going to be good.

bos0x said...

Speaking of sharp, individualistic commenters...

"Slander" is more or less a synonym for "discredit", which Althouse did use. I put it in quotes the second time not because it was a direct quote, but because Beyerstein didn't actually slander in any sense of the word. Maybe it's a stronger word than "discredit"...so? Better to capture the childish hysteria in Althouse's tone.

Now that the really important stuff is out of the way, can you reply to my actual comment next time? kthxs!!

Seven Machos said...

Bosox -- Words mean things. Try going down to the courthouse and suing somebody for discrediting you. You are unlikely to get very far. I'm a lawyer; our proprietor is a lawyer; and in the law and in the world, the word slander has a specific, legal meaning.

Having said all this, it's not my place to defend Ann Althouse. She can do it herself and I suspect that she will. I, for one, have gotten out the popcorn and look forward to a smackdown of epic proportions.

Seven Machos said...

ploopusgirl -- You really showed me, huh?

You have no idea what I am talking about, or to what I am referring, but don't let that stop you from making an ass of yourself.

bos0x said...

Yes, words mean things. In fact, some words mean several different things, and technical words often have other meanings outside of a strict technical context. Maybe you are a lawyer; a humorless, apparently incompetent one that can't tell the difference between a word when it is used for effect (to mock Althouse's overreaction) and when it is used to mean "I am going to sue you". You must be in such high demand!

This is a blog, not a courthouse, but if I were trying to sue someone for discrediting me, I think I could find a real lawyer, one whose knowledge of English extended beyond "words mean things", that could translate my need into technical language. Because when celebrities are suing tabloids or whatever, they just waltz right into a courthouse and start babbling in perfect legalese, right?

You have no idea what I am talking about, or to what I am referring, but don't let that stop you from making an ass of yourself.

Um.. what? I think she perfectly captured your idiotic (but very lawyerly!!!) glee at the idea a "smackdown of epic proportions".

Seven Machos said...

Yeah, bosox, I am very humorless, particularly compared to the affable laugh riot that you demonstrate yourself to be.

And good luck with trying to sue someone for discrediting you. That civil action is going to go far.

Revenant said...

I also hate it when he gets to go on national television and have a grand mal seizure, and we just give him what he wants so he'll shut up and go away.

The fact that Donohue's an asshole doesn't change the fact that Marcotte's an unhinged man-hating cunt.

Marcotte didn't get thrown to the wolves because of Donohue. She got thrown to the wolves because politically she's as repugnant to the *average* American as a member of the Ku Klux Klan. If she'd been a less hateful person Marcotte would still have a job -- Donohue's gone after hundreds of people whose careers are still thriving.

Michael said...

Commenters were asking what a scalp was.

Bwa ha ha ha.

I'm glad you agree Beyerstein's comments were completely indefensible.

Your inchoate attempts to say things related to Beyerstein's comment that don't actually address what anyone else wrote can only be taken as an implicit acknowledgment of their indefensibility.

===

Q: What's a scalping?

A: About a buck twenty-five

Revenant said...

"Slander" is more or less a synonym for "discredit", which Althouse did use.

Taken in isolation the words can sometimes be synonymous. But the phrase "trying to discredit me" (what Ann said) is in NO way synonymous with the phrase "slandering her good name" (what you falsely accused her of saying).

The attacks on Ann have generally not been slanderous. They have consisted largely of repeating out-of-context anecdotes about things she's said on her blog (such as the Boobgate story). This falls into the category of "attempts to discredit her", and is why left-wing newbies who drift into this forum come with some truly amusing preconceived notions of Ann's politics.

Maybe it's a stronger word than "discredit"...so? Better to capture the childish hysteria in Althouse's tone.

Aheh. Let me get this straight -- you had to paraphrase Ann, because quoting what she REALLY said didn't "capture" her "tone"?

Here's a hint: when you have to misrepresent someone in order to "accurately" describe them, your opinion of what's accurate has diverged from reality.

Ann Althouse said...

