Thursday, February 08, 2007

Fair Shake Doctrine

Bloggers, pointing to the sum of their writings, staring down the noise machine. The body of work is easily accessible to anybody. The burden of responsibility for pertinent information is shifting. Has shifted?

Anyone comfortable with the historical record can increasingly rest on the record. It is less and less necessary to do anything more affirmative than link to the record. There is less and less need to scramble to reconstitute pertinent portions of the record to rebut unfounded opinion.

The record (certainly in the case of issues surrounding bloggers' writings) is constituted and readily available to anyone with internet access -- timestamped, tagged, archived. And burgeoning. And linked across time and topic. Able to withstand the slings and arrows of disingenuous rhetorical diversionary tactics that seek to avoid discussion on the merits in one way or another.


This rant inspired by:

TPM Café
By Greg Sargent bio

The Edwards campaign just released statements from Edwards and the two bloggers in the thick of the controversy, and it looks as if the two won't be fired.

The statement says Edwards was "personally offended" by their writings, but that he also believes in "giving everyone a fair shake" and that he's "talked" to the bloggers, that they've assured him "that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith," and that he takes them "at their word." The statement doesn't directly address the firing question, but it appears that they're going to be okay. The statements follow.

Senator John Edwards:
The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte's and Melissa McEwen's posts personally offended me. It's not how I talk to people, and it's not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it's intended as satire, humor, or anything else. 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. We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in.

Blogger Amanda Marcotte:
My writings on my personal blog, Pandagon on the issue of religion are generally satirical in nature and always intended strictly as a criticism of public policies and politics. My intention is never to offend anyone for his or her personal beliefs, and I am sorry if anyone was personally offended by writings meant only as criticisms of public politics. Freedom of religion and freedom of expression are central rights, and the sum of my personal writings is a testament to this fact.

Blogger Melissa McEwen:
Shakespeare's Sister is my personal blog, and I certainly don't expect Senator Edwards to agree with everything I've posted. We do, however, share many views - including an unwavering support of religious freedom and a deep respect for diverse beliefs. It has never been my intention to disparage people's individual faith, and I'm sorry if my words were taken in that way.

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