Amanda Marcotte on Why She Resigned from the Edwards Campaign

Amidst a storm of controversy and a nasty smear campaign, our friend, the politically very insightful Amanda Marcotte resigned as head blogger from the John Edwards campaign. Amanda explains why in her own words in Salon.

I announced that I was taking the job on Jan. 30, and the same week, I noticed a small flare-up of oddly aggressive and misogynistic comments in my moderation queue over a short, irritated post I wrote about the coverage of the Duke lacrosse rape case on CNN. I assumed that some anti-feminist blogger had linked me and so, in frustration, I went and rewrote my by-then week-old post to mock the commenters by spelling out my views in childish, easy-to-understand language. This may have been the first indication that the right-wing noise machine had noticed me and was looking for something with which to hurt me and my new employers.

A few days after my announcement, another in a series of inept shitstorms in the right-wing blogosphere came to my attention. Some vocal conservatives were accusing me of “scrubbing” my posting history at Pandagon, apparently on the theory that I was trying to hide inflammatory material. The evidence for this accusation was that I had mockingly rewritten a one-paragraph post, but since that was clearly not enough to get a real shitstorm going, there was a bevy of wild accusations that I had deleted much of the archives of Pandagon. What the right-wingers had really discovered was a very different, embarrassing secret. With all our server and software changes over the years, we at Pandagon had hopelessly scrambled and in fact deleted months and even years of the blog by accident. Some blog posts had funky URLs; others had the wrong author. We’d never fixed the problem because no one could figure out a way to do it that didn’t involve thousands of manual corrections.

Danny Glover, the journalist who “broke” the missing posts story without ever calling or e-mailing me to ask where the posts went, apologized for his mistake. As far as I know, he’s the only person involved in the “scrubbing” smear who ever apologized for spreading inaccurate information. Other bloggers eagerly repeated the nonstory. Michelle Malkin admitted she was wrong but didn’t apologize, and then auditioned a new smear.

The allegations flung in the next few days varied wildly. Malkin tried to piece together a case that the Edwards campaign should fire me, because when she videotaped herself reading my blog posts in an alarming, screechy voice, they sounded alarming and screechy. Also, shockingly for a would-be Democratic staffer, I had often said negative things about Republicans on my blog. Dan Riehl apparently thought it would speed my firing if he suggested that I was not as hot as “American Pie” actress Shannon Elizabeth. Danny Glover, trying to recover from reporting the utterly unmysterious disappearance of some of my archives, tried to argue that I had failed to disclose my association with the Edwards campaign. The problem was the disclaimer at the top of Pandagon. (Now removed, since I no longer work for the Edwards campaign.)

(Via Amanda herself at Pandagon.)