You have to change the tone in order to capture it.

Lots of weird statements in this thread.

I'm still waiting for someone to show that there really is some right-wing term "scalping."

bos0x said...

Revenant: I didn't quote what she REALLY said because, um, this is a blog comment on the internet and I didn't expect that my word choice would be analyzed. Maybe you can explain why using a stronger word to mock someone is such a problem. It's a good way to divert attention from my actual post, but you don't have to mention that; it's understood.

If my using "slander" when Althouse said "discredit" really is a huge problem, then maybe you should take a closer look at Althouse's original blog post. Beyerstein calls it "scalping"; Althouse claims that she's a victim of that exact thing, and when I point out that, in her example, she is not by any stretch of the imagination, the bloggers have suddenly "discredited" her. Althouse even did it seriously, so she should be a perfect target for such budding internet vigilantes like you and Seven Machos.

Oh, and if you can't detect the shrillness in Althouse's post, then, well. Are you a lawyer too? Let me guess: diploma mill?

It is absolutely clear that Althouse was comparing her situation--being criticized by a few feminist blogs, a polite letter by one or two by people not affiliated with any blog, maybe--with an orchestrated political effort by liberal bloggers to get her fired from her job. This is pure delusion. Althouse won't even link to the blogs that have treated her so cruelly. And how have they wronged her? Oh, well, they repeated those memes. (The horror!) Which memes? Who knows; hurtful ones I guess. Forget that these are feminist blogs, and that their coverage of Althouse's sexism was completely appropriate considering the themes of the blog, and that the arguments were specific to what she said--"discrediting" her, fine. You won't find slander on those blogs (so hooray for that important victory), but you also won't find discrediting--you probably won't find devaluing or even mild diminishing either.

And, slander: I used the term in a layman's sense; so sorry, I forgot to tiptoe around all of the distinguished lawyers that the Althouse blog attracts. But elitism is only a thing that liberals do, right?

Seven Machos: You clearly have no idea what my last post meant. By the way, Althouse did a hell of a job defending herself, huh?

Dewave said...

Marcotte didn't get thrown to the wolves because of Donohue. She got thrown to the wolves because politically she's as repugnant to the *average* American as a member of the Ku Klux Klan. If she'd been a less hateful person Marcotte would still have a job -- Donohue's gone after hundreds of people whose careers are still thriving.


In the end, that is the key point about the whole affair. If it was just right wing bloggers upset at what Marcotte said, she'd still be sitting on the Edwards payroll, because Edwards doesn't care about those people, because none of them is ever going to vote for him anyway.

She was fired because what she said was truly offensive and truly indefensible to the mainstream American public. Those are the people Edwards was worried about offending.

If Marcotte had limited her remarks to things that offended Donahue but most people agreed with, she'd have had no problem.

Revenant said...

this is a blog comment on the internet and I didn't expect that my word choice would be analyzed.

You must be new here.

Seven Machos said...

Yes, Bosox, this issue has been dropped and left unaddressed.

bos0x said...

Revenant: Yes, I know; I'm so naive for expecting people here to pick up on the actual substance of my comment, instead of minor details. If I weren't so new (because apparently we're all twelve here and things like this matter), I would have also known that Althouse commenters always analyze everything with great insight and depth. That must be why I get five word replies to 350 word arguments.

Seven Machos: Well clearly. Why would Althouse respond to criticism when she has all you fawning over her every decision? The Great Leader has deemed me unimportant, so it must be so.

Revenant said...

Revenant: Yes, I know; I'm so naive for expecting people here to pick up on the actual substance of my comment, instead of minor details.

The "actual substance of your comment" is that the allegedly polite nature of Beyerstein's commenters refutes Ann's claim that they were trying to discredit her.

It is probably just as well for you that nobody "picked up" on that particular non sequiteur.

That must be why I get five word replies to 350 word arguments.

The fact that your post could accurately be summarized as "Nuh-uh, Meathead!" might be a factor in that.

bos0x said...

