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Marcotte, McEwan and now Gross? (UPDATE)
Posted by: mcq on Wednesday, February 14, 2007

William Beutler of Blog PI asks if now that Marcotte and McEwan have left the Edwards campaign whether the guy who most likely hired them and was in charge of vetting them will be far behind:
As my headline asks: What about Matt Gross, Edwards’ Senior Advisor for Online Communications*/Chief Internet Strategist*/general adviser on all things bloggy? Will he resign, too?

Consider John Dickerson’s report in Slate last week, which gave some insight as to how things went down at Edwards HQ:
The senator read some of the offending postings. He asked to talk to the bloggers, whose work he’d not read before and whom he’d never met.
I can certainly believe that Edwards had not read Pandagon (or Shakespeare’s Sister, whence he hired the somewhat less-controversial Melissa McEwan) but I cannot believe that Matt Gross has not. If there was one person on the campaign whose job it was to vet potential blog hires, it was Gross. And it’s not like he just missed a stray posting where Marcotte went a little too far — her quick temper and salty word choices are a big part of what’s made her so popular.

Gross certainly knows this, but from what I can tell, it did not occur to him that her incendiary rhetoric could pose a problem. As a veteran of the Howard Dean presidential campaign, Gross of all people should be familiar with the public relations problem off-message bloggers can present. Even Ezra Klein, one of the co-founders of Pandagon, seemed to second-guess the decision at his own blog last week:
Look: I thought the Edwards’ campaign made a surprising choice when it picked up Amanda. She throws elbows, to say the least. And her focuses, and opinions, are not always popular in contemporary American political life. It seemed an act of bravery and conviction, though I wasn’t sure what, exactly, the upside was. … I don’t envy them the controversy. But they made their own hiring decisions.
Now, Dickerson didn’t mention Gross or his position with the campaign. Actually, I can’t find any blogger from the past week mentioning Gross’ involvement in the fiasco. This surprises me, and I find it curious Edwards put himself out there to settle the issue last week. Had Edwards decided to fire them then and there, I believe then he would have had to issue a personal statement, in order to show the netroots that he personally was not rebuking them. But given their decision, there’s no reason Gross couldn’t have handled that — and kept his boss above the fray.
Question: should Gross fall on his sword and cover for the boss?

Question 2: Is this sort of scandal enough to put the Edwards campaign in the "also ran" category, or will he survive it?

UPDATE: Lane Hudson is in a huff over at Huff Po:
The ramifications of Bill Donohue and the Catholic League's reckless rhetoric has materialized in the form of death threats to bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan. This is what happens when the ultra-right wing is given the megaphone of mainstream media. It is also a complete break down in the responsibility that the media has in vetting those who are given a platform to spread a message.
You can't make this stuff up folks. "Megaphone of the mainstream media"? Hey Lane, did you read what these two wrote? Any "reckless rhetoric" involved there?

Obviously I denounce death threats made by anyone. That's unacceptable and those who are doing it should be ashamed (and if caught, prosecuted). But pretending that Donahue is evil incarnate and Marcotte and McEwan are innocent lambs being led to the slaughter is simply nonsense. They've been as vile, if not moreso, than anything Donahue has ever uttered.

Oh, and this:
It is no wonder that there has been no mainstream Roman Catholic group, nor the Church itself, to step forward to support Donohue in his illegal, unethical scalp-seeking tirade against Senator Edwards' bloggers.
Is this main stream enough for you?
As the flap over alleged anti-Catholic writings by two John Edwards campaign bloggers devolves into a shouting match between conservative religious voices and liberal bloggers, some members of the "religious left" say they feel - again - shoved to the margins of the Democratic Party.

"We're completely invisible to this debate," said Eduardo Penalver, a Cornell University law professor who writes for the liberal Catholic journal Commonweal. He said he was dissatisfied with the Edwards campaign's response. "As a constituency, the Christian left isn't taken all that seriously," Penalver said.
And then there was the National Democratic Ethnic Leadership Council:
"We have gone so far to rebuild that coalition [between Democrats and religious Christians] and something like this sets it back," said Brian O'Dwyer, a New York lawyer and Irish-American leader who chairs the National Democratic Ethnic Leadership Council, a Democratic Party group. O'Dwyer said Edwards should have fired the bloggers. "It's not only wrong morally - it's stupid politically."

