That Donohue easily succeeded where a hundred right-wing bloggers failed is also unsurprising. Donohue has a long, dirty, but bizarrely successful career of conservative hit jobs. As Frances Kissling has noted, Donohue seems to take particular pleasure in silencing women.
In venues ranging from the New York Times to the major cable news networks, Donohue demanded that the Edwards campaign fire McEwan and me. The left blogosphere, furious that a smear artist might try to snap his fingers and bully a Democratic campaign into firing a staffer, pushed back hard. Liza at Culture Kitchen collected just a sampling of the hundreds of blog posts and letters that were protesting the very idea that such a manufactured controversy should have any impact on the staffing of presidential campaigns.
To me, it's rather shocking how such radical hate-filled bigots have gained currency in the mainstream media claiming that they are being oppressed by criticism of their bigotry.
Then again, maybe it's just a natural result. Most mainstream news outlets and reporters seem to work just hard enough to get a headline and a lead paragraph, and to hell with the details. The well-financed right-wing noise machine makes for convenient news. Even the respected NewsHour routinely hosts dogmatists from the well-funded Republican shill foundations to "analyze" the news.
If you build it, they will come. If you shout it loud enough, they will report it. QED.
Still, it is disturbing how these wingnut operatives -- whether freelance or funded -- wage political terrorism in American media. Amanda's Salon article offers some startling and offensive details:
Looking back, the detail that astonishes me the most is the sheer amount of ink, air time, and energy devoted to keeping this phony scandal going until McEwan and I felt we had to resign. One question that's hard to avoid is how much of the venom had to do with the fact that McEwan and I were young women entering into a field (Internet communications) that's viewed as almost monolithically masculine. From my vantage point, it appeared that sexism was one of the primary motivating energies behind the campaign. Even before Donohue stepped in, various right-wing bloggers were obsessed with my gender and sexuality. As I noted at the time of my resignation, the majority of the hate mail I was receiving was from men, and almost all the e-mails made note of my gender or suggested that I would be a more pleasant woman if I wasn't so "angry." Bluntly put, I find it hard to believe that many men would end up being denounced on TV for using words like "fuck" or "cunt" on their blog and expect to receive piles of e-mail offering an opportunity to suck the sender's dick.
If this isn't a form of terrorism on our own shores, I don't know what is. The net result is the silencing through intimidation of entire swaths of the political demographic -- namely, in this case, feminists.
Despite, as Garance Franke-Ruta reports, the rich recent history of Bill Donohue's waging of political terrorism upon John Kerry, George Bush and even Bill Clinton's nominee for Surgeon General, Joycelyn Elders, his truck-bomb press releases get printed and his mainstream media appearances continue in this land where the press want easy answers and orchestrated noise machines provide them.
Such is the state of politics in America.
Update: Also worth a gander -- or maybe not -- is Joan Walsh's rather snide opinion piece claiming a blogger conspiracy cover-up regarding the Edwards bloggers while in the next breath denying any Salon agenda against Obama. The view must be pretty interesting from the comfy chairs of paid opinionators -- er, professional journalists.