That actually was not the point of my post at all; even when you try to show that you have any idea of what I'm talking about, you can only pick up on irrelevant details. Your reading comprehension is abysmal.

Loser. That's an intelligent, mature insult, right?

Seven Machos said...

Bosox -- I find that the more insightful my postings are, the more and longer and more thoughtful responses I get. The lamer my posts are, the fewer and shorter and more dismissive the responses. Perhaps this is a universal kind of thing.

Revenant said...

Bosox,

Ann cited an example of people trying to discredit her. You dismissed the example using the amusingly dippy excuse that it didn't count because the people were polite. You then demanded that she produce further evidence, insisting that it was her duty to prove her statement was true.

This assumes that it is Ann's duty to cure you of willful ignorance, which of course it is not.

bos0x said...

Revenant: No, no. Read very closely: I don't want this sailing over your head a third time.

Althouse cited an example of the the leftie blogosphere trying to scalp her. I dismissed the example mostly because the coverage she was getting on other blogs was hardly an organized effort to get her fired or her blog shut down. Two commenters had the idea to tell Althouse's employer: that isn't scalping as defined by Beyerstein. Commenters are not officially affiliated with a blog, most of the rest of the commenters thought it was an awful idea, and, uh, there were only two of them anyway, and it isn't even clear if they both went through with their plan. But, of course, "a tiny fraction of Beyerstein's commenters tried to get me fired; they were almost universally shot down by the rest, but I WAS STILL HURT OK" just doesn't have the same ring to it, right?

(After my first comment, of course, "scalping" is toned down substantially to become "discrediting". I can understand you not thoroughtly reading my comments, but to ignore the words of the supreme lord and master?!)

And, honestly, but there's something suspicious about her withholding other examples. The assertion that liberal bloggers are continually harrassing her is serious (as blogosphere crimes go), she has evidence of this, and yet she's keeping it secret? It makes me believe that all these examples don't really exist. And, supposing they do, how the hell am I supposed to find them? A google search for "meanie liberals that scalped Althouse"?

If I am skeptical of Althouse's victim claim, that makes me willfully ignorant? Aren't you an original thinker. Or, you know, a mindless sap.

Seven Machos: The creepy, simple-minded bigots on the Althouse blog can't wrap their tiny minds around more than one minor idea at a time: clearly, it's because my posts just aren't insightful enough.

Seven Machos said...

Bosox -- There have been many instances in which lefty goons have hurled insults and threats at Althouse. It's a phenomenon. The fact that you are an ignorant slut who cannot research this or otherwise grok it does not put the onus on anyone else to explain anything to you.

No one is here to service you for free. Didn't they teach you this in junior high?

bos0x said...

It is incredible how you do not understand this concept. It is Althouse's claim; she is the one that must provide examples. This has nothing to do with my research skills--do you honestly expect me to contest Althouse's claim, and then argue it for her? To return to your inane scenario, why don't you walk into a courtroom and announce, "Oh, I've just been slandered, but I refuse to give you any details. If you don't believe me you can just go research it yourself because my blog is so important that I shouldn't have to explain myself" and see how far you get.

Oh, and ignorant slut? The irony in that is delicious. You and Revenant are incapable of anything but stroking Althouse's proverbial dick, but I am somehow the slut here? Here's a tip: think of a relevant insult next time, kthxs.

Seven Machos said...

You are right about one thing, Chief: the proprietor of the blog didn't give you the time of day.

You are completely wrong about everything else, though. Try going to a court and asking others to do your discovery for you.

There's an archives at every blog, pal. Look into it.

Fen said...

bosox: If I weren't so new (because apparently we're all twelve here and things like this matter), I would have also known that Althouse commenters always analyze everything with great insight and depth

More like we expect you to provide evidence for your assertions, to accurately quote Ann when attacking her, etc.

bosox: screw you guys, I'm off to torture some squirrels

Had to paraphrase you, because quoting what you REALLY said didn't "capture" the "tone".

[hat tip revenant]

TMink said...

Who is the new guy?

Trey