O'Dwyer e-mailed a statement to reporters saying: "Senator Edwards is condoning bigotry by keeping the two bloggers on his staff. Playing to the cheap seats with anti-Catholic bigotry has no place in the Democratic Party."
Clearly, Mr. Hudson, you need to get out a bit more before claiming it was only the right wing who were upset with the two bloggers and wanted them fired.

And frankly sir, it isn't good strategy to denounce harassment and then foment it by publishing the phone number of the target you want harassed. As you might imagine it sort of causes one to take your purported outrage much less seriously.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Why on earth would Edwards be worried about what the right is saying about his staff, IF it was in fact the right, alone? Doesn’t make any sense, that.

I would have figured on anything that annoyed the right so very much would be pleasing the Democrat party base... in which Marcotte and McEwan are certainly centerlined. Their bigoted writings reflect what laughingly passes as Democrat party thought, today.

As if to back that statement, I’ll answer your question Bruce, that Edwards will not survive it. But that will not be arranged by the right, but rather by the majority of Democrats... who, I think, would rather see the likes of Marcotte and McEwan in the WH, than they would the Breck Girl.... he’ll go down in flames amidst cries that Edwards let the Democrats down, and sacrificed too much to the right.

He might have turned in a respectable showing in the general election, but will never make it there because of the extremists dominating his own party.
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Well show us these death threats. Left-wingers always claim "death threats" when they don’t get their way. It’s the next step after demonizing your opponents as stupid, racist, fascist, nazis, hateful, scary, etc.

So show us these death threats. Show us the police reports. Show us the court records. Bloggers found the police records and court records of Jeff Goldstein’s records. There has to be some evidence.

Otherwise it’s just more lies and distortion from the Left. Death threats, censorship - whatever....SNORE zzzzzz
Written By: Jad
URL: http://
Agree with Jad. I’ll care about these alleged death threats (which didn’t happen I’d bet) when the left expresses a real desire to cut back on their campaign violence (such as shooting up BC04 campaign HQs, etc)

And if they DID happen....well, those 2 need to understand that hate usually is answered by hate.
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Oh God. I generally steer clear of Huff Po, but I couldn’t resist clicking in to see Hudson’s post. The shriek-fest in the comments barely gets going good when some wag makes my day with this: WHERE’S THE POPE IN ALL OF THIS!!!!

At least I think he was a wag. I mean I hope so. Actually, amidst so much general alarm, it’s hard to tell.

As for the questions, Edwards was already a shoe-in for the "also ran" category so what did he really lose by stirring up a little controversy amongst the likely primary voters? Play the nutroots against the more sedate and traditional libs and see what shakes loose? I mean he did hire a couple of nutroots, and then he publicly repudiated their writings but didn’t fire them, and now they and their whole political demographic are too busy battling the vast right-wing battalions to sort out what Edwards just did. So now he can make up with any of the religious left who weren’t sufficiently placated by his denunciation of the girls’ writings. It’s all publicity and maybe so early in the game it’s all still good. It’s certainly entertaining. Heck, maybe he should give Gross a raise.
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Clearly, Mr. Hudson, you need to get out a bit more before claiming it was only the right wing who were upset with the two bloggers and wanted them fired.
Actually, this member of the ’great right wing conspiracy’ would have enjoyed seeing them work on the Edwards campaign. Not that Edwards is a likely threat in the general election, but rather for the entertainment value.
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Notable in McQ’s previous post is the following line, from his news quote:

Two key black political leaders in South Carolina who backed John Edwards in 2004 said Tuesday they are supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Now, I don’t know, who it was they had decided to support, prior to all this coming out with the Edwards campaign. But is it possible, that this lack of support for Edwards is at least in part due to these issues with Edwards’ staff choices?

Just sayin’....
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://

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