Bloggers on the campaign trail. Are we going to see any of this in South Dakota?

I've been watching some of the commentary in the National Blogosphere on John Edwards with regards to his hiring two bloggers for his campaign who had interesting comments, to say the least, with regards to Catholicism.

The question I'm seeing? Whether or not being a blogger instantly pegs one as a pariah on the campaign trail?

Check out this commentary from Lori Byrd over at ABC
In the world of politics, bloggers are the new kids on the block. In a relatively short time they have made a significant impact on politics as we know it. The new relationship between bloggers and politicians sometimes makes for an interesting and exciting dynamic, as was the case this week when high drama surrounded the hiring, and almost firing, of two bloggers by John Edwards' presidential campaign. The controversy reveals much about the growing role blogs are playing in political campaigns, and even more about the Edwards campaign in particular.


When a campaign hires anyone, it runs the risk of a few skeletons falling out of a closet, but in many ways hiring bloggers is less risky. On one hand, the blogosphere is the Wild West and almost anything goes. At the same time, though, everything is "out there" for all the world to see.


Outrage over the reported firing of the bloggers did not last long. On Thursday Edwards said he was "personally offended" by their writings criticizing the Catholic church, but that he was not firing them <> . "I talked personally to the two women who were involved. They gave me their word they, under no circumstances, intended to denigrate any church or anybody's religion and offered their apologies for anything that indicated otherwise. I took them at their word," Edwards said.


Seeing how Edwards handles controversy in his campaign raises concerns about how he might handle them in a presidency. In my opinion, Edwards failed this first big test of the campaign, from the failure to vet the bloggers to the strained statement he released defending his decision to keep them on the payroll. I have no doubt bloggers will continue to make news in the 2008 presidential race. There will be plenty more to learn in the coming months, not just from Edwards' experience, but from all candidates' reaching out to the blogosphere.
Go read "Edwards Stumbles on the Net" here.

In applying this locally, I know in South Dakota, the whole blogging things makes some people really, really nervous because it is a relatively new medium. And it's not unheard of for us to say incendiary things, or create an editorial cartoon that might be a little harsh for your average South Dakota weekly newspaper (and get dozens of people to tell me how much that one was in bad taste).

Representing my website, when I was speaking with one legislator recently, I think they were nervous that I was going to flay them alive in a literary fashion when all I was really trying to do was to find out what was happening on in issue. I kind of felt bad that anyone could think that I'm this attack dog out to tear people apart. (I'm not sure I even want to know what others might think who might not talk to me.)

I, like people on the left, those farther right than I , and everyone in between, am doing this to express a point of view, explore issues beyond the sound bite or 3 column inch treatment, educate on public affairs, and to try to entertain those that are gracious enough to darken our doorsteps.

No one is going to question when a politico hires a member of the mainstream media. But bring a blogger to the table and people's eyes start darting back and forth like we're all sporting multiple piercings or something.

I heard it actually came up as an issue of discussion in one political job this past election in South Dakota, but at the same time, I also know it didn't faze anyone in the case of Nathan Peterson who not only blogs over at South Dakota Progressive, but also helmed the Campaign for Healthy Families and is now the South Dakota spokesman for the National Environmental Trust.

My own experience is that doing this website has had the side-effect of raising my profile within the GOP. Whether I wanted it to or not. But as I read stuff such as this, I wonder if I'm now "unclean" because of my own misadventures.

As we approach another campaign season, I'm wondering what readers think. Does blogging make you somehow undesirable as a political operative, or do bloggers have a jump on other operatives because they're riding the crest of a new wave?


Anonymous said…
Peterson also works for Hildebrand, which you should point out
PP said…
I didn't know I needed to. It's pretty common knowledge.
Anonymous said…
Aww, PP, you should NEVER ASSUME anything.
You just might teach a few people things they didn't know. Sometimes the 101 class level is the best lesson plan.
"does blogging hurt someone who works on a campaing" if that was the question.
Depends on the factors of the blogging chief what have they said. Some maybe some maybe not.
Anonymous said…
What is blogging and who are bloggers.

Thune and other candidates had paid help, hired hands - are they bloggers?

Mainstream media is filling up the "blogisphere". Is that blogging?

PP and Epp are trying to be the Hannity and Colmes of blogging. Is this blogging.

Candidates might have "bloggers" tailing them but are they media hitman, hired to take out the competition.

Are PP's hits going to skyrocket or will he be a side note after RCJ and Argus finishes him off?

Are readers merely Lemmings searching for a leader to follow over a cliff? Should we follow Epp, PP, Sibby or anonymous.

Discerning the truth is going to be much more difficult today and tomorrow than it was yesterday when "integrity" ruled the blogishpere - as if it ever did.

The mainstream media might gain the upperhand here. I guess it depends on which entity most efficiently prostitutes itself.
Anonymous said…
"Are PP's hits going to skyrocket or will he be a side note after RCJ and Argus finishes him off?"
I think this blog will continue to be read because the RCJ and Argus blogs are overwhelmingly leftist. There are only a few token conservatives on Blogmore and they are constantly trashed by the libs on the blog. Even the choice of posts shows the bias of the "reporers" who are the moderators. One of them has a lot of lefty friends who are constantly pushing him to post things that advance their cause --i.e. trashing Senator Thune whenever this is a chance. So..long story short...if we want another point of view, this is the place to be.
Anonymous said…
Unless the Argus starts to report the news instead of its left handed garbage, PP and Company will continue to take market share. Look at the big 3 networks, those clowns still don't have it figured out.
Anonymous said…
8:33 I don't think Blogmore is especially leftist. It is more libertarian, actually. Some of the better writers are from the left, however, and that's why they seem to so effectively deliver the smackdowns you mention — not because they are there in greater numbers necessarily, but because they know how to write.

There's a simple solution to that, actually.

Think for yourself and practice creative writing.

Don't just parrot the latest buzz phrases from Rush, Billo, Sibby, and the Bishop.

Dig deep, find your voice, and write what's in your heart. The one thing you'll find about us liberals is, we're suckers for a well turned phrase.

There is plenty of room for the right on Blogmore. But if you'd rather whine and pout than show up and write well, how is that the leftys' fault?
Anonymous said…
9:31, I will agree that there are some whining conservatives at Blogmore who sound like a broken record. They give us a bad name. On the other hand, there have been some horrific things said on Blogmore that get a pass because they are well-written. Style shouldn't trump substance. I know plenty of people who aren't that great when it comes to writing but who are just as credible. And just admit it. Most people on Blogmore are liberals and some are elitist. And some are both. Just because they can say things (like liberal -- sorry, progressive -- talking points) in a fancy way doesn't make them any more (or less) credible.
Anonymous said…
11:09 You are absolutely right about style over substance. No argument. But I'm really not as convince that there are that many true liberals (progressives) on Blogmore... just a handful of mouthy ones. There are far more liberal blogs